“The Black Avenger: A Western Tradition of Novelty”

Brown Bag talk with Professor Grégory Pierrot: “The Black Avenger: A Western Tradition of Novelty” on May 2, 2018 from 1:30-3:00 pm in Austin 217.

Grégory Pierrot is an Assistant Professor of English at UConn, Stamford. He has recently translated the French treatise Free Jazz/Black Power by Philippe Carles and Jean-Louis Comolli (Mississippi UP: 2015), and edited a scholarly edition of Marcus Rainsford’s An Historical Account of the Black Empire of Hayti (Duke UP: 2013; co-edited with Paul Youngquist). His articles have been published in Studies in American Fiction, the African American ReviewCriticism, and Notes and Queries. He is currently working on a monograph tentatively titled One in a Million: Black Avengers in Atlantic Culture.



Dissertation Defense

Interested members of the faculty and graduate students are invited to attend!

Jarred Wiehe: Friday, April 27, 2018 at 10:00 am in Stern. “Straightening Crip/Queer Desires: Sexualities and Disabilities in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Theatrical Culture”

Dissertation Defenses

Interested members of the faculty and graduate students are invited to attend!


Eleanor Reeds: Thursday, April 19, at 3:30 pm in Stern.

Dissertation Title: “Hearing Voices: The Reader Encounters Genre in the Nineteenth Century”


Rachel Nolan: Thursday, April 19, at 11:00 AM in Stern.

Dissertation Title: “Professions of Intimacy: Work, Reproduction, and the Professional Woman in the Progressive Era United States”

“The Zero-Sum Game of Corporate Personhood”

Clare Eby talk

Professor Clare Eby presents “The Zero-Sum Game of Corporate Personhood.” April 18, 1:30-3:00pm, Austin 217.

Citizens United (2010) provoked outrage at the idea of corporations having free speech rights. Drawing upon benchmark Supreme Court decisions, this talk looks at how US law has developed inconsistent rationales to theorize corporate rights. These incongruities should be exposed and corporate personhood abolished because this “legal fiction” (as it is called by legal scholars) has become a zero-sum game in which extending rights to corporations becomes the pretext for curtailing the rights of actual human citizens. Corporate personhood is also a metaphor, and literary writers have much to teach us about it.  This talk therefore also examines recent novels that expose the incommensurability of the corporate and the human, such as Richard Powers’s Gain, Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, and Chang-Rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea.

Dissertation Defenses

Christina Solomon and Erick Piller will be defending their dissertations this week. More information is listed below:

Christina Solomon: Thursday, April 12, 2018 at 3:30 pm in Stern.

Dissertation Title: “Romantic Orientalisms: British Encounters with the East and the Forms of the Oriental Tale, 1765-1825.”

Erick Piller: Friday, April 13, 11:00 am in Stern.

Dissertation Title“Invention in the Age of Innovation: Composition, Creativity Studies, and Social Change”

Neag Lecture: “Strength in our Arms”

Date/Time: April 11, 3:30pm

Location: Austin 246 (Stern Room)

Dr. Geraldine Parsons will present the Neag lecture “’Strength in our Arms’: Violence in the medieval Irish tale Acallam na Senórach.”

Acallam na Senórach ‘The Colloquy of the Ancients’ is a complex narrative tale composed in late Middle Irish (c. 1200). Probably the longest literary work to survive from medieval Ireland, it comprises the centrepiece of fíanaigecht literature. Also known as the Finn Cycle, this corpus of Irish-language tales and poems was written from at least the seventh century and these tales of the legendary warrior Finn mac Cumaill and his fían (warband) became the dominant mode of secular written literature from the twelfth century.

Acallam na Senórach makes for perhaps the most interesting of all case-studies of the representation of violence in medieval Gaelic literature. Given its status within a corpus defined by its focus on a warband, it is striking that a reluctance to confront violence can be identified within the work. This paper will use that observation as a springboard for questions about the conventions of Finn Cycle literature, asking if the depiction of violence is a defining characteristic of Finn Cycle works and what the Acallam’s distinctive take on violence indicates about its relationship to the rest of the corpus.

Parsons is a lecturer in Celtic and Gaelic at the University of Glasgow. She is currently the Neag Visiting Professor in Residence. Her interest is centered on medieval Irish/Gaelic literature, particularly on the fíanaigecht, or Finn Cycle, corpus.

Translator Talk

Translator Kareem Abu-Zeid will speak on April 10 at 3:30 pm in Austin 217 (The Stern Room).

Kareem James Abu-Zeid is an Egyptian-American translator, editor, and writer. He was born in Kuwait and grew up in the Middle East. He studied European languages at Princeton University, taking translation workshops under poets CK Williams and Paul Muldoon. He then lived an itinerant life around Europe and the Middle East for several years, before moving to California for graduate studies. He obtained a Masters and a PhD in comparative literature from UC Berkeley, with a dissertation focusing on modern poetry as spiritual practice. He has taught university courses in writing, language, literature, and philosophy in four different languages at Berkeley, Mannheim and Heidelberg, and currently works as a freelance translator from Arabic, French, and German into English, as well as a freelance editor of English-language texts. He also does a significant amount of work editing the translations of other translators.

This event is sponsored by the Creative Writing Program.

Keynote Speech at Center for the Arts

April 10, 2018; 7pm

Jorgensen Center for the Arts

On April 10, 2018, Viet Thanh Nguyen will deliver a keynote at 7 PM at the Jorgensen Center for the Arts. This talk is free and open to the public. Nguyen’s most recent short story collection, The Refugees, was chosen as this year’s UConn Reads selection. This year’s UConn Reads theme is focused on immigration, migration, and refugees.

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel The Sympathizer is a New York Times best seller and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Other honors include the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel from the Mystery Writers of America, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction from the American Library Association, the First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction, a Gold Medal in First Fiction from the California Book Awards, and the Asian/Pacific American Literature Award from the Asian/Pacific American Librarian Association. His other books are Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War (a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award in General Nonfiction) and Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America. He is the Aerol Arnold Chair of English and Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. He has been interviewed by Tavis Smiley, Charlie Rose, Seth Meyers, and Terry Gross, among many others. His current book is the bestselling short story collection The Refugees. Most recently he has been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations, and le Prix du meilleur livre étranger (Best Foreign Book in France), for The Sympathizer. He is a critic-at-large for the Los Angeles Times and a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times.