What Graduate Students Are Reading

Daniel Martini is reading "Does Beauty Build Adapted Minds? Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Aesthetics, Fiction and the Arts" by John Tooby and Leda Cosmides (2001), which can be found in De Gruyter's Handbook of Empirical Literary Studies (2021).
This piece informs Daniel's dissertation on the affordances of literature, specifically the means by which texts communicate through non-semantic stylistic features like parallelisms. 

Naz Keynejad is reading Persian poet Nur ad-Din Abd ar-Rahman Jami's "Yusuf and Zulaikha" (15th century CE).

The story of Yusuf and Zulaikha appears in Jami’s Haft Awrang (Persian: هفت اورنگ‎, meaning "Seven Thrones"). According to the story, Yusuf’s arresting beauty captures the hearts of all of the women he encounters. Zulaikha, unable to quell her thoughts of Yusuf, attempts to seduce him, but he rejects her advances until they meet again and marry many years later. 

Graham Feyl is re-reading/revisiting There's a disco ball between us: a theory of Black gay life (2021) by Jafari S. Allen. Lyrical and genre transforming/bending, Allen presents an ethnographic and intellectual history of what he calls "Black gay habits of mind"  as a way of renarrating and reconsidering Black, gay histories. Moving across various temporalities and spaces, and using pieces from visual art, performance and literature, Allen considers how Black gay life has resisted and survived under systems of oppression through community, radical joy and care. Graham reaches for Allen's text because of his prose and methodological approach to history as flashes that are still present today. The text itself acts as an example of community: first names are used, there are reminders to take deep breaths, and it is a chorus of voices that come together to formulate alongside Allen. 

Surojit Kayal is reading The Marvelous Clouds by John Durham Peters.

In The Marvelous Clouds, the author argues that though we often think of media as environments, the reverse is just as true—environments are media. Drawing from ideas implicit in media philosophy, Peters argues that media are more than carriers of messages: they are the very infrastructures combining nature and culture that allow human life to thrive.  


Richard Nedjat-Haiem is reading Broadcasting Change: Arabic Media as a Catalyst for Liberalism by Joseph Baude.

Amid civil war, failing states, and terrorism, Arab liberals are growing in numbers and influence. Advocating a culture of equity, tolerance, good governance, and the rule of law, they work through some of the region’s largest media outlets to spread their ideals within the culture. This book analyzes this trend by portraying the intersection of media and politics in two Arab countries with seismic impact on the region and beyond. 


James Nichols is reading Exorcismos de la memoria: Políticas y poéticas de la melancolía en la España de la transición by Alberto Medina Dominguez. 

Through an interdisciplinary approach in which the analysis of philosophical, filmic, literary and political texts coexist, the book deals with a reading hypothesis of the period in which the lines of demarcation between the aesthetic and the political are blurred.


Ursula Friedman is reading The Red Brush: Writing Women of Imperial China, edited by Wilt L. Idema and Beata Grant.

Because of the burgeoning interest in the study of both premodern and modern women in China, this anthology offers a glimpse of women's writings not only in poetry but in other genres as well, including essays and letters, drama, religious writing, and narrative fiction.

Rachel Feldman is reading Suddenly in the Depths of the Forest (Hebrew: פתאום בעומק היער: אגדה‎) by Amos Oz. 

A dark, yet gen­tle, "fable for all ages" about silence, tolerance, and the role of language, orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished in Hebrew in 2005. The narrative is based in a mysterious town without animals or birds. Legend tells that they have been spirited away by the Pied Piper figure of Nehi, the mountain demon. Two children set out into the forest to find out more. 

GCLR Event Proposal 

As we begin working to fill our calendar for the upcoming academic year, students and faculty, please submit your event suggestions for the GCLR by completing this form. All submissions will be reviewed by the GCLR board.

The GCLR is pleased to welcome our 2024 distinguished visitor, Mario Biagioli, who will be visiting UCSB from May 29-31. Biagioli is a Distinguished Professor of Law and Communication at UCLA and will be joining us for two special GCLR events. The first is a student and faculty workshop on Thursday, May 30th, 5pm - 6:30pm, in Phelps 6206C entitled: “The Curriculum Vitae: Recording, Constructing, and Evaluating Authorship." To sign up for this in-person workshop, please fill out this form.  The second event is a special lecture by Biagioli called "The Impact of Impact," and will be held Friday, May 31, from 4pm-6pm in the Wallis Annenberg Conference Room (4315 SSMS). Please join us in welcoming Biagioli to UCSB, and participating in what promises to be an enriching series of events! More information can be found by clicking on this post. 

This conference seeks to center the contemporary valences of the concept of the lumpenproletariat, which Friedrich Engels identified as “social scum,” particularly outcasts, such as professional thieves, pimps, and gamblers. More generally, this term refers to those who do not generate profits for employers. In this judgment, the hegemonic working-class paradigm of the left and conservative notion of the “undeserving poor” converge. This conference is organized to honor and extend the work of Glyn Salton-Cox, who was an Associate Professor of English at UC Santa Barbara and who suddenly passed away while working on a book on the topic. Please join us May 24-25 either in person or on Zoom (view attached schedule) to not only honor the legacy of Glyn, but also provide a space for emerging and established scholars to reflect on the untapped potential of the concept of the lumpenproletariat and its varying forms given the unstable and uneven faces of global capitalism today.

How is collectivity imagined, built, and sustained in art, literature, performance, film and media?
This conference brings together papers that research collectivity and its varying manifestations across interdisciplinary fields of study. The GCLR is delighted to announce that the keynote speaker for the conference is Dr. Meryem Kamil (Film & Media Studies, UC Irvine). Please join us for what promises to be an enriching conference on Saturday, May 18th, from 9am-3:30pm PST. The event will take place at the Wallis Annenberg Conference Room (4315 SSMS) on UCSB's campus. Please select the "annual conference" heading on the GCLR website for more information and a full program schedule. 
Are you in the early stages of your dissertation and wondering how to get started? Gearing up for long-term writing can be challenging. Join the Graduate Center for Literary Research for a special workshop with UCSB’s Graduate Writing Specialist, Dr. Mia Nowotarski, and learn effective strategies for finding successful writing habits early on!
Date: Thursday, May 23, 2024
Time: 4pm-5pm PST
Location: Zoom - Register here

Horror movies have long exploited ableist representations of disability. The genre's monsters are often violent, threatening, or vengeful creatures with histories of trauma, disordered minds, or physical deformity, while the genre's defining affects—horror, disgust, and fear—are tied to reductive, misleading, and negative disability images and stories. Please join us for a two-part event with Prof. Angela Marie Smith (University of Utah) where she will discuss examples of recent horror films that continue this tradition, and other films that offer more complex imaginings of disability. The event will take place on Wednesday, May 22 and will include a Zoom talk with Prof. Smith from 11am-12:15pm, followed by a further discussion on disability in contemporary horror from 1pm-2pm. Stay tuned for a Zoom link. 


Please join us on May 10 at the Isla Vista Community Center from 7:30pm to 9:30pm for the UCSB Translation Studies Program’s first ever “Translation Open Mic.” We invite undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty alike to share a work-in-progress translation of 10-15 minutes length from any language into English. Any genre is welcome: from prose to poetry to song! Food and drink will be provided.
Generously co-sponsored by the Program in Comparative Literature, the GCLR, and the ItalianTransnational Studies Program.

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