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 proudly co-sponsors the online conference "Nabokov from Novel Perspectives" that presents innovative approaches to the work of novelist Vladimir Nabokov, with international participants. The conference is organized by Prof. Pankenier Weld (Germanic and Slavic Studies, UCSB). The event will take place on Friday, March 1st, from 11:15 am-2:45 pm PST. Zoom Meeting ID: 825 7855 3258. Everyone is welcome to attend and we hope to see you there!

The GCLR's Winter Roundtable, focusing on "Film & Media in the Humanities", will feature 3 graduate student presentations that examine interdisciplinary and transnational aspects of film and media studies. Please join us in these cross-disciplinary discussions and in offering the presenters feedback on their papers! The event will take place on Tuesday, January 30th, from 5-7pm in Phelps 5316.

Letícia Cobra Lima, a Ph.D. candidate from the Department of History of Art and Architecture, will present on aspects of her dissertation entitled "Assembling the Body: Sculpture in Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia, 1960-1996." Graduate students and faculty, please attend and share your feedback with Leticia! The workshop will take place on Thursday, March 7, at 10am on Zoom.

How do our environments define us? To what extent can photography convey the experiences of living in a certain place? Photographer Matt Walla will present questions surrounding the artistic choices and complications of photographing a familiar place and how photography can give new expression to our built environments. The talk will take place on Thursday, Feb. 29th, at 6pm in ARTS 2324. Please RSVP here.


We invite abstracts of no more than 300 words for 15-minute paper presentations. Proposals from enrolled graduate students in any discipline will be considered: MA, MFA, and PhD. To apply, please submit an abstract and a CV to complit-gclr@ucsb.edu by Sunday, February 18th, 2024.

On Friday, March 1, 2024, 10am-11.30am PST (on Zoom), this international panel discussion addresses questions of figuration in the global postwar era, with specific reference to the utopian potential of Socialist Realism. Embedding Eastern European art in a global context, participants will investigate the social function of Socialist Realism in various socialist societies, placing them in relation to other politically engaged art forms. Apart from this they will look at different national historiographies and ask how these in their turn determine different perspectives on Socialist Realism.

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