Annual Graduate Student Conference: "Climate FictionsNovember 21, 2020

As climate change has become a central topic of discussion, the UCSB Graduate Center for Literary Research invites scholars from a variety of disciplines to engage with what has become known as "Climate Fiction" in literature, film, and the arts. Originally coined by Dan Bloom, Cli-Fi is a type of fiction that explores what the earth might become if climate change continues at its current rate, and specifically if humans do not intervene to save the planet. As many successful authors, such as Margaret Atwood, T. C. Boyle, Amitav Ghosh, Ursula Le Guin, Lydia Millet, David Mitchell, and Leslie Marmon Silko have brought climate change and global warming into the public eye, Cli-Fi has gained prominence as more than a fringe genre.

Find out more about the schedule, and how you can sign up!... Read more



What Graduate Students Are Reading


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.  


Mary Okin is reading Hollywood Flatlands: Animation, Critical Theory, and the Avant-Garde by Esther Leslie.

With ruminations on drawing, colour and caricature, on the political meaning of fairy-tales, talking animals and human beings as machines, the book brings to light the links between animation, avant-garde art and modernist criticism, and Leslie reveals how the animation of commodities can be studied as a journey into modernity in cinema. 


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.


Wendy Sun is reading Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination by Toni Morrison.

Morrison shows how much the themes of freedom and individualism, manhood and innocence, depended on the existence of a black population that was manifestly unfree--and that came to serve white authors as embodiments of their own fears and desires. Her discussions of the "Africanist" presence in the fiction of various authors leads to a dramatic reappraisal of the essential characteristics of our literary tradition. 


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 The Bus Driver Who Wanted to be God by Etgar Keret (in Hebrew).

Brief, intense, painfully funny, and shockingly honest, Keret's stories are snapshots that illuminate with intelligence and wit the hidden truths of life. As with the best comic authors, hilarity and anguish are the twin pillars of his work.


Christene d'Anca is reading Marie of France: Countess of Champagne, 1145-1198, by Theodore Evergates. 

Countess Marie of Champagne is primarily known today as the daughter of Louis VII of France and Eleanor of Aquitaine and as a literary patron of Chrétien de Troyes. In this engaging biography, Theodore Evergates offers a more rounded view of Marie as a successful ruler of one of the wealthiest and most vibrant principalities in medieval France.

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Grad students, are you looking for conference experience? The GCLR is currently accepting proposals for the GCLR Fall Roundtable on November 13, at 2 p.m.! Succesful Candidates receive invaluable practice for attending a future conference or professional meeting. Read more...

  • book on beach

Join us for the annual GCLR conference on November 21 at 10 a.m. via Zoom! Conference papers will address the following issues: In terms of climate change, and the mediums that engage with it, are genre fictions, fict-documentaries, mainsream novels, works of nonfiction, and film, really so separable? What does each bring to the table? How do they overlap, and where do they diverge? How does climate fiction reflect and/or imagine the nonhuman/posthuman experience of environmental change and destruction? As climate change compels us to rethink geopolitics, how does it complicate questions of post-coloniality? How are people from around the world responding to climate change? For the forthcoming schedule, read more...

  • Ann Stoler

Ann Stoler, Willy Brandt Distinguished University Professor of Anthopology and Historical Studies at The New School for Social Research, will teach an exclusive seminar titled: “Documentality in Palestine: Thinking Through Archiving as Dissensus” for our students and faculty on December 2, 2020, at 10 a.m. Read more...

  • man holding books and laptop

Join our group of friendly grad students and faculty to hone your writing skills! The group meets twice a year (currently online) to discuss one student's writing process. Whether you are just embarking on your prospectus or have been writing your dissertation for a year, this GCLR workshop will answer many of your questions and show you that you are not alone with your problems! If you are not ready to share your work yet, you can attend to hear how others are discussing theirs, adn provide your input to help them along. The first workshop in 2020/2021 will be on Tuesday, January 19 at 2 p.m. Please write to us to join the mailing list!

Women of the Gulag (2019) tells the compelling stories of six female survivors of Soviet labor camps. On October 27 at 7 p.m., director/producer Marianna Yarovskaya and author/producer Paul Gregory will join Alexandra Noi (History, UCSB) for a virtual discussion of this fascinating documentary. Two days before the event, registered participants will receive a screening link to view the film. To register, read more... 

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Twice a year the GLCR puts out a newsletter with highlights from past events, and information about upcoming ones. If you don't want to miss any GCLR information, click in the orange box below and input your email address to receive our newsletter. 

We would like to congratulate and welcome this year's recruitment fellows Richard Nedjat-Haiem (Comparative Literature) and Emma Roalsvig (Classics)! For Richard and Emma's bios, read more...

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The 2021-2022 Colloquium Series of the Iranian Studies Initiative will be held this next year in collaboration with the UCSB Graduate Center for Literary Research (GCLR).
  • IWL

The Harvard Institute for World Literature (IWL) has been created to explore the study of literature in a globalizing world where our understanding of "world literature" has expanded beyond the clssic canon of European masterpieces. GCLR affiliated students have a unique opportunity to participate in this exciting opportunity. This year's HIWL will be held in Mainz, Germany. Read more...

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