U-M Department of English
U-M English Home

News & Events

RSS Feed


Alan Wald Retirement Symposium



Lineages of the Literary Left:

A Symposium in Honor of Alan M. Wald

University of Michigan

March 21-22, 2013 

Keynote speakers:

Michael Löwy, Research Director in the Social Sciences, emeritus, Le Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique [CNRS], Paris

Tariq Ali, activist, historical novelist (The Islamic Quintet), and editorial board member, New Left Review, London


  • Heather Bowen-Struyk, University of Michigan
  • Sarah Ehlers, University of South Dakota
  • Marcial Gonzalez, UC-Berkeley
  • Cheryl Higashida, University of Colorado
  • Lawrence Jackson, Emory University
  • Julia Mickenberg, University of Texas
  • Bill Mullen, Purdue University
  • Cary Nelson, University of Illinois
  • Rachel Rubin, U-Mass Boston
  • Eleni Varikas, Professor Emerita, CNRS, Paris
  • Sarah Wald, Drew University
  • Mary Helen Washington, University of Maryland 


  • Howard Brick (American Culture, 1983), University of Michigan
  • Robbie Lieberman (American Culture, 1984), Southern Illinois (Carbondale)
  • Nathaniel Mills (English, 2010), California State University Northridge
  • Paula Rabinowitz (American Culture, 1986), University of Minnesota
  • Rachel Peterson (American Culture, 2008), Grand Valley State University
  • Jess Rigelhaupt (American Culture, 2005), University of Mary Washington
  • Zaragosa Vargas (American Culture, 1984), University of North Carolina

Lineages of the Literary Left

University of Michigan

March 21-22, 2013


Thurs., March 21

1 pm:  Founders Room, Alumni Center (Central Campus, between League and Rackham]

Welcome to conference

1:15-3:15 (Panel  A)

Reading the Old Left Now

Chair:  Robbie Lieberman, SIU-Carbondale

  • Mary Helen Washington, University of Maryland, “The Un (Read) List: Inserting Radicalism in the African American Literary Canon”
  • Julia Mickenberg, University of Texas, "U.S. Women, the Pilgrimage to Russia, and the Question of Stalinism"
  • Heather Bowen-Struyk, University of Michigan, “The Resurgence of Proletarian Literature in Japan in 2008”
  • Sarah Ehlers, University of South Dakota, “Left of Lyric: Depression-era Poetry and Collective Life 

3:15-4:00 (Coffee Break)

4:00 (Keynote address)

 Introduction of Michael Löwy:  Howard Brick, University of Michigan


Michael Löwy, Research Director emeritus, CNRS, Paris:

“Jewish Radicals in Central Europe and the US: A Comparative Approach”

5:30-6:30:  Alumni Center Lobby

Open Reception 

* * *

Friday, March 22:  Forum Auditorium, Palmer Commons

9:00-11:00 (Panel B)

New Visions of Literary Biography[9:00-11:00]

Chair:  Rachel Peterson, Grand Valley State University

  • Lawrence Jackson, Emory University,  "Chester Himes, Fannie Cook and Bucklin Moon: American Novelists and the Edge of the Racial Frontier during WWII"
  • Bill Mullen, Purdue University, "W.E.B. Du Bois and Socialism: A Call for Reassessment"
  • Rachel Rubin, U-Mass Boston, "The Darker Brother and the Cracker Boy: Langston Hughes, Don West, and Poetry as Social Conversation"
  • Marcial Gonzalez, UC-Berkeley, “Communism of the Will: Narrative Disclosures of a Mexican American Farm Worker”

11:15-1:15 (Panel C)

Toward an Activist, Internationalist American Studies[2:30-4:30]

Chair:  Nathaniel Mills, California State University-Northridge

  • Eleni Varikas, Professor Emerita, CNRS, Paris, “Travelling Theories and Practices of Resistance within a Neo-Colonial Europe:  For a Feminism in the Plural”
  • Cary Nelson, University of Illinois, “The Unknown Native American Left”
  • Sarah Wald, Drew University, "Ecocritical Perspectives on the Mid-20th Century US Left."
  • Cheryl Higashida, University of Colorado, "Black Belt Queer Feminism: African American Women Writers on the Left in the Era of Decolonization"

1:15-2:30(Lunch break)

 2:30-4:00 (Keynote address)

Introduction of Tariq Ali:  Michael Löwy 

Tariq Ali, “The Mirror of the World:  Poetry and Resistance” 

4:00-4:30 (Conclusion)

Introduction of Alan Wald:  Paula Rabinowitz, University of Minnesota

 Remarks by Alan Wald

Lineages of the Literary Left (March 21-22, University of Michigan) 

Current Sponsors:

Department of English, Department of American Culture (with the participation of Native American Studies, Latina/o Studies, and Asian/Pacific Islander Studies), Rackham Dean’s Discretionary Fund, Office of the Vice President for Research, Institute for the Humanities, International Institute, Office of the Provost, Frankel Center, Labadie Collection, Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies, German Department, History Department, Center for South Asian Studies, Modern Greek program, Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, U.S. Literatures and Cultures Consortium, Interdisciplinary Marx and Post-Structuralism Group, Department of Romance Languages

Start Time: 3/21/2013  1:15 PM
Location: Alumni Center & Palmer Commons
Contact: hbrink@umich.edu
To view all upcoming events, please click here.

Dept. of English Language and Literature

home mission statement sitemap contact

U-M English on Facebook
U-M English on Facebook
U-M English on iTunes U
U-M English on YouTube

435 S. State Street, 3187 Angell Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1003
Phone: (734) 764-6330 Fax: (734) 763-3128