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Special Interest Groups

*Disability Studies Group

(Petra Kuppers, Crystal Yin Lie, Ai Binh Ho, Dawn Kaczmar)

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  • The University of Michigan Disability Studies Group aims to bring together students, faculty, staff, and community members interested in the growing interdisciplinary field of Disability Studies. This field views disability as a cultural and minority identity, not simply as a set of physical or mental conditions. We hope to foster a supportive and collaborative scholarly and social community and to generate further dialogue on disability as both a critical category of analysis and a unique creative resource. Through our discussions and events we aim to showcase disability culture; inspire more inclusive pedagogies; promote equitable education; and urge active leadership in the community. We will engage with the key questions in disability studies today, such as debates over bioethics and the boundaries of the body; the dilemmas pertaining to access, employment, and civil rights; or how ethnicity and race, among other aspects of identity, intersect with disability. This group will also be a forum for students and faculty members to discuss recent ideas and scholarship in Disability Studies; to plan events related to Disability Studies, including lectures by UM and non-UM scholars; and to get advice, feedback, and support on works in progress (abstracts, articles, papers, etc.).

*Drama Interest Group

(Dr. E.J. Westlake, Theatre, Lucia Naser Rocah, Lauren Eriks)

  • The Drama Interest Group (DIG) is an interdisciplinary group that brings together faculty and graduate students from the departments of English, Theatre, History, Romance Languages and Literatures, Classics, Asian Languages and Literatures, and more.

Early Modern Colloquium

(Michael Schoenfeldt, Kyle Grady, Elizabeth Mathie, Charisse Willis, Jamie Carter)

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  • Graduate students and faculty from around campus to participate in symposia, panel discussions, lectures and major conferences
  • Graduate students are integral, work with faculty to develop conference and panel ideas, writing and delivering papers, meeting and developing relationships with scholars from around and beyond the University
  • Forums have included panel discussions, single speakers, and discussions of pre-circulated papers

*Eighteenth-Century Studies Group

(Sean Silver, David Hancock, Aran Ruth, Adam Sneed)

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  • Interdisciplinary ; monthly seminars (for faculty and advanced grad. students) to discuss current scholarship in the period
  • Members representing multiple departments in LS&A, plus a handful of regional institutions
  • Invites two outside speakers to campus each year
  • Holds two-hour seminars each week

Junior Faculty Forum

(Gillian White)

  • Revived in 2011, the group seeks to provide a context for assistant professors for discussing research, teaching, and professional matters
  • Will provide an important venue for informal peer mentoring and for discussion of departmental and professional issues of shared concern
  • Possible events may include panels on  assistant professors’ research, on publishing the first book and preparing tenure materials (with testimonial visits from recently tenured faculty), and perhaps invited talks from editors or professors from other universities
  • Will provide a liaison between the Executive Committee (White is currently serving) and the junior faculty.  Our hope is that, in future years, at least one junior professor who is serving on Executive Committee will be willing (as need and desire dictate) to run the Forum.

*Language and Rhetorical Studies

(Anne Curzan, Justine Neiderhiser, Sarah Swofford)

  • The structure and history of the English language
  • Language’s function in discourse and discourse communities
  • History of rhetoric
  • Language ideologies
  • Language variation and change
  • Rhetorical strategies and their effects in the world
  • The relationship between linguistic practices and literary form
  • Literary practices
  • Activities likely will include: discussion of readings proposed by group members, sharing of group members’ research and works-in-progress, lectures from visiting scholars, attendance at national conference

Middle English Reading Group

(Terri Tinkle)

  • The Middle English Reading Group meets weekly to discuss primary literature. The group sets its reading schedule at the beginning of each term. Fall 2012 focuses on romance, starting with Marie de France and moving on to Horn, Havelok, and several other short works. All interested faculty and graduate students are welcome to attend. 

Mountaineering Culture Studies Group

(Amrita Dhar; George Hoffmann (Romance Languages and Literatures))

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  • The Mountaineering Culture Studies Group will bring together scholars from different parts of the academy—and the world—to discuss and present work surrounding the literature and culture of mountaineering. The textual and, more recently, cinematographic traditions around mountaineering uniquely unite some of the most influential intellectual strands of our world: post-colonialist thought, eco-critical and conservationalist approaches to literature, discourses of travel and exploration, social and ecological changes from commerce and tourism, use of language to express severe physical experience, transnational ethnographies and anthropologies, oropolitical testimonies, and registers of language for recording extreme emotional experience. The Group will aim to make a lasting contribution to the academic—and wider—community by foregrounding a set of texts and concerns that probe and enlarge the scope of methodological and critical tools in scholarship across disciplines, and manners of enjoying responsibly the world we live in.

Native American and Indigenous Studies

(Scott Lyons, Steven Pelleiter)

  • The Native American and Indigenous Studies interest group is devoted to the study of indigenous cultures and literatures across a wide range of time and space.  We are also engaged in the analysis of settler colonialism, which provides the background for the production of Native cultural expressions in the modern era.  We pursue these objectives in the following ways:
    • Forming reading, study, and discussion groups
    • Creating a scholarly community for the sharing of new work and writing
    • Inviting guest speakers to Michigan
    • Connecting with the Native American Studies Program
    • Hosting a major Native American literature conference in 2013  

Nineteenth-Century Forum

(Lucy Hartley, Christie Allen)

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  • Interdisciplinary group of graduate students and faculty from departments in LS&A
  • Graduate students organize the events for the year
  • Meets monthly to read a common text or discuss work-in-progress
  • Invites two outside speakers to campus each year 
  • Additional activities include roundtable discussions, symposia, and jobs workshops

Performance Studies

(Petra Kuppers, Jina Kim)

  • Reads recent performance studies publications
  • Workshops members' chapters and essays
  • Engages in practice-as-research activities, including organization and support of symposia, such as Sedimentations: Art, Culture, Nature (2007), The Anarcha Project (2007), Touching Time:  Bodies/Writing/Histories (2008), Eco-Performance (2009), Bodies/Experience/Environment (part of ArtsLab) (2010), Movement, Somatics and Writing (2011), Queer Dance (2012).

*Poetry and Poetics Workshop

(Yopie Prins, Aran Ruth)

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  • Provides an interdisciplinary forum for professors and graduate students to discuss work in progress on poetry, poetics, and lyric theory
  • Meets approximately three to four times a semester
  • Invites outside speakers to present and discuss their work
  • Has provided a forum for panel discussions, pre-circulation of conference papers, public lectures, article drafts, and thesis / book chapters
  • Participation of graduate students (Rachel Feder and Julia Hansen are current coordinators) has been integral in all aspects of the workshop’s running and planning
  • The workshop encourages attendance by students and faculty working in a range of languages and creative and scholarly disciplines

Reorientations Group

(David Porter, Alice Tsay, Elizabeth McAdams)

  • An interdisciplinary group working towards building the scale and quality of reorientational studies, which is not the rewriting but the rethinking of dominant historical doxa in English literary criticism along a global, transnational and transpacific axis. Topics that reorientational studies take up include, but are certainly not limited to: Global English, Transpacific Nationalism, Global Commodities and Labor movements, Historicizing Globalization, Transnational Discourses and Bodies, Translation and Translingual Theory, Global Imaginaries, Virtual Worlds, Cosmopolitanism, Travel(ing) Texts, Pacific Island Studies, Orientalism(s), Sinology and Neo-Sinology, Western and Eastern Imperialism/ Literary Nationalism, Queer Asians/ Cosmopolitans, Theories of Geography and Space, and the role of the East in Contemporary Critical Theory. Projec ted activities include 1.) holding semester-long workshops for emerging dissertations that take up the framework of reorientation, 2.) bringing in a series of outside speakers who are leading figures in reorientational criticism, and 3.) helping to sponsor in-house conferences that deploy reorientational thinking as a methodology or theory.

U.S. Literatures – Americanists

(Gregg Crane, Liz Rodrigues)

  • Discussion group on the literatures of the U.S. weighing the pedagogic and institutional implications of new developments in the field
  • Meets once per month having read a common text, or responding to comments from guest speakers. One member of the group leads the discussion. The group also uses its funds to bring in outside speakers.

*Visual Cultures

(Sara Blair, Katie Lennard)

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  • The Visual Culture Workshop (VCW) at the University of Michigan is a Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop composed of faculty and graduate students with an academic interest in some aspect of visual culture,  including (but not limited to) photography, painting, digital media, print technologies, film , architecture, and curatorial modes.



*Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop >

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