21 September 2020

Dear Everyone:

Since the news of Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s passing, I’ve had pieces of June Jordan’s “Poem About My Rights” bouncing around in my head — “who the hell set things up like this” and “this poem is not consent I do not consent” especially.  Jordan gives voice to then and still pressing need to apprehend the systems that restrict mobility along intersectionally gendered axes that precipitates at least some of the intensity surrounding RBG’s death. But I think also, Jordan’s work resonates because she captures the simultaneous inadequacy and necessity of law in the address of the im/mobilities tethered to gendered Blackness in U.S. nation formation. And, of course, RBG’s death is yet another occasion to recognize the manifest cruelty of the present iteration of the U.S. state. Please forgive the academic tenor of this message’s opening: I’m trying to sort through/make some sense of thick contradictions – among them, of mourning RBG while acknowledging that the authority of the law is contingent on settler colonialism; and, of recognizing the exigency of fending off attempts to seat a new justice before the election while confronting the absurdity that so much of our political futures seemingly hinges on the death of one person….no words of comfort to offer, just those of Jordan to invoke!  (h/t alum Talia Shalev for inclining me toward this poem in rich ways)

I’m grateful my seminar meets today, not because we’ll talk about any of this directly necessarily, but because I believe the work all of us do – not just my class but in undertaking work with ideas generally — is part of figuring out “who the hell set things up like this” and creating worlds!

I’m so glad also to be anticipatorily invoking other words and work!  I’m very looking forward to our upcoming Friday Forum, “Material Objects I: students publish things,” information (including zoom link) below and attached (and should you notice that Madeleine Barnes’ project title has changed, it has!), featuring work published by students in our program.  (Later in the semester – billed as Material Objects II – we’ll be treated to work published by faculty in our program.)

I wanted also to note that I know many of us have beloveds dispersed across areas characterized by fire and storms, and know that the pandemic continues to stress and distress. Big virtual hugs to you all, and a reminder please to check in with each other and to reach out if and as you need.

Abundant well wishes, as ever!


PhD Program in English//Friday Forum

Material Objects I: students publish things

25 September 2020 // 4p



Students in English publish things

 (and not only in academic journals)! 

Come get a sense of the object possibilities

and celebrate their work in the process!


Madeleine Barnes, Women’s Work

Aaron Phillips Hammes,

One Smashed Window for Every Divided Soul

Brad Fox, To Remain Nameless


Trace Peterson, Since I Moved In

Hang out after – same zoom address!  Free and open to the public, as always, and we’ll try to live caption!

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