LSJ Conference Round 4!

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Get excited for the 4th Annual LSJ Conference happening this weekend (March 2-3)! If you don’t already have this marked down on your calendars, you should do so ASAP. The LSJ committee has been hard at work prepping for this conference, and we are stoked to hear from different graduate students, independent scholars, public humanists, and educators about the role of literature, and the arts and humanities in addressing inequality and building just communities.

LSJ Conference 2018 (Final)

This year’s theme of “Literature and Intersectionality” engages the influence of intersectionality and critical race theory on literary criticism, pedagogy, and contemporary movements for social and political change. Some of the cool panels we have lined up include presenters addressing topics such as ecofeminism, queer sass, public resistance, and pop culture productions like Beyonce’s Lemonade! Our very own Sarah HB will also be hosting a restorative justice workshop at the conference that aims to build white allyship in combatting racism. Check out the full schedule here.

For this year’s keynote, we have invited Dr. David E. Kirkland, the Executive Director of The NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and The Transformation of Schools. His presentation aims to raise awareness regarding the effects of educational injustices in the lives of urban youth of color to interrupt cycles of miseducation. By focusing on the (mis)education of Black males, the presentation will address questions regarding the influence of cycles of racial inequity on this group’s learning, and the role of educators in disrupting such cycles to empower urban youth. In addressing these questions, the presentation aims to more holistically examine the peculiar deficits of literacy education, exploring instead the possibilities offered by the spoken and written word for learning and liberation.

You can visit our very profesh website designed by Adam and myself (technically, I can only claim 20% of design credit). Registration is a cinch and free for Lehigh students. And if you’re still debating whether to attend, perhaps food might persuade you — we may or may not have sushi and wine…

Hope to see many of your faces there!

5 Tips to Start (or Continue) Creative Writing in Graduate School

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Whether we like it or not, we’re people who are building our resumes and careers on the written word. However, this work is often confined to the scholarly side of writing and publishing. What about the creative side of scholarly publishing? If you’re a potential short story teller, poet, novelist, creative nonfiction wizard, or just someone who is interested in writing creatively, this post is for you!

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What Have We Wrought?

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I was eighteen years old on April 20, 1999, the day of the Columbine High School massacre. The world stopped. People were stunned—and in pain—for days, weeks. The story was the lead on every news show, in every newspaper, for days, weeks. The footage of Pat Ireland falling out of a second-story window into the arms of two police officers is forever burned into my consciousness. This was a national tragedy.

More children died last Wednesday in the Parkland shooting than died at Columbine. But almost twenty years later, these tragic events have become routine.

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The Benefits of Taking a GAship Outside of the English Department

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Advice / Lehigh Culture & Community / Literature & Social Justice

Co-written by Sarah Heidebrink-Bruno and Jimmy Hamill

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Sarah Heidebrink-Bruno, Ph.D. Candidate, 2 years in the Center for Gender Equity

For me, one of the best parts of teaching before and after I had a GA position at the Center for Gender Equity was the fact that my experiences in the classroom and in a student center symbiotically benefited one another. For instance, being a teacher taught me how to manage my time, respond thoughtfully to students’ questions and concerns, and turn even adverse circumstances into a teachable moment–all skills that served me well during my two-year tenure at the CGE.

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Sticking to a Schedule?

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Advice / Lehigh Culture & Community

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Being a graduate student is one of the rare occupations in which we can make our own schedules; technically we can work whenever we’d like.  Before beginning graduate school this flexibility seemed an extremely exciting benefit, but once I began I realized how difficult it actually was to keep myself on track and prevent burnout.  With the end of my first semester as an MA student complete (and having survived  writing roughly 50 pages in two weeks) I’ve realized how important having and sticking to a self-imposed schedule is for me.

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Moving Forward With Hope

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In an essay on Octavia Butler titled “The Only Lasting Truth,” Tananarive Due calls attention to the necessity of utopic thinking, hope, and desire. It is an important reminder in a political present that is charged with an incessant appeal to catastrophism. The dystopian rise of Donald Trump has drawn on people’s fear and offered minority groups as scapegoats to provide a seemingly simple solution to our problems. Catastrophism worked for Trump, but in order to counter darkness, we need not more darkness but hope that the world we desire is still possible.

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Our Silence Does Not Protect Us

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Advice / Lehigh Culture & Community / Truth

Co-written By Sarah Heidebrink-Bruno and Sarita Mizin

*Trigger Warning: Sexual Harassment/Assault*

I was a little girl the first time a grown man, a stranger, touched me against my will. He told me that I was beautiful, that I reminded him of his daughter, then he reached in through an open car window to kiss my head. My mother was pumping gas at the time. I was too stunned to talk about it, but the whole way home, I could smell traces of peanut butter on my eyebrow from his kiss.

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Gothic Reading Group: Laughing in the Dark

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Scary Stories CoverOctober 27th marked the second meeting of the Gothic Reading Group.  Of course, fall is the perfect time to be diving into the haunted material usually associated with the gothic. However, the group took a different turn for this month’s reading. Instead of diving into Frankenstein, Dracula, or other traditional texts, we took a trip to the past and found ourselves face-to-face with the stories that haunted us as children. Nope, it’s not Goosebumps. Our group took on the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark collection.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was first published in 1981 by Alvin Schwartz (author) and Stephen Gammell (artist). Two sequels followed the original collection, More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (1984) and Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones (1991). The Scary Stories legacy is dependent on the mythical tales, but best known for its terrifying artwork. The entire collection was recently re-released in the summer of 2017, which provided the group an opportunity to reenter their childhood fears.

Harold

Okay. I know that we are a reading group composed of graduate students. I am fully aware that we should be engaging in scholarly texts and contributing to the larger academic conversations. I get it. But I would be a complete liar if I told you that I did not love every minute of these children’s books. They’re fun, exciting, scary, corny, and amazing. Most importantly, they provided our reading group with an understanding of how young readers come to access the world of the gothic.

 While Scary Stories may seem immature, the collection is derived from old and new myths. The timelessness of the stories provides them with their scares, as well as their limitations. The tales can feel out of place sometimes. Yet, their ambiguous and loosely defined parameters make them fun to read. In fact, Alvin Schwartz provides readers with an appendix and glossary to further investigate the history behind the myths within the books. In doing so, Schwartz ties the adaptations to their source and provides certain scholarly reading groups access to crucial background information.

Deadface

Glossary or not, the Scary Stories collection is notable for the combination of text and artwork. The photos throughout this post have been pilfered from the books. The design, the gore, and the overtly frightening nature of these pieces makes us wonder how the books ever got past our parent’s filter. Regardless of their explicit nature, we are happy that the artwork has been paired with the text. The group spoke at length regarding the combination and our consensus that the text and the art work are an important pairing. They seem to need to be together, as it is their symbiotic relationship that provides the horror of the Scary Stories collection.

If you have never read the Scary Stories books, worry not. We have compiled a list of our favorites. These should provide you with some reference. Even if you are not interested, we highly recommend that you hunt down some of Stephen Gammell’s artwork. It is the epitome of creepy.

Our Favorite Stories:

  • Harold
  • High Beams
  • The Red Spot
  • One Sunday Morning
  • The Bed by the Window
  • The Window

If you are interested in joining the reading group, please be in contact with our fearless leader Meg Bruening (meb213@lehigh.edu). If not, we’ll continue our dark rituals without you. Either way, stay scared.