What’s Happening: April 2017

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We have finally approached the final full month of the spring semester and things are likely getting completely out of hand. Remember self care and check out one or all of these exciting events!

Tuesday April 4 at 7pm: Stephanie Powell Watts, professor at Lehigh University, has a book launch at the Bethlehem Barnes and Noble (4445 Southmont Way, Easton). Watts new book, No One Is Coming to Save Us, has received a great deal of critical praise and attention.

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Lehigh Spaces: The Writing and Math Center

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Lehigh Culture & Community

Welcome to the Writing and Math Center! Here, students can find free writing and math help from experienced tutors, with half-hour appointments up to twice a week for writing and regular, weekly appointments for math.* Here, students enter with their assignment sheet and two copies of their draft (or outline or thesis statement or vague idea begging to be developed), and exit with a more defined sense of their argument and a clear plan for proceeding. Here, students learn not how to ask for proofreading, but how to identify and remedy the weaknesses in their own writing. As Stephen North says, here we work to make better writers, not better writing.

You may not realize, though, that these writing services are open not only to undergraduates, but also to grad students, faculty, and staff!  Yes, grad students are welcome to seek tutoring from our peers. Just as you might occasionally ask a friend to read over your work, you might as well ask a friend who gets paid to read it! I particularly recommend going to the Writing Center for working on abstracts, which are short enough that you have time to really dig into the details in your half-hour appointment. (Protip: bring the CFP and two copies of your abstract with you).

However, the Writing Center offers even more than an extra set of eyes on your writing; it is a space of community.

staged diligent working

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Film Club Review: A Bunch of Movies

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Lehigh Culture & Community

It’s been forever! What’s wrong with us? Business, basically. I am utterly sorry, but the fun thing is that we’re gonna recap everything in one big go. It’s gonna be crazy, especially with the crop of movies we have to talk about: 13th, The Handmaiden, Get Out, The Island of Dr. Moreau, and Re-Animator. I’m not going to try to tie these together, because that’s probably impossible. Instead, you’ll get capsule reviews.


13th – Ava DuVernay

This was our first documentary, and it was a doozy. DuVernay captures the terrible tragedy that is the prison industrial complex, one she, along with the scholars and politicians she interviews have connected to the way that the 13th amendment abolished slavery except through the prison system. A good portion of the movie is a well-developed timeline, going decade by decade through the 20th century and seeing how our modern prison system came to be. It’s a sobering look at the influence of racism and corporations on something that people don’t pay enough attention to, which has allowed the problem to get wildly out of hand. For me, the film’s best bits came at the beginning and the end. In the early goings, DuVernay investigates how D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation played a part in the resurgence of the KKK and ties that in with the way that prisons became the new slavery. The very end of the film features pictures of black men and women and children doing everyday things, an important part of the story and the reason why this story matters so much. It also makes the whole documentary, which is a chronicle of human suffering, less heavy without cutting the power of the film. Read More

Anticipating Accepted Students Day

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Advice / Lehigh Culture & Community

In anticipation of Accepted Students Day on March 22nd, I sat down with some seasoned graduate students to gather their advice for how to best prepare for a campus visit. As a first year Ph.D. student and a second year MA student, respectively, Sam Sorenson and Ashley Evans shared the following kernels of wisdom with our future colleagues:

  • “Don’t be shy. Try to interact with everyone to get a realistic feel for the department.” Admittedly, Accepted Students Day can feel overwhelming. You are likely to meet a slew of new people, who will ask you a bombardment of questions about your potential interests, academic experiences, and hopes for graduate school. However, try to chat with as many people as you can, in order to get a better sense of the social fabric of the department. Realistically, you may be spending the next 2-9 years with this group of people, so you want to be sure that your future program is a good fit academically as well as socially.
    • Pro tip: if you feel nervous in crowded spaces, or about introducing yourself to new folks, please feel free to reach out to your Recruitment Representatives (me and Megan Bruening) for help.

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Film Club Reviews: The Seventh Seal and The World’s End

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Lehigh Culture & Community

At first, second, and third glance, these two movies have nothing in common. The first, The Seventh Seal, is a black and white Swedish film from 1957 which uses the black plague as a background for a consideration of death, suffering, and religion. The second, The World’s End, is a fast-paced action movie about drinking, consumer culture, and assimilation. What the films share, though, is an understanding of humanity’s desire to engage in pleasureful activities even as the world seems to be collapsing. They are quest narratives where the end of the quest involves the destruction of the world around them, even if a glimmer of human hope lingers on. Though each film examines very different societies and does so in very different modes, they end up confirming similarly humanist ideals in what makes for the most whiplash-inducing but also thoroughly interesting double feature I’ve yet to discover.



The Seventh Seal is Ingmar Bergman’s entrance into greatness as a director, and no scene proves this more than the terrifying conversation between the returning crusade knight and a woman about to be burned as a witch. Here the knight hopes for a story of her time with the Devil, because if Satan exists so must God, and that means that death and therefore life have meaning. What she gives him is no comfort, though, as her thousand-yard stare goes right through him and the audience, giving her a sense of cold detachment from humanity. “Look into my eyes,” she says, “Well, do you see him?” The knight responds, “I see terror. Nothing else.” That terror is one side of the movie’s coin, and it is indeed horrific. But wait.

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What’s Happening?: March 2017

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They say March is the busiest month. Do they? Maybe. Around here it is, apparently. Talks and recruitment day and a conference, oh my! We’ve got something for everyone, so see what part of that something is for you in the following list. Bring a friend! Get your learn on.

Tuesday, March 7 – Job Placement Workshop: CV to Resume

Who: With Lynne D’Angelo-Bello (Associate Director of Grad Student Career Development) and Deep Singh (English department placement person)
When: March 7, 4:10 pm
Where: Drown Hall 209
Faculty and graduate students considering a variety of careers are invited to attend a workshop on converting long-form academic CVs to shorter Resumes. These are often required by “alt-ac” positions and positions with an administrative component. What should and shouldn’t be on a Resume? How can you highlight your skills and experiences to appeal to the requirements of particular positions? We will be working with specific examples from previous students in the program.
Second-year MA students going out on the job market as well as Ph.D. students considering alt-ac positions will likely benefit the most from this workshop. Faculty interested in learning more about how to prepare our students for the alt-ac job market are also more than welcome to attend.
Participants are invited (but not required) to bring their own CVs in for workshopping. We only request that you send us a copy of the CV and the text of the advertisement of the position to which you are thinking of applying in advance so we can have a few copies available for other participants.  (If you want to just come and listen in, that’s fine too.)
If you have any questions or would like to send along materials in advance of the workshop, please send them to Deep at amsp@lehigh.edu.

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On Teaching Resistance

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Literature & Social Justice / Teaching / Uncategorized

While drafting my English 2 proposal and planning my course last October, I had no idea how painfully relevant the overall theme would be, come spring semester.


My English 2 focuses on the rhetoric of resistance:

“Our section of English 2 will focus on the implications of language and writing in the context of various forms of resistance: self-definition and identity formation, visual rhetoric, and body rhetoric. Students will learn how these forms of resistance operate rhetorically to expose and challenge oppressive power structures with the goal to generate social change. To this end, we will study and research the rhetorical strategies of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, music, and public art. We as a class will learn to reconsider the role of language in many, if not all, aspects of our lives and to navigate the broader community as socially conscious citizen-writers.”

From the beginning, I made it clear that I wasn’t seeking to push a particular agenda, but rather providing a space where we interrogate ideas and different manifestations of resistance. Along with Envision, I’ve required Rhetoric for Radicals: A Handbook for 21st Century ActivistsOne quote from the foundational readings for the second day sums up the ethos of the class: “If we’re going to change the world, then we need to change people’s rhetorical constructions of the world.”

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Drown Recap: Oral History Workshop with Mary Marshall Clark

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Lehigh Culture & Community / Literature & Social Justice / Uncategorized

On February 17th & 18th, scholars from the Lehigh community were treated to an opportunity to participate in a workshop on the theories, methods, and practice of oral history led by acclaimed oral historian Mary Marshall Clark. Clark is the director of the Columbia Center for Oral History Research and Columbia University’s Oral History MA degree program. Her work in the field has been extensive and diverse. Some of the major projects she has conducted have explored the traumatic aftermath of 9/11 among eyewitnesses and immigrants, the experiences of Japanese-Americans interned during WWII, and the history of the Apollo Theatre. Her most recent research examines the global impact of torture and the detention policies at Guantánamo Bay.


Clark began the first day’s meeting by having everyone collect a bit of oral history themselves. Each attendee conducted a fifteen-minute interview with a partner to gain an overview of the life the “narrator”, and several then shared the results of their work. It was really quite astonishing to hear what a broad variety of experiences and backgrounds one might learn about even within a relatively small group. Having gained a taste of what it is like to collect oral history narratives, Clark used the group’s experiences to inform the afternoon’s workshop sessions on theory and practice.

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Literature & Social Justice Keynote

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Lehigh Culture & Community / Literature & Social Justice

This year, thanks to generous support from the English Department, the Literature and Social Justice Graduate Conference will host its first external keynote speaker: Dr. Kavita Daiya.


Dr. Kavita Daiya is Associate Professor of English and Affiliated Faculty in the Women’s Studies Program and Global Women’s Institute at George Washington University.  In AY 2015-2016, she held the NEH endowed Chair in the Humanities at Albright College, focusing on Global Migration and Asia.  She was Mellon Regional Faculty Fellow at the Penn Humanities Forum at the University of Pennsylvania (2014-2015).  She serves as Associate Editor of the MLA-Allied Association journal “South Asian Review.” She has also been a Research Fellow at the Globalization Project at the University of Chicago.

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Drown Recap: Multimodal Workshop

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Advice / Teaching

On January 19th a crowd of instructors gathered for an informative workshop led by assistant professor Dr. Brooke Rollins and featuring presentations by Dr. Amardeep Singh and Dr. Nicole Batchelor. For those unable to attend the event, we here at Drown Unbound have got you covered. While the idea of teaching a multimodal assignment may have seemed daunting at first, a few tips from the workshop presenters put everyone at ease.pexels-photo-121734

The easiest way to think about the multimodal assignment is through the remediation model which asks students to recast an argument from an academic paper into another medium that appeals to a broader audience. The process requires students consider ways of making a public turn.

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