Category: Humanities

RTC Best Conference Paper Award

The RTC program is excited to launch the Graduate Student Best Conference Paper Award. This award seeks to recognize and promote excellence in RTC graduate students’ research and scholarship and is made possible thanks to support from the Humanities department. All current students are eligible for the award, which comes with a $500 fund. The RTC encourages students to submit their recent papers for consideration. A student may submit only one paper per year. To apply, please follow these submission guidelines (PDF).


RTC Colloquium: The Injunction to Forget with Dr. Ramon Fonkoué

The RTC Committee will present the last of the Fall Colloquium Series this Wednesday, 12/05 at 1RTC Colloquium #3:00 pm in Walker 109. Dr Ramon Fonkoué will present a paper entitled “The Injunction to Forget: State Engineering of Collective Memory in Postcolonial Cameroon,” adapted from a chapter in his forthcoming book on nation building in Cameroon.

This paper will address the post-colonial state’s attempts to impose a sanitized version of the history of the country’s anti-colonial struggle, the resulting lack of potent symbols for the nascent nation, and the manifestations of the people’s “dissident knowledge.”

Abstract: Upon gaining independence, the leaders of Cameroon denied the status of martyrs to the nationalists who had paid the ultimate price for their opposition to the colonizer. Deprived of this symbolic capital, the state was condemned to an improbable quest for beacons of the nascent nation. Using Michel Foucault’s concept of “discursive formation,” this presentation investigates the state’s attempts to monopolize historiography in the aftermath of Cameroon’s war of independence. In independent Cameroon, the leaders’ claim to legitimacy was undercut by the people’s “dissident knowledge” about the nation’s “silent” heroes. As a result, political discourse, which is divorced from popular memory about the past, sees its performative power undermined by the impossibility to mourn the nation’s deaths. This paper concludes on artistic expressions of defiance to sanctioned discourse on history. 


Stephanie Carpenter Publishes Book Review

Stephanie CarpenterStephanie Carpenter has published an omnibus book review in the Fall 2018 issue of The Missouri Review. Her piece, “The End of the World as We Know It: Four Novels of Climate Change,” considers new novels by Louise Erdrich, Jenni Fagan, Paul Kingsnorth and James Bradley. Carpenter will again teach Literature and the Environment (HU 3508) in Fall 2020.


RTC Colloquium: Islands of Resistance

RTC colloquium event posterPlease join the Department of Humanities for a Rhetoric, Theory and Culture Colloquium on Wednesday, November 14 titled “Islands of Resistance.” Dana Van Kooy, associate professor of english in transnational literature and literacy theory and culture, will present “Islands of Resistance: Geography as a Configuration of Political Resistance and Atlantic History” (see abstract below). This essay draws attention to Haiti, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic as differently scaled geopolitical literary spaces that represent multiple cultures and histories of resistance.

Please join us 12 p.m. (noon) Wednesday, November 14 in Rozsa Center room 120 (choral room).

Abstract:

Islands of resistance. The phrase commonly refers to isolated pockets of organized and oppositional force. Significantly, when interpreting the phrase, the emphasis falls more on the geographical features of an island than on the refusal to comply. The geographical imagery encircles and confines resistance: limiting its effectiveness to a series of singular actions or to a small, containable  collective movement. In the cultural imaginary, the island represents a point of stasis in the midst of an immensely larger—very fluid and indomitable—natural force. However, the island’s characteristics—its isolation, its remoteness from everywhere else, and its unique ecology—also produce a synecdoche: the world is an island. What I find relevant here is how geographical markers reconfigure the politics of the phrase, both positively and negatively. 

In the Romantic period, islands of resistance constitute a global expanse of spatial and temporal assemblages that encompass isolated rural agricultural estates, mining districts, mountain ranges, and wild “wastelands.” Metropolitan areas and cities can also be represented as islands, as well as nations and other geo-politically defined areas. For the purposes of this essay, I will focus more specifically on the island of Haiti. This island represents a geo-historical watershed: intertwining slave revolts, reactionary invasions, and revolutionary acts of independence, which culminated in the collective establishment of the first independent black state in the New World.

Focusing specifically on Leonora Sansay’s narrative depictions of Haiti’s history and its Revolution in her novel, Secret History (1808), I want to locate and map the shifting depictions of Haiti’s geography and how these markers shape, challenge, erase, and make manifest the many political possibilities for this island of resistance.


Students From Digital Imaging Course Showcase Work at Local Arts Center

Illustration of the Quincy Mine Shaft
Drawing of the Quincy Mine Shaft by Jan Manniko

Students from Stefka Hristova‘s Fundamentals of Digital Imaging course will be exhibiting their work at the Copper Country Community Arts Center’s “Shaft” exibit beginning Friday. The exhibit, held in the Kerredge Gallery, is a non-juried community exhibition inspired by mining in the Copper Country; the physical signs of its presence or the effect it has had on the area and its people.

The opening reception will be held on Friday, November 9 at 6 p.m. at the Arts Center. The public is invited to attend and vote on their favorite pieces. The exhibit will continue through November 30.


World War 1 in the Copper Country Armistice Commemoration Sunday

American soldiers in trenches during World War OneWorld War I & the Copper Country (WW1CC) will commemorate the Armistice of Nov. 11, 1918. The public will be welcomed with a bagpipe performance of “The Flowers of the Forest” and the distribution of paper poppies starting at 10:50 a.m. Sunday (Nov. 11) at the World War I Firing Trench (US-41 and MacInnes Drive).

The commemoration will begin promptly at 11 a.m. when bells will be synchronized to ring for 30 seconds. The Michigan Tech Joint Color Guard, consisting of Air Force and Army ROTC cadets, will present the colors. The program will include singing the National Anthem, a poem recitation, a prayer offering and a firing party (21-gun salute) by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Hubbell post.

Taps will be played by a formation of local student buglers, followed by the retirement of the colors. The commemoration will conclude by inviting guests to drop their poppies into the trench as they disperse.

Refreshments will be offered in the Wads Annex preceding and following the commemoration. In the event of inclement weather, the commemoration will move into the Wads Annex. Free parking will be available in any of the Michigan Tech lots directly opposite the trench on US-41.


Andrew Fiss Publishes Article in Peitho

Andrew FissAndrew Fiss has published a research article titled “Structures of Antifeminism: Drugs and Women’s Education in the Texts of Dr. Clarke” in the rhetoric journal Peitho. The article used rare books from the Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard to track the historical roots of a pervasive antifeminist argument that has kept women from higher education since the Civil War Era. The article indicates how the structure of this argument came from early classes in pharmacy delivered by Boston doctor Edward H. Clarke in the 1850s-60s, popularizing discrimination through (implicitly, structurally) presenting women’s education as a dangerous drug that could be overused/abused.


Patty Sotirin to Give Talk on Copper Country Mothers

World War One in the Copper Country logoA talk on Copper Country Mothers during World War I by Patty Sotirin will take place tonight (Nov. 6) at the Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the talk begins at 6:15. Refreshments will be served. This event is part of World War I & the Copper Country.

Sotirin’s talk explains how mothers of sons in military service were critical figures in the Copper Country’s participation in the Great War. The war was a personal challenge for mothers, but made them public figures as well. Highlighting several local mothers whose boys went to war, Sotirin sketches what that experience was like for them based on letters, poems and newspaper stories. Beyond their personal pride and trials, the patriotic citizen mother ready to sacrifice her children for the nation emerged as a public focus for recruitment appeals, servicemen support and national grieving.

Special attention is given to the creation of the Gold Star Mothers and their sojourn at national expense to visit their boys’ graves overseas. Given women’s campaign for the vote and the importance of ethnic identity in the Copper Country, the experiences of mothers here highlight some of the tensions among motherhood, nationalism and citizenship that are still part of our collective story of motherhood and war.


Modern Languages Holiday Celebration Date Announced

Earth globes as Christmas ornamentsJoin Modern Languages faculty and students from 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday (Nov. 28) in Walker 134 for a unique celebration of French, German and Spanish holiday traditions. Appearing live will be the French Canadian group, Maple Sugar Folk, as well as Sue Ellen Kingsley and Friends.

Learn holiday songs in each language for the sing-along and listen to traditional holiday music. Play Christmas Bingo and enjoy a variety of holiday treats from different cultures. No prior language experience required. Families are welcome.

For more information, contact Karin Schlenker.


Award-winning Fiction Writer Diane Cook to Read Tuesday

Diane CookAward-winning fiction writer Diane Cook will give a reading from her work from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday (Nov. 6) in ME-EM 112.

Cook is the author of the story collection Man V. Nature, and was formerly a producer for the public radio show This American Life. Man V. Nature was a finalist for the Guardian First Book Award, Believer Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction.

Cook’s stories have appeared in Harper’s, Tin House, Granta and elsewhere and have been anthologized in Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. Cook is the recipient of a 2016 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. A Michigan native, she has served as a National Park volunteer on Isle Royale.

The reading is free and open to the public. A reception and book signing will follow, with books available for purchase at the door.

This event is sponsored by the English Program, Department of Humanities and the Visiting Professor Lecturer/Scholar Series (VPLSS), which is funded by a grant to the Provost’s Office from the State of Michigan’s King-Chavez-Parks Initiative.