Rankine Featured at Reid Writers of Color Reading Series

On Friday, April 15 the Fordham English department hosted the 2016 Reid Family Writers of Color Reading Series. The 2016 Reid Writer was award-winning author of Citizen: An American Lyric, Claudia Rankine.

The series featured a number of events at Fordham Law School including an invitation-only workshop with the author, a writing workshop for local high school students taught by Fordham creative writing concentrators, and readings by Rankine and the 2016 Reid Prize winner, Kat Sommers.

The day began with the Racial Imaginary workshop. Rankine asked participating undergrads, graduate students, and professors to freewrite about a micro-aggression that they had either experienced themselves or witnessed first-hand. The participants shared their experiences and Rankine guided the conversation, encouraging others to respond and think deeply about the implications of everyday micro-aggressions.

At the same time, two creative writing concentrators led a workshop for local high school students. With Citizen as inspiration, the high schoolers wrote about their own experiences with race.

The two groups had the opportunity to mingle and continue discussion with a reception following the workshops.

When it came time for the day's main event, the Bateman Room was filled to capacity with students, professors, and fans who came to hear Rankine's reading. 

In between reading and discussing passages from Citizen, Rankine elaborated on the artwork in the book, her own everyday experiences with racism, and the conditions that perpetuate racism in the United States. She concluded her presentation with a short film about the mistreatment of people of color during interactions with police officers.

When the event was over, Rankine generously answered questions from the audience and signed attendees' copies of Citizen.

The Reid Family Writers of Color Reading Series is made possible through the generosity of Kenneth and Frances K. Reid and the sponsorship of the Graduate Student Association, and the English department and Creative Writing Program. 


CURA Launches Issue No. 17 with Harlem Speakeasy

CURA: A Literary Magazine of Art & Action celebrated the launch of Issue No. 17 "Breaking Stone" with a Harlem Renaissance themed speakeasy last Thursday. The Spring 2016 issue features poetry by Pulitzer Prize winner, Tracy K. Smith, an experimental short film by Ruth Ellen Kocher and more. 

The event featured poetry readings by Quincy Scott Jones, Laura Swearingen-Steadwell, and the winner of the 2016 Reid Prize Kat Sommers. Guests enjoyed a chocolate fountain and artisanal chocolate tasting and toasted to "Breaking Stone" with an open wine bar. Fordham students Marla Louissaint and the Fordham Jazz Collective set the speakeasy mood with their musical performances.

To learn more about CURA and the 2015 - 2016 issues dedicated to Black Lives Matter, visit curamag.com.

April 27: Creative Writing Prizes Reading

Join us on Wednesday, April 27th at 7 p.m. in Fordham Lincoln Center's 12th Floor Lounge for the Creative Writing Prizes Reading. The winners of this year's prizes will read and a cupcake reception will follow. See below for a full list of the prizes and this year's winners.

Wallis Monday for selections from Mythmaking — "Hemingway and John Wayne Walk into a Bar" and "To the Cemetery Voices"

Danni Hu for "Female Perversion"
Wallis Monday for selections from Mythmaking — "Mapmaking" and "Inventory"

Diana Shao for "Shadow Play"

Connor Mannion for "Mojave Whiskey Weather"
Adam Fales for "Between-ness"
Bo Fisher for "Washing Jean Jackets in West Jeff"
Elizabeth Shew for "The Distance Between Two Skins"

Katharine Sommers for "Development"

John Bugg on Joseph Johnson and William Godwin

Professor John Bugg has written an article on the friendship between Joseph Johnson and William Godwin. An excerpt is below:

"What might be more surprising is that about a decade after Wollstonecraft’s death, Johnson became not only Godwin’s friend but also his vocational adviser, as Godwin worked to get his own publishing venture up and running. Together with his second wife, Mary Jane Godwin, he launched a publishing imprint and bookstore dedicated to children’s and educational books, a subspecialty of Johnson’s and a lucrative market. The Godwins’ ‘Juvenile Library’ was located first in Hanway Street, a few blocks from the British Museum’s original Montagu House site, and later at 41 Skinner Street (near the present-day Holborn Viaduct), very close – perhaps too close – to Newgate Prison."

Read the full article here.

Fordham Student Christy Pottroff Wins Prestigious Dissertation Fellowship

English Ph.D. candidate Christy Pottroff has been named an Andrew W. Mellon Dissertation Fellow in Early American Literature and Material Texts at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.  Chosen as one of thirteen fellows from a highly competitive international pool, Pottroff will use her nine-month residential fellowship to complete her dissertation, “The Mail Gaze: Early American Literature, Letters, and the Post Office”and to work on a digital mapping project, "The US Goes Postal."

Established as the Philadelphia Center for Early American Studies in 1978, and renamed in honor of its benefactor Robert L. McNeil, Jr., in 1998, the McNeil Center facilitates scholarly inquiry into the histories and cultures of North America in the Atlantic world before
1850, with a particular but by no means exclusive emphasis on the mid-Atlantic region.

The Center offers pre- and post-doctoral fellowships to encourage use of the Philadelphia area’s magnificent manuscript, rare book, and museum collections, conducts a seminar series to promote intellectual community among local and visiting faculty and graduate students, and organizes occasional national conferences to foster interdisciplinary research. To disseminate the best new scholarship in the field, it publishes Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and sponsors the Early American Studies monograph series published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.

PhD Candidate Fenton Awarded Dissertation Fellowship

PhD Candidate Will Fenton has been awarded the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation Dissertation Fellowship from the Library Company of Philadelphia. The fellowship supports dissertation research in residence at the Library Company of Philadelphia, America’s first successful lending library and oldest cultural institution.

Fenton has provided the following information about his anticipated work:


I will use the fellowship to conduct archival research for my dissertation, “Unpeaceable Kingdoms: Fighting Quakers, Revolutionary Violence, and the Antebellum Novel,” which considers how nineteenth-century American novelists use “fighting Quakers” to interrogate the violences attendant upon settlement, slavery, and nation-building. Alongside dissertation research, I will work with archivists at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the Library Company of Philadelphia to create the Digital Paxton, a digital critical edition to the Paxton pamphlet wars (1764).

The pamphlet wars contested the Paxton riots, in which a group of so-called “Paxton boys” murdered Christianized Indians at Conestoga Manor, the Lancaster jailhouse, and pursued refugees to the streets of Philadelphia. While Benjamin Franklin negotiated a settlement, Paxton critics and apologists debated the incident through dozens of pamphlets and political cartoons, using the approval and censure of the Paxton boys’ conduct to stake claims about colonial authority, settlement practices, and Pennsylvania governance and to debate the meanings of race, ethnicity, masculinity, and religious association in pre-Revolutionary Pennsylvania.

When it launches in early 2017 the Digital Paxton will narrativize the Paxton riots and pamphlet wars by aggregating, annotating, and contextualizing more than 90 pamphlets, cartoons, and ephemera that currently reside at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the Library Company of Philadelphia.

The English department congratulates Will!