THATCamp is a wonderful and free opportunity to share ideas on a range of subjects with people from around the world. Fordham University and CUNY are hosting THATCamp Digital Writing, May 2-3, 2014. See the website for full details: http://digitalwriting2014.thatcamp.org/.
Register early to reserve your place (some preference given to Fordham people). Volunteers are needed for part of or all day May 3 (contact Elizabeth Cornell: firstname.lastname@example.org).
From tweeting to multimodal research papers to Prezi, writing these days means more than just black text on a white background. Through workshops and discussions, THATCamp Digital Writing aims to deepen and advance our notions of all facets of composition. Participants in THATCamp Digital Writing will explore how to effectively compose using different digital tools and platforms. We begin with a special lecture on Friday afternoon, May 2, 2014, at John Jay College, and continue all day Saturday, May 3, 2014 at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus with workshops, discussions, and a Maker Challenge.
At THATCamp Digital Writing, join a dynamic cast of participants to
- Learn more about innovative ways to digitize your work and publish it online
- Share pedagogical methods that use digital media for writing and research assignments
- Explore how to evaluate online writing and give feedback
- Question how tools, technology, and methods for publishing work shape the way we write
- Take workshops on Scalar, Juxta, Omeka and collaborative writing
- Make connections with others
- Establish new collaborations.
TCDW is being organized by Amanda Licastro, a PhD candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center, and Elizabeth Cornell, IT Communications Specialist at Fordham University.
Tudor-era figure Thomas Cromwell, the hero of Hilary Mantel's historical novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, is now the center of two new Royal Shakespeare Company plays which opened recently in Stratford. The real-life friendship between Cromwell and an abbess during the English Reformation is explored in a recent History Today article by Fordham English Professor Mary Erler. The article is drawn from Professor Erler’s major new book Reading and Writing During the Dissolution: Monks, Friars, and Nuns (Cambridge University Press, 2013).
To find out more about the book and stories related to it, like it on Facebook.
Kathy Knapp, who received her PhD from Fordham’s English Department in 2007, has been awarded the Andrew J. Kappel Prize in Literary Criticism for her essay “The Business of Forgetting: Postwar Living Memorials and the Post-Traumatic Suburb in Chang-rae Lee’s Aloft.” Knapp is currently Assistant Professor of English at the University of Connecticut, as well as the Director of the Litchfield County Writers Project.
Twentieth-Century Literature, a journal of literary criticism, awards the prize each year to the author of an essay deemed to have made the most significant contribution to the study of 20th century literature. The journal’s editorial board chooses candidates, and each year a prominent literary critic makes the final decision. This year’s judge was Houston Baker, Distinguished University Professor of English and African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt University. His most recent books include: Turning South Again, I Don’t Hate the South and Betrayal: How Black Intellectuals Have Abandoned the Ideals of the Civil Rights Era. Baker has served as President of the Modern Language Association and editor of American Literature.
Professor Baker refers in his comments on the essay to Knapp’s “capacious and original analyses” of Chang-rae Lee’s novel, concluding that “the intellectual achievement of “The Business of Forgetting: Postwar Living Memorials and the Post-Traumatic Suburb in Chang-rae Lee’s Aloft” is a model of reading beyond the taunts of snarky journalistic criticism and inept canonical comparisons. It is a bright and shining exemplar of deft critical excavation. One can only exclaim, Bravo!”
We in the Fordham English department can only echo Professor Baker: Bravo!
Congratulations to Fordham graduate student Jordan Windholz. He has been selected by Averill Curdy for the 2014 Vassar Miller Prize in poetry for his collection Other Psalms. His book will be published by University of North Texas press in Spring 2015.
Congratulations to Melissa Castillo-Garsow (GSAS, '11) who published her first novel Pure Bronx with Fordham University African and African American Studies Professor Mark Naison in November 2013. A short interview with Melissa follows below.
Pure Bronx is your first published novel. When writing Pure Bronx, did you have a general idea of where the story would take the reader, or did you work out the plot as it came to you?
When I first started writing Pure Bronx, I had no idea where the plot would go. In fact, the character I wrote, Rasheeda, came as a response to a first chapter written by Dr. Naison in the voice of the other main character Khalil. The idea to write a novel came out of a provocation by Dr. Naison while I was in a class he taught titled "Hip Hop Street Narratives." The class was to write our own version of street literature. At first I wasn't at all interested in either writing street literature or collaborating with the class, but then his first chapter peaked my interest. As an exercise, I wrote a second chapter, and he wrote back, and no one else joined in. After a few weeks we sat down and came up with a plot, but it was very organic. We really just followed the characters as we got more engrossed in their lives.
Pure Bronx was co-authored by Fordham University African and African American Studies Professor Mark Naison. What was the collaborative creative process for this novel like?
It was actually really straight forward and simple. He would write a chapter and I would respond with one. He wrote Khalil's voice and I wrote Rasheeda's. Every two weeks or so we would meet to discuss where the book was going, and about how the characters were developing. Collaboration was also easy because we're both insomniacs! I would write late into the night, and by the time I would wake up in the morning I would have more material from Dr. Naison or at least commentary on what he thought of my latest chapter!
What is your personal relationship to the Bronx, and what drew you to it as a source of inspiration?
I have lived in New York City since 2003 and grew up coming here several times a year (I grew up upstate), but I never really spent much time in the Bronx until I came to Fordham. So I got to know the Bronx, especially the south Bronx where the book is mostly set, as I got to know Rasheeda and the other characters in the book. The inspiration really came from soaking up my new environment. Luckily, Dr. Naison is a 40 year veteran of the Bronx so I was also guided and inspired by him.
What social issues does Pure Bronx aim to address, and how?
Pure Bronx addresses a lot of social issues - poverty, racism, wall street corruption, drug use, immigration, religious intolerance (towards muslims), the hyper-sexualization of women of color, etc. But the main thrust of the story is the tragedy of these two young, talented, bright people, Khalil and Rasheeda, and the limited options they face due to their family and home circumstances. In that way they reflect a larger story of social inequality, but also the tremendous talent that is being wasted in many inner city neighborhoods like the South Bronx.
Can you describe your research process for Pure Bronx?
I tried to inhabit the areas that Rasheeda would frequent as much as possible - the Mitchell Houses, local restaurants, etc. Rasheeda works in a strip club and that material actually came out of research for a short story I had written previously which included frequenting and talking to young women who worked in these establishments. I was also lucky to have access to materials from the Bronx African American History Project which Dr. Naison runs, a project with a wealth of materials including oral history.
What was your goal when you set out to write this novel (in both form and content), and did you see this goal accomplished in the text by the time the book was complete?
I wouldn't say I had a set goal. At first, I had no intention of even writing a novel. I was just following Rasheeda and responding to Dr. Naison's writing. So everything that has come out of this experience is completely unexpected and amazing!
More information on Pure Bronx can be found here.