Event

Professor Hendler to Give Inaugural Lecture

You are invited to a fantastic Inaugural Lecture on September 18th at 4 pm: Glenn Hendler on the feline and fabulous David Bowie. The Inaugural Lecture is the only time that the English Department gathers together for an event. For more information, see below.

Please RSVP to Carole at calvino3@fordham.edu by Wednesday, September 11, so we can get a proper head count for the reception to follow.

Please make every effort to attend!

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Standing Room Only for Professor Greenfield

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From The West Side Spirit (with contributions from Bethany Sattur):

On April 24 in Morningside Heights near the Columbia campus, the second floor of Book Culture was packed with a standing-room only audience there for a unique book reading. One by one, four formerly homeless people featured in Sacred Shelter: Thirteen Journeys of Homeless and Healing, edited by Susan Celia Greenfield, read selections from their life stories. Edna Humphrey, Heidi Nissen, Lisa Sperber and Sophia Worrell shared traumas from their youth, the devastation of homelessness, and the healing they discovered through community and faith. The audience was riveted; people gasped and some cried.

All the readers are graduates of an interfaith life skills empowerment program, founded in 1989 by George Horton of New York Catholic Charities and Marc Greenberg of the Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing. The evening’s speakers also included Dawn Ravella, director of a life skills program for the Reformed Church of Bronxville, and Ira Ben-Wiseman, a program mentor. Said Marc Greenberg, executive director of the Interfaith Assembly: “Homelessness does not need to exist in our society.”

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“While Sacred Shelter does not tackle the socioeconomic conditions and inequities that cause homelessness, it provides a voice for a demographic group that continues to suffer from systemic injustice and marginalization. In powerful, narrative form, it expresses the resilience of individuals who have experienced homelessness and the hope and community they have found. By listening to their stories, we are urged to confront our own woundedness and uncover our desire for human connection, a sacred shelter on the other side of suffering.”

Congratulations to Professor Greenfield on this remarkable achievement. Sacred Shelter is available wherever you buy books. For more information, and to purchase a copy, click here:

Book Culture.

Master Class on the Queer Middle Ages and Research for Social Justice 

On Thursday, April 11th, Professor Steven Kruger spoke to Fordham undergraduate and graduate students about his early career and research in medieval literature.  Dr. Kruger, visiting from CUNY Graduate Center, Queen’s College, New York, discussed his development as a scholar and his approach to writing.  Importantly, he addressed the significance of historical research that contributes meaningfully to present-day cultural issues.

The Master Class was inspired by undergraduate coursework done by this year’s Freshmen Honors cohort in the English Department. Upon reading Kruger’s article, “Claiming the Pardoner,” written in 1994, students wondered how Kruger might add to his views on Geoffrey Chaucer’s enigmatic character 25 years later.

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Dr. Kruger specializes in gender, sexuality, feminist and queer theory, and medieval literature.  Dr. Kruger's publications include many articles on these topics, as well as book-length studies including AIDS Narratives: Gender and Sexuality, Fiction and Science; Queering the Middle Ages (co-ed. with Glenn Burger); and The Spectral Jew: Conversion and Embodiment in Medieval Europe.

We are grateful for the support of Fordham University Center for Medieval Studies, the Department of English, and graduate student David Smigen-Rothkopf whose gorgeous flier artwork is featured here.

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Students Build a Play with the Pros

On Friday, April 5, theater director Noah Himmelstein joined the students of Prof. Andrew Albin’s ENGL/THEA 4151: Performing Medieval Drama for a workshop on movement, devising, and stagecraft, to help them prepare their upcoming performance of the medieval morality play, Wisdom. Students explored the relationship between allegorical character and physical gesture, building up a bodily vocabulary for a climactic dance-off that tumbles into chaos at the center of the play. 

Katie Kudcey, Peri Rohl, Alesha Kilayko, Noah Himmelstein, and Charles Laboy (L-R) take a selfie after a medieval drama workshop and conversation.

Katie Kudcey, Peri Rohl, Alesha Kilayko, Noah Himmelstein, and Charles Laboy (L-R) take a selfie after a medieval drama workshop and conversation.

Afterward, students had the chance to talk informally with Himmelstein about his work and career. “He was very honest,” said Katie Kudcey (Music ’19), who plays Lucifer in Wisdom. “We would ask him a question and he wouldn’t beat around the bush.” Peri Rohl (English ’20), playing Anima, agreed: “‘[Theater] is something you do, it’s not who you are,’ he told us, and both our worlds kind of exploded!” 

Himmelstein’s emphasis on improvisation and intuition left a strong impression. “Connecting your physical actions to your character is really important for medieval work, where intention and motivation matter less,” said Savanah Manos (English ’20), who plays the role of Will. Rohl agreed, adding, “We can play around with our characters, play around with the scene, be spontaneous, and we’ll still get good results.”

Wisdom will be performed on Saturday, April 27 at 10:30am, at the entrance to FCLC’s Lowenstein Building on the corner of 60th and 9th. All are invited to come see this inventive, dynamic, and very funny medieval play come to life on the streets of New York! For more information, check out the Fordham Medieval Dramatists’ Facebook page and website.

Kindred: A Summit for Students & Faculty of Color

On April 15th, the English department, Kundiman, and the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer co-sponsored Kindred: A Summit for Students & Faculty of Color at Fordham. The distinguished speaker for the night was Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and a leading voice for the human rights of undocumented immigrants. The event also featured readings from Ama Codjoe, a poet from Cave Canem, a home for Black poetry, and professor of social justice and inclusion at The New School, and Deborah Paredez, co-founder of CantoMundo, a nonprofit for Latinx literature.

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 The event created a space for students to meet and hear from POC clubs and organizations, as well as to discuss goals for increasing the visibility of POC communities at Fordham.

Vargas, author of Dear America: Notes of An Undocumented Citizen, spoke on the history of immigration and assimilation in the United States, the presence of immigrants in our families and nation, and his own status as undocumented. He also addressed his experiences as a person of color outside of the dominant black/white paradigm in the United States.

5th Annual Golden Gloves Literary Competition & Fair

On December 7, the annual Golden Gloves Literary Competition and Fair took place at the Lincoln Center campus. Creative writing classes across Fordham presented their work to compete for three prizes: Ram d’Or (Best in Show), Best Experiment, and the Audience Award. This year, the presentations were judged by Gina Apostol, winner of the PEN Open Book Award for her novel Gun Dealer’s Daughter, and recipient of the Philippine National Book Award.

Before the event, attendants enjoyed a pizza dinner and had the opportunity to attend a campus Literary Fair, which featured the publications Bricolage, The Ampersand, The Comma, and MODE Magazine. Staff members in these groups fielded questions from students interested in writing for publication.

The competition itself featured ten different creative writing classes: Performance Criticism, Poetry - What Good is It?, Essay is a Verb, The Stuff of Fiction, Poetry of Witness, The Good Life, First Flint, Writing the World, Writing for Teens in an Adult World, and The Outsiders: Reading and Writing Fiction about Outsiders, Outcasts, Exiles, and Rebels.

Taylor Shaw, FCRH ‘19, appreciated the diversity of voices and topics represented by the classes.

“Everyone brought something different to the table this year, and I really liked that the pieces covered a broad variety of topics,” said Shaw. “From hilarious parodies of guilty pleasure young adult novels to hard-hitting and chilling reflections on the Kavanaugh trial and its surrounding context, the different works kept us engaged and at the edge of our seats for the entire competition.”

Judge, Gina Apostol read a selection from her new novel, Insurrecto. She was followed by Writer in Residence Nyssa Chow, who presented her multimedia story on a hunger striker in Trinidad, as well as scenes from her Still.Life. Exhibition.

As a student in Chow’s Multimedia and Narrative Practice class, Shaw was grateful for the opportunity to hear, see, and be inspired by her professor’s work.

“As her student, it was really gratifying to get to see her brilliant work after such a wonderful semester,” said Shaw. “We had such a great opportunity to see the skills we’d learned in action.”

The Ram d’Or (Best In Show) award was given to Professor Nyssa Chow’s Essay is a Verb class for their poignant commentary on sexual abuse and feminism after the Kavanaugh trial. Best Experiment went to the students of Professor Sarah Gambito’s The Good Life, for their interpretation of a dialogue with the succulent plants they had nurtured over the course of the semester. Finally, Molly Horan’s class, Writing for Teens in an Adult World, took home the Audience Award for its rollicking tribute to the young adult fiction genre.

Though saddened that this would be her last Golden Gloves, senior Evgenia Mantika, FCLC ‘19, expressed her appreciation of how the event brought the creative writing community together.

“Golden Gloves reminds creative writing students of the incredible community they are a part of,” said Mantikas. “It is a chance for us to be inspired by our peers, whether it be by expressing our voices politically or by writing brilliant young adult fiction.”