Archive of Past Events
Thursday, November 12, 2020
Poetry, Translation, and the Circulation of Global Modernism: A Roundtable and ReadingModerated by Alys Moody and Stephen Ross
with Emily Drumsta, Klara Du Plessis, Ariel Resnikoff, and Sho Sugita
Online Event 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm EST/GMT-5
To receive the Zoom invitation for this event, please email [email protected]. Invitations will be sent out on the morning of the event.
Global modernism exists only in translation. Its condition of possibility is the circulation of texts through time and space, across languages and in languages that are not the texts’ own. Historically speaking, the texts we think of as modernist are, almost without exception, the products of lively eras of translation in an expanded sense that reaches beyond the strict remit of textual translation between languages. In order to have global modernism, then, there must be translation and, necessarily, its distortions. Global modernism, by foregrounding this established problematic of translation in the context of an awareness of the unevenness of global exchange, highlights the centrality of language politics to modernist literary creation.
The study of global modernism, too, relies on active and continuous translation efforts. Contemporary translators, many of them themselves practicing poets or writers, are increasingly making available modernisms from around the world. In doing so, they underscore the extent to which modernists so often regarded translation as a primary creative act rather than secondary or derivative one.
This roundtable and reading features the work of four scholars and translators of modernist poetry who contributed original translations to the anthology Global Modernists on Modernism (Bloomsbury, 2020) and whose efforts shine illuminating cross-lights on the modernist labour of translation. As several of our participants are also practicing multilingual poets, the event will offer an occasion to listen to and reflect on the contemporary legacies of modernist poetics.
This conversation, held under the shared auspices of the Literature Program at Bard College and Concordia University’s Centre for Expanded Poetics, is the second in a three-part series exploring global modernism, in celebration of the anthology. It was preceded by a roundtable on “Editing Global Modernism,” held on October 23, and will be followed by a workshop on pedagogy and global modernism on Friday, December 4, 1:30–4:30pm EST.
Emily Drumsta is an assistant professor of comparative literature at Brown University, where she works on modern Arabic and Francophone literatures. Her translation, Revolt Against the Sun: A Bilingual Reader of Nazik al-Mala'ika's Poetry was awarded a PEN/Heim Grant in 2018 and is forthcoming with Saqi Books in January 2021. She is a cofounder of Tahrir Documents, an online archive of newspapers, broadsides, pamphlets, and other ephemera collected in Cairo’s Tahrir Square during the 2011 Egyptian uprisings. Her translations have been published in McSweeney's, Asymptote, Jadaliyya, Circumference, and the Trinity Journal of Literary Translation. Emily contributed translations of Nazik al-Mala’ika’s critical writing to the anthology’s section on Modernism in the Arab World.
Klara Du Plessis is a second-year, FRQSC-funded PhD student in English literature at Concordia University, focusing on contemporary, Canadian poetry and the curation of literary events. As part of her dissertation preparation, she is pursuing a practical, experimental research creation component called Deep Curation, which approaches the organization of literary events as directed by the curator and places poets’ work in deliberate dialogue with each another, heightening the curator’s agency toward the poetic product; to date, she has curated eight such poetry readings, most recently with Sawako Nakayasu, Lee Ann Brown, and Fanny Howe at Boston University, in January 2020. Klara is also deeply involved with SpokenWeb, acting both as a researcher and as the student representative of its governing board; SpokenWeb is a SSHRC-funded, multi-institutional research project, founded at Concordia, that digitizes and archives poetry readings from the past seventy years in North America. Parallel to her scholarly activities, Klara is a poet and critic, active in both the Canadian and South African literary scenes. Her writing is informed by a multilingual poetics grounded in a fluently bilingual identity in English and Afrikaans, and a curiosity about languages generally. Her debut multilingual collection of essay-like long poems, Ekke, won the 2019 Pat Lowther Memorial Award for a book of poetry published by a woman in Canada, and was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award for a debut collection. Her second English collection, Hell Light Flesh, was published by Palimpsest Press in September 2020, and her first Afrikaans book, ver taal, is currently under consideration for publication in South Africa. Her chapbook, Wax Lyrical, was shortlisted for the 2016 bpNichol Chapbook Award, and she has appeared at festivals, readings, residencies, and conferences in Canada, South Africa, the United States, and elsewhere.
Ariel Resnikoff is the author of Unnatural Bird Migrator (Operating System, 2020) and the chapbooks Ten-Four: Poems, Translations, Variations (Operating System, 2015), with Jerome Rothenberg, and Between Shades (Materialist Press, 2014). His writing has been translated into Russian, French, Spanish, German, and Hebrew, and has appeared or is forthcoming in Golden Handcuffs Review, Full Stop Quarterly, Protocols, The Wolf Magazine for Poetry, Schreibheft, Zeitschrift für Literatur and Boundary2. With Stephen Ross, he is at work on the first critical bilingual edition of Mikhl Likht’s modernist Yiddish long poem, Processions, and with Lilach Lachman and Gabriel Levin, he is translating into English the collected writings of the translingual Hebrew poet Avot Yeshurun. Ariel is a reviews editor at Jacket2 and a founding editor of the journal and print-archive Supplement, copublished by the Materialist Press, Kelly Writers House, and the Creative Writing Program at the University of Pennsylvania. He has taught courses on multilingual diasporic literatures at the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing (UPenn) and at BINA: The Jewish Movement for Social Change. In 2019, he completed his PhD in comparative literature and literary theory at the University of Pennsylvania, and and he is currently a Fulbright Postdoctoral US Scholar. Ariel lives on Alameda Island in the San Francisco Bay Area with his partner, the artist and designer Riv Weinstock, and their baby, Zamir Shalom.
Sho Sugita writes and translates poetry in Matsumoto, Japan. His translation of Hirato Renkichi’s Spiral Staircase: Collected Poems (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2017) is the first book of Japanese Futurist poetry to appear in English. He is currently working on translating Japanese Dada/anarchist poetry by Hagiwara Kyojiro.
Alys Moody is assistant professor of literature at Bard College. She is the author of The Art of Hunger: Aesthetic Autonomy and the Afterlives of Modernism (OUP, 2018) and is currently working on a second book, provisionally entitled The Literature of World Hunger: Poverty, Global Modernism, and the Emergence of a World Literary System. She is one of the general editors of Global Modernists on Modernism (Bloomsbury, 2020), and section editor or coeditor of the sections on modernism in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, the Arab world, Japan, and the South Pacific.
Stephen J. Ross is assistant professor of English at Concordia University. He is the author of Invisible Terrain: John Ashbery and the Aesthetics of Nature (OUP, 2017). He is one of the general editors of Global Modernists on Modernism (Bloomsbury, 2020), and was section editor or coeditor of the sections on modernism in the Caribbean, the Arab world, and greater China.
Friday, October 30, 2020
Online Event 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm EDT/GMT-4
Towards Communal Media: A Conversation with Yazan Khalili
Join via Zoom:
Yazan Khalili will talk about “the total work of the cultural institution,” a concept developed during his time at Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre, asking how we can practice critique through the structures of the cultural production. He will also discuss Radio Alhara, the online communal radio that was established in Palestine at the beginning of the lockdown, and functions as an open platform for sharing sound in all its formats. He will think with us about communal media and collective practices, how to establish cultural structures, and infiltrate others.
Yazan Khalili lives and works in and out of Palestine. He is an architect, artist, and cultural producer. His works have been exhibited in several major exhibitions, including KW (Berlin, 2020), MoCA (Toronto, 2020), New Photography (MoMA, 2018), and Shanghai Biennial (2016). Khalili was the director of Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre between 2015 and 2019. He is one of the founders of Radio Alhara, Palestine. Currently, he is the cochair of the photography division of the MFA program at Bard College, a PhD candidate at Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam, and a guest researcher at the Rijksakademie.
Read more by Yazan Khalili in English here: http://www.makhzin.org/issues/dictationship/the-total-work-of-the-cultural-institutionhttps://a-desk.org/en/magazine/the-institution-as-an-ideology/and in Arabic here: https://www.palestine-studies.org/ar/node/1650271#.Xv8VP7S8IbE.facebook
This event is cosponsored by the Human Rights Project.
Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/89352702820?pwd=czdSa0M4bDRFSWo0K243d0pRd3VaUT09Meeting ID: 893 5270 2820Passcode: Db8Q96
Friday, October 23, 2020
Editing Global Modernism: A Roundtablewith Alys Moody, Harsha Ram, Stephen J. Ross,
Kaitlin Staudt, and Camilla Sutherland
Online Event 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm EDT/GMT-4
Modernist studies has been transformed in recent years by the claim that modernism is a global phenomenon. Alongside work linking British, Irish, North American, and European modernists to the rest of the world, we have seen controversial claims for modernism’s flourishing in non-Western locations, from Japan to Africa, from Turkey to the Caucasus, and from South-East Asia to Latin America. This uncoupling of modernism from a strictly Western teleology remains under-theorised, and under-sourced. How do we study modernism on a global scale? What implications for modernist scholarship does this disciplinary transformation bring, especially in relation to collaborative work? And what new ways of seeing and understanding modernism arise from adopting a global perspective?
This roundtable showcases the methods and findings of Global Modernists on Modernism (Bloomsbury, 2020), a new anthology of source texts for global modernism. The book gathers texts by practitioners (writers, artists, critics, etc.) that reflect on the theory and practice of modernism around the world. In addition to celebrating (belatedly!) the publication of this volume last January, we will be discussing the collaborative nature of global modernist research and our “inductive” method of assembling and theorizing the anthology’s texts.
The roundtable brings together five editors of the anthology: experts in Russian and Georgian modernism (Harsha Ram), Turkish modernism (Kaitlin Staudt), and Latin American modernism (Camilla Sutherland) with the volume’s general editors, who will speak to modernism in sub-Saharan Africa (Alys Moody), and the Ashkenazi Jewish diaspora (Stephen Ross). We will discuss how global modernism troubles existing assumptions of modernist studies, and what the project of translating, editing, and circulating primary sources can contribute to this conversation. Following short position statements by each speaker, the roundtable will focus on discussion among presenters and with audience members.
This conversation, held under the shared auspices of the Literature Program at Bard College and Concordia University’s Centre for Expanded Poetics, is the first of a three-part series exploring global modernism, in celebration of the anthology. It will be followed by a discussion with poet-translators associated with the anthology on Thursday, 12 November, 6-7:30pm EST; and a workshop on pedagogy and global modernism on Friday, 4 December, 1:30-4:30pm EST.
To receive the Zoom invitation for this event, please email [email protected] Invitations will be sent out on the morning of the event.
Speakers Alys Moody is Assistant Professor of Literature at Bard College. She is the author of The Art of Hunger: Aesthetic Autonomy and the Afterlives of Modernism (OUP, 2018) and is currently working on a second book, provisionally entitled, The Literature of World Hunger: Poverty, Global Modernism, and the Emergence of a World Literary System. She is one of the general editors of Global Modernists on Modernism, and section editor or co-editor of the sections on modernism in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, the Arab world, Japan, and the South Pacific. Harsha Ram is an Associate Professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at UC Berkeley. He is the author of The Imperial Sublime: A Russian Poetics of Empire, and is currently completing his second book, The Scale of Culture: City, Nation, Empire and the Russian-Georgian Encounter. Harsha edited the section on modernism in the Caucasus. Stephen J. Ross is Assistant Professor of English at Concordia University. He is the author of Invisible Terrain: John Ashbery and the Aesthetics of Nature (OUP, 2017). He is one of the general editors of the anthology, and was section editor or co-editor of the sections on modernism in the Caribbean, the Arab world, and greater China. Kaitlin Staudt is a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at the University of Auburn. She has published article in venues such as Feminist Modernist Studies and Middle Eastern Literatures, and is currently completing her first monograph, Move Forward and Ascend!: Temporality and The Politics of Form in the Turkish Modernist Novel and editing a cluster of essays on “Global Modernism’s Other Empires.” She edited the Turkish modernism section of this anthology. Camilla Sutherland is Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies at the University of Groningen, Netherlands. She is a contributor to the forthcoming Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Global Modernist Magazines and is currently working on a monograph entitled The Space of Latin American Women Modernists. Camilla edited the Latin American section of this anthology.
Friday, October 16, 2020
Online Event 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm EDT/GMT-4
Mapping Historical Cairo: Online Workshop with Shehab Ismail
This workshop is designed to introduce Al-Madaq and provide a walk-through of the platform’s capabilities. Al-Madaq is a digital history website that presents historical research to a broad audience and features an open access cartographic archive containing some of Cairo’s most significant historical maps, from the French Expedition (1798–1801) to the year 1920. The workshop will 1) introduce the research questions and the motivations behind the project, 2) go over the digital map collection and the control tools, and 3) discuss the use of maps as sources for historical research.
Workshop attendance is limited to 15 students. Registration via email is required ([email protected]) by Sunday, October 11. Students should familiarize themselves with the website beforehand. https://www.almadaq.net/en/
Shehab Fakhry Ismail is a historian of the modern Middle East who specializes in the history of technology and urban history. His research examines engineering sanitary infrastructures in Cairo during the British colonial period (1882–1922). In March 20202, he launched the digital history project Al-Madaq: A Virtual Tour of Cairo’s History. He is currently a postdoctoral scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Berlin, Germany).
This event is cosponsored by the Historical Studies and EUS programs and the Human Rights Project.
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
I Will Give Thee the Opening of the MouthA Streaming Lecture-Workshop with Victoria Hanna
Online Event 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm EDT/GMT-4
The Jerusalem-based, international voice artist Victoria Hanna will discuss the physical and sensual explorations that she has been pursuing in her art. This is a living exploration, anchored in the human voice, its location in the body, and its relation to speech. Building on ancient Kabbalistic traditions that see language, the voice, and the mouth as tools of creating worlds, Victoria will reveal the Hebrew alphabet as an instrument for playing with the mouth. By thinking with foundational Kabbalistic texts, such as the Book of Creation (Sefer Yetzirah) and the writings of Abraham Abulafia, we will come to understand how the letters have been, and can be, used for daily work with speech and the body.
Join Zoom Meeting: Meeting ID: 890 3136 4380 / Passcode: 531991
Thursday, April 2, 2020
Eating Histories: Interactive Dinner WorkshopManor House Dining Room 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm EDT/GMT-4
Please join Experimental Humanities Food Lab and the Human Rights Program for an interactive dinner workshop with Viven Sansour, a Palestinian writer and conservationist dedicated to preserving seed heritage and bringing it to the table in order to “eat our history rather than store it away as a relic of the past.” Sansour uses images, sketches, film, seeds, and soil to tell old stories with a contemporary twist.
RSVPs required. Free for students; $10 for faculty and staff.
Thursday, April 2, 2020
Eating Histories: Seeds, Heritage, Archives, RightsManor House Dining Room 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm EDT/GMT-4
Please join Experimental Humanities, Food Lab, and the Human Rights Program for a free lecture and panel discussion between Vivien Sansour, founder of the Palestine Heirloom Seed Library and the Traveling Kitchen, and Ken Greene, founder of the Hudson Valley Seed Company and Seedshed, a local nonprofit dedicated to seed stewardship literacy that promotes social justice solutions.
Free lecture, 4:00–5:30 pm.
Ticketed dinner workshop, 6:00–8:00 pm.
Monday, March 16, 2020
CANCELED: Beauty of the Houri: Pure Female Companions of Islamic Paradise as Rhetorical SymbolsDr. Nerina Rustomji, St. John's University
Olin, Room 102 5:00 pm – 6:15 pm EDT/GMT-4
THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED.
This talk addresses the functions of the pure female companions of Islamic paradise, or houris, by presenting how the houri was understood from the seventh to the 21st century in Arabic, French, and English texts. The houri offered a feminine standard of spiritual purity that was articulated and employed through the centuries. Yet, this feminine figure of perfection has been used as a rhetorical symbol for different political ends—for violence, ethics, and gender parity. The talk considers how the ambiguity of the houri leads to these vastly differing interpretations with implications for the promise of scriptural interpretation in Muslim societies.
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
CANCELED Debating Abstraction in Cold War BeirutSarah Rogers, Middlebury College
Olin, Room 102 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm EDT/GMT-4
At the 1964 Salon d'Automne, held at Beirut's Sursock Museum, Paris-based Lebanese artist Shafic Abboud (1926-2004) received first prize for his abstract painting, Child's Play. The result was a fraught debate in the Lebanese press over the public's ability to understand modern abstract art and, in turn, abstraction's relevance towards defining a national Lebanese art. This talk considers 1964 as a key year in which several of Lebanon's leading artists expressed a dedication to abstraction as a truly modern language. Focusing on a series of exhibitions, manifestos, and critical press reviews, the talk examines the fiercely debated universalist assumptions of abstraction within the competing ideologies and political alliances of the Cold War and growing concerns over Lebanese nationalism.
Sarah Rogers is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Dept of History of Art and Architecture at Middlebury College and a founding board member and president-elect of AMCA: Association for Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey. She is co-editor of Arab Art Histories: Art from the Khalid Shoman Collection (2013) and co-editor of Modern Art in the Arab World: Primary Documents (2018). Her current manuscript, Drawing Alliances: Modern Art in Cold War Beirut examines the entangled histories of modern art and international politics in Beirut during the decades of the 1950s and 60s.
Friday, March 6, 2020
Poetry / Infrastructure / Climate Change: Ecologies of War and Energy in the Middle EastPlease join us for a roundtable featuring anthropologists Bridget Guarasci (Franklin and Marshall College) and Gökçe Günel (Rice University), moderated by Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins.
Short presentations by Professors Guarasci and Günel will be followed by discussion with the audience.
Olin, Room 102 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm EST/GMT-5
Drawing on her ethnographic book project on the Iraqi-exile led, U.S. supported project to restore Iraq’s marshes, Professor Guarasci's paper will think about Iraq's marshes with Muzaffar al-Nawab, one of Iraq’s most beloved revolutionary poets. In the mid-twentieth century al-Nawab lived in the southern marshes of Iraq where he conducted educational outreach for a faction of the communist party. Al-Nawab’s poems feature meditations on nature, particularly on Iraq’s wetlands expanse and riverine ecology, its genealogical connection to civilizations past, and the relationship of this swampy environs to political movements in Iraq. Al-Nawab is sometimes called a “guerrilla” poet: his poems critique the corruption of authoritarian regimes and were banned in almost every Arab country. Her paper will show how his work insists on the connection between nature and revolution. In 2016 UNESCO declared Iraq’s marshes a World Heritage Site. Once drained by Saddam Hussein, Iraqi exiles in partnership with the US government subsequently re-flooded and conserved the marshes during the occupation. She will argue that twenty-first century environmental reformers insist on the apolitical nature of their work. Al-Nawab helps us see otherwise.
Drawing on her recently published book Spaceship in the Desert: Energy, Climate Change, and Urban Design in Abu Dhabi (Duke University Press, 2019), Professor Günel's paper will discuss how, in 2006 Abu Dhabi launched an ambitious project to construct the world’s first zero-carbon city: Masdar City. In Spaceship in the Desert Gökçe Günel examines the development and construction of Masdar City's renewable energy and clean technology infrastructures, providing an illuminating portrait of an international group of engineers, designers, and students who attempted to build a post-oil future in Abu Dhabi. While many of Masdar's initiatives—such as developing a new energy currency and a driverless rapid transit network—have stalled or not met expectations, Günel analyzes how these initiatives contributed to rendering the future a thinly disguised version of the fossil-fueled present. Spaceship in the Desert tells the story of Masdar, at once a “utopia” sponsored by the Emirati government, and a well-resourced company involving different actors who participated in the project, each with their own agendas and desires.
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Communities of Obligation: The Political Economy of Ottoman and French Occupation in EgyptZoe Griffith, Baruch College (CUNY)
Olin, Room 102 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm EST/GMT-5
The French invasion and occupation of the Ottoman province of Egypt from 1798 to 1801 is an oft-cited (if misplaced) turning point in the history of the modern Middle East. But just over a decade earlier, another, lesser-known military campaign in Egypt made Napoleon’s invasion possible and thinkable. From 1786 to 1787, the Ottoman central government itself launched a campaign of imperial “reconquest” in Egypt, whose military ruling caste had posed serious challenges to Ottoman sovereignty. These two occupations are rarely discussed in tandem, despite important commonalities. Both occupying powers justified their actions in the language of benevolent “regime change” for the proclaimed benefit of peasants, merchants, and religious scholars. Both the Ottomans and the French used these justifications to extort wealth from Egyptian commercial networks in order to finance the country’s “liberation.” Attention to the networks of debt and obligation incurred during both of these campaigns brings otherwise invisible actors and social categories into the grand narratives of Mediterranean geopolitics and Egypt’s “encounter” with European modernity at the end of the 18th century.