Re-Imagining Space: Stony Brook English Graduate Student Conference

February 28, 2020

Conference Program

Registration and Breakfast 8:45-9:30

Poetry Center (HUM 2001)


Plenary Address 9:30-10:15

Poetry Center (HUM 2001)

Andrew Newman, Stony Brook University

“Allegory and Pedagogy: Teaching Dystopian Fiction in 2018”

Session One 10:30-11:50


Teaching Activism: Education and Literacy (HUM 2018)

Respondent: Patricia Dunn

Chair: Sara Santos

  • “A Hierarchy of Readers: Constructing the Feminist Self in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey,” Erica Oliver, Sam Houston State University
  • “A Black Feminist Approach to Teaching Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf,” Andrew Rimby, Stony Brook University
  • “Is all ‘Good Art’ Political? How ‘Middlebrow’ Fiction is Essential in the Evolution of Postcolonial Literature, from Social Commentary to Literary Activism,” Caitlin Cronin, University of Buckingham


Cultural Identity: Race, Place, and People (HUM 2052)

Respondent: Susan Scheckel

Chair: Sarah Davis

  • “Witnessing the Other’s Pain, Submerging in the Realm of Opacity: The Inversion of the Subject-Object Relations in J.M. Coetzee’s Foe (1986),” Bonnie Chung, Stony Brook University
  • “Black Boy: An Argument for Emotional Truth,” James Ferry, University of Rhode Island
  • “Where Village, Town, and City Blur: Along the Urban-Rural Continuum in Zora Neale Hurston’s Shorter Fiction,” Anushka Sen, Indiana University, Bloomington

Non-Fiction and Activism: Newspapers, Personal Narrative, and the Digital Age (HUM 2030)

Respondent: Andrew Newman

Chair: Jon Heggestad

  • “Ambitious Women, Anxious Men: Gender Poetics in New Jersey’s Newspaper Literature, 1789-1807,” Scott Zukowski, Stony Brook University
  • “The Promise of Freedom: David Wojnarowicz and the One-Tribe Nation,” K. Tyler Christensen, The George Washington University
  • “Where Digital Citizenship, Social Media, and Activism Converge,” Katherine Rockefeller, St. John’s University

Lunch 12-1

Session Two 1-2:20

Pop Politics: Culture and Activism (HUM 2030)

Respondent: Cynthia Davidson

Chair: Sarah Davis

  • “Getting Down with Going Down: Cunnilingus, Female Sexual Subjectivity, and the Refutation of Toxic Masculinity in Jonsa Game of Thrones fanfiction,” Jessica Hautsch, Stony Brook University
  • “You Know You That Bitch When You Cause All This Conversation: The Bodaciousness of Beyonce’s Feminism” Celinda Mendoza, Texas A&M International
  • “‘It’s a dog eat dog world’: (Sawyer) Family Values and the Monstrous Reagan Years in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 2,” Caitlin Duffy, Stony Brook University

Memory and Trauma: Personal and Collective Experience (HUM 2018)

Respondent: Celia Marshik

Chair: Meghan Buckley

  • “The Elephant in the Panels: A Serious House on Serious Earth and the History of our Trauma,” Justine Nicole Wilson, St. John’s University
  • “Black Womanhood and trauma in Morrison’s Beloved,” Xiomarra M. Gonzalez, Texas A&M International University
  • “The Revolution is Personal: Alice Walker’s Deconstruction of Identity Politics in Meridian,” Joe Heidenescher, University of Toledo

Religion and Activism: Paranoia, Prophecy, and Poetry (HUM 2094)

Respondent: Nicole Garret

Chair: Bernard Krumm

  • “A Puppet-Master, A Descending Angel: Paranoia and Religious Sentiment in Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49,” Lindsay DeWitt, Stony Brook University
  • “‘A Voice More than Human’: Prophetic Activism in Early Modern England,” Melanie L. Brown, New York University
  • “Phillis Wheatley’s America: Religion, Education, Slavery,” Megan Cahill-Assenza, Stony Brook University

Undergraduate Honors Panel (HUM 2052)


  • “Affective Spaces and Boundaries in The Babadook,” Ashley Barry
  • “Octavio Paz: Reimagining a Fallen Language,” Deanna Zarillo
  • 1984 in the Era of Political Turmoil and Blindness,” Justin Lerner
  • “‘Facing Something Ungraspable’:Teaching Lord of the Flies After the 2016 Election,” Nicholas Raffel

Session Three 2:30-3:50


Queer Activism: Past, Present, and Future (HUM 2030)

Respondent: Victoria Hesford

Chair: Andrew Rimby

  • “Heaven is a Place on Earth: Queer Temporality and Queer Futurity in ‘San Junipero’,” Tara Holmes, Stony Brook University
  • “‘We Taught You How to Dance’: Cultural Inheritance in Queer YA Literature,” Jon Heggestad, Stony Brook University
  • “Looking Backward to Look Forward: Vacillating Against Co-optation in Search of a Queer Resistance,” Mark Muster, Syracuse University

Dystopias and Diaspora: Reading, Remembering, and Totalitarian Regimes (HUM 2052)

Respondent: Justin Johnston

Chair: Sara Santos

  • “Access to Literacy in The Handmaid’s Tale,” Alexa Dicken, St. John’s University
  • “‘Transformative Memory’ in The Handmaid’s Tale and The Hunger Games,” Caterina Reed, Stony Brook University
  • “Objects, Emotions, and Neocolonialism in Persepolis,” Kay Sohini, Stony Brook University

Radicalism and Resistance in the 19th Century (HUM 2018)

Respondent: Peter Manning

Chair: Stephen Pallas

  • “The Impure Body and Shelley’s Anger,” Paul Spampanato, St. John’s University
  • “Resisting the Reification of Resistance: The Quotidian Defence of Aunt Marthy in Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” Mareesa Miles, Lehigh University

Keynote Address 4-5:30

Poetry Center (HUM 2001)

Professor Lisa Duggan, NYU

Up Against “The Wall”: Intersectional Organizing Against the Global Right

As right wing “populist” mobilizations across Europe and the Americas meet with electoral success, feminist and queer scholars and organizers are meeting the challenge of creating a fully intersectional analysis and opposition. The global right connects economic and cultural politics, and makes appeals based on class, race, nationality, religion, gender and sexuality in a horrific stew of fear and power mongering.  Any effective resistance must make the same connections.  This lecture outlines some of the scholarship and organizing designed to meet this challenge–bringing together the work of and about sex workers, migrants, the targets of brutal policing and incarceration, transgender advocates, indigenous environmental activists, domestic workers and so many others.  How can we develop analyses and strategies to confront the impact of neoliberal policies and right wing nationalist attacks?  What can we learn from our failures and frustrations as we confront the next decade? This is both an intellectual and political challenge we cannot avoid, if we don’t want to be Trumped.

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