New book by English Professor Michael Rothberg offers a new theory of political responsibility through the figure of the Implicated Subject

July 29, 2019

When it comes to historical violence and contemporary inequality, none of us are completely innocent. We may not be direct agents of harm, but we may still contribute to, inhabit, or benefit from regimes of domination that we neither set up nor control. Arguing that the familiar categories of victim, perpetrator, and bystander do not adequately account for our connection to injustices past and present, Michael Rothberg offers a new theory of political responsibility through the figure of the implicated subject. The Implicated Subject builds on the comparative, transnational framework of Rothberg’s influential work on memory to engage in reflection and analysis of cultural texts, archives, and activist movements from such contested zones as transitional South Africa, contemporary Israel/Palestine, post-Holocaust Europe, and a transatlantic realm marked by the afterlives of slavery. As these diverse sites of inquiry indicate, the processes and histories illuminated by implicated subjectivity are legion in our interconnected world. An array of globally prominent artists, writers, and thinkers—from William Kentridge, Hito Steyerl, and Jamaica Kincaid, to Hannah Arendt, Primo Levi, Judith Butler, and the Combahee River Collective—speak to this interconnection and show how confronting our own implication in difficult histories can lead to new forms of internationalism and long- distance solidarity. Read more from Professor Rothberg on his forthcoming book on the Stanford Press Blog.

Read more.

Ali Behdad, John Charles Hillis Professor of Literature in English, receives Mellon Foundation Grant

July 17, 2019
Reframing how Middle Eastern Studies are taught

UCLA International Institute
July 17, 2019 Mellon Foundation Gives Grant to Support UCLA Pilot Project
Reframing How Middle Eastern Studies Are Taught
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a two-year grant of $350,000 to UCLA to support a pilot project seeking to reframe how Middle Eastern studies are conceptualized and taught. The grant will fund workshops, faculty-graduate student research groups and a major conference to inform the development of new curricula and teaching models on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region that can be shared with other universities, community colleges, high schools and the general public.

Read more.

Professor Emeritus Frederick Burwick’s A History of Romantic Literature

July 9, 2019

From the Publisher (WILEY Blackwell): Historical narrative offers introduction to romanticism by placing key figures in overall social context Going beyond the general literary survey, A History of Romantic Literature examines the literatures of sensibility and intensity as well as the aesthetic dimensions of horror and terror, sublimity and ecstasy, by providing a richly integrated account of shared themes, interests, innovations, rivalries and disputes among the writers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Read more.

Robert Watson publishes two new books

June 27, 2019

Congratulations to Robert Watson on the publication of two new books. His most recent monograph, Cultural Evolution and Its Discontents: Cognitive Overload, Parasitic Cultures, and the Humanistic Cure came out with Routledge.  Taking stock of the concern that nonhuman agents–computers, robots, interstellar aliens, even Satan himself–may seize control of our world and destroy what’s uniquely valuable about the human race, Cultural Evolution and its Discontents shows that our cultural systems – especially those whose last names are “ism” – are already doing that, and doing it so adeptly that we seldom even notice.

Read more.

Elizabeth DeLoughrey publishes new book “Allegories of the Anthropocene”

June 19, 2019

Congratulations to Elizabeth DeLoughrey on the publication of her new monograph, Allegories of the Anthropocene (Duke University Press, 2019). The book traces how indigenous and postcolonial peoples in the Caribbean and Pacific Islands grapple with the enormity of colonialism and anthropogenic climate change through art, poetry, and literature. In these works, authors and artists use allegory as a means to understand the multiscalar complexities of the Anthropocene and to critique the violence of capitalism, militarism, and the postcolonial state.

Read more.

Dear UCLA English Majors

June 16, 2019
A Note to our Graduating Class

Dear UCLA English Majors, You’ve done it.  You’re graduating and you’ve earned every honor and experience you’ve achieved at UCLA — many many congratulations!  I hope you stay in touch with the friends you made here, and you should know that you’re always welcome to drop in at the department.  Your professors and advisors, and particularly Janel Munguia and Stephanie Bundy, would love to hear from you as you open into the next adventure.  All the best wishes and good luck in the world to you, graduating class of 2019!  Chris Chism Vice Chair of Undergraduate Studies

Read more.

Radical Optimism: Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself Marathon Reading at UCLA Centennial Kickoff

May 18, 2019
A celebration of Walt Whitman's 200th birthday alongside UCLA's centennial

Amber West, a lecturer for UCLA Writing Programs, is the event organizer. In an article in the Daily Bruin, Amber shared that she hopes the marathon reading will be “…the embodiment of the spirit of (Whitman’s) work. He was so ahead of his time, not only stylistically, but in terms of content.” West said these events are meant to highlight Whitman’s legacy and idea of radical optimism, which is often misunderstood. The term “radical” is typically used as a political put-down, but the definition refers to the fundamental nature of something – the root of a given issue or concept, West said. Optimism is the sense of what is good and possible in all people, so Whitman’s concept is ultimately about organic connection between human beings, she said. “When I think about UCLA, … when we are at our best … we are embodying that same kind of radical optimism,” West said. “He was always about those connections and the power of art and expression to help embody that.”

Read more.

Dickens in South LA: UCLA Graduate Student Explores Riot Narratives in High School Class

May 14, 2019
English graduate student Jacqueline Barrios connects Dickens and South LA

In “Barnaby Rudge” Charles Dickens depicts the 1780 anti-catholic riots, described by historian Linda Colley as the “largest, deadliest and most protracted urban riots in British history.” Jacqueline Barrios, a graduate student in the English department, uses the novel to shed light on and explore the impact of  the Los Angeles riots of 1992 with high school students from south LA in her class at the James A. Foshay Learning Center.

Read more.

Professor Arvind Thomas publishes new book, “Piers Plowman and the Reinvention of Church Law in the Late Middle Ages”

April 23, 2019

Professor Arvind Thomas’s book, Piers Plowman and the Reinvention of Church Law in the Late Middle Ages, has been published with University of Toronto Press. It is a medieval truism that the poet meddles with words, the lawyer with the world. But are the poet’s words and the lawyer’s world really so far apart? To what extent does the art of making poems share in the craft of making laws, and vice versa? Framed by such questions, Piers Plowman and the Reinvention of Church Law in the Late Middle Ages examines the mutually productive interaction between literary and legal “makyngs” in England’s great Middle English poem by William Langland.

Read more.