Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Building La Tierra Mia! via Zoom SDSU!

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I would like to invite you, your students, and the greater community to a panel discussion this Saturday, April 17, from 2-4 p.m., held in conjunction with my CCS 380 course. This panel discussion will focus on the historical connections between SDSU and the Historic Chicano Park Takeover on April 22, 1970. This discussion will be an opportunity to highlight the new Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center and their future directions. Building La Tierra Mía will be marking the 51st anniversary of the Chicano Park Takeover and will lead into a week of virtual events in the community. Our panel discussion will feature Arturo Cásares, Roberto Hernández, Sonia López, César López, Victor Ochoa, Alberto Pulido, and Josie Talamántez. Please feel free to share widely.



Andrés E. Aguilar
Assistant Professor
Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies
San Diego State University

I respectfully acknowledge that we live and work 
on the 
traditional unceded land of the Kumeyaay/Kumiai nation.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Monday, March 8, 2021

2021 MALAS Cultural Studies Lecture Series #2: Featuring American Literature Star Susan Daitch!

update--if you missed the lecture, a recording is now available here:

MALAS 2021 CULTURAL STUDIES LECTURE SERIES Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 11am to 12:15pm Yesterday, Today, &...

Posted by MALAS, the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences at SDSU on Monday, March 8, 2021
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Monday, February 8, 2021

AGLSP is the International Mothership for MALAS and Dozens of Other Progressive Cultural and Interdisciplinary Studies Programs Across the Planet ... #aglsp

Thursday, January 21, 2021

How to be a Successful MALAS Graduate Student and MAYBE Have a Shot at a TAship!!!!

updated 1/22/21

How to be a Successful MALAS Graduate Student and MAYBE Have a Shot at a TAship!!!!

Ozzie Monge, MALAS alumni

Ah, the life of an interdisciplinary student!  We lucky MALASheads have the university as our intellectual smorgasbord, feeding our insatiable curiosities by sampling from the courses that are offered.  But this blessing might also be a bit of a curse for those who wish to pursue a future in teaching.  Arguably, having experience as a Graduate Teaching Assistant is a fine addition to any CV for those who wish to one day become a professor.  Traditionally, the Graduate TA works with undergraduates from the same discipline, and usually there is a “department” associated with that discipline.  MALAS does not have a corresponding undergraduate program where a MALAS head can TA, which raises the question:  what options are there for those of us MALAScriados who wish to gain teaching experience?

Fortunately, there are options out there.  For example, there are a few programs on campus which have the opposite problem, that is to say they lack a graduate component.  You can potentially befriend the faculty from that department and, over time, demonstrate your ability to be a capable TA.  This is a bit more difficult in that they would likely have to justify the creation of the TA position, not an impossible task but certainly not a very straightforward one.  Some departments to consider include: American Indian Studies, Africana Studies, Religious Studies, Chicana/o Studies, and Classics & Humanities.

Let me tell you about the path I chose to take…

There is a department on campus that has an ongoing need for graduate TA’s and accepts applications from across the disciplines (and you don’t get much more “across the disciplines” than MALAS):  The Rhetoric and Writing Studies Department!

Almost every incoming freshman is required to take a developmental writing course at SDSU.  That typically is RWS 100 one semester, followed by RWS 200 the next.  Many of these classes are taught by graduate student Teaching Assistants (TAs). The TAs are limited to a class size of 25.  When you consider the amount of incoming freshmen at SDSU in any given year (approximately 3,700), you’ll understand why there is a need for so many TAs to teach these required classes.  Each TA is assigned a class of no more than 25 students.

So, how do you become a TA?  There is an application process! But before we get to that…

There is also a required class, RWS 609, Theory and Practice of Teaching Composition, in which you must enroll before you will be offered TA contract.  You can enroll in this class during the same timeframe that you intend to apply for a TA position (for the next semester).  That is to say, you don’t have to take the class and wait until the following semester to apply – which would result in you waiting for nearly a whole year (although if that’s what you want to do, you can).  To clarify what I am saying, let me share the application deadlines from this year:

·      October 26 (to apply to teach in Spring)
·      March 01 (to apply to teach in Fall)

So it is completely possible for an incoming, first year MALAS student to take RWS 609 during their first fall semester, apply during that semester while still taking the course, and teach an RWS 100 class in the spring semester (assuming their application is accepted). 

Here’s the catch:  taking the class does not necessarily guarantee that you will be brought on as a TA, so it is a gamble in that you will have potentially “wasted” 3 units, and the money to pay for those 3 units.  Bear that in mind, but do not let it discourage you.

Also, there is a greater demand for RWS 100 TAs in the fall semester, than there are in the spring.  There are fewer RWS 100 classes offered in the spring, typically for those who had to take the non-credit bearing RWS 92A, and some of the TAs who have already been offered contracts may opt to teach two classes during their second semester.  Therefore, it may make more sense for an incoming MALAS student to take RWS 609 and apply during their spring semester, which is precisely what I did.

Now, back to the application process…

Once you have enrolled in RWS 609, the next step will be to prepare your application.  You will need to submit the following:
  • ·      An application form
  • ·      Transcripts
  • ·      Three current letters of recommendation that will be sent directly to the DRWS office.
  • ·      A statement of purpose
  • ·      A writing sample of about five pages of expository prose

The application form is straightforward.  You can download it from the DRWS web site. 

Transcripts are rather self-explanatory as well.  And, yes, they do include your undergraduate record. They do not require formal transcripts – a print out from the SDSU Web Portal was sufficient for their needs.  Fortunately (for me), the transcripts themselves do not appear to be a heavily weighted determining factor in the application process.  Let’s just say that my undergraduate performance a few decades back was less than ideal. However, my performance in graduate school, which is of course far more recent, had to be above the 3.0 threshold that they require of TAs.

I will say this about the letters of recommendation:  do not wait until the last minute to request them.  And if it is at all possible, seek them from professors on campus who have had an opportunity to get to know you and your writing abilities, and of course have a favorable view of both you and your skills.

Your statement of purpose relates why you want to teach RWS 100, not why you want to teach in general. I’ll say it again: this is about WHY you are so passionate about teaching the RWS 100 developmental writing class, and NOT about why you’d like to teach, in general.

The writing sample must be expository in nature. It cannot be that amazing sonnet you wrote nor an excerpt from the Great American Novel you’ve been working.  I would recommend that you use a paper that you wrote at SDSU for which you earned an A.  I also recommend that you request one of your letters of recommendation from the professor for who you wrote the paper.

Rather than continue to explain the process further, I will direct you again to the DRWS’s web page that explains their TA program.  The entire URL is:

If you do have any questions at all, or would like some assistance in preparing your application, I will happily make myself available to you.  Just get in touch with me via and we’ll go from there.  Good luck!

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

New MALAS Seminar, Spring 2021 || --> MALAS 600B.01 & WMNST 582: Feminist Science and Activism with Dr. Amanda Beardsley

Spring 2021 | MALAS 600B/WMNST 582

Feminist Science and Activism


Time: Mondays 7pm-9:40pm PST

Class Location: Online

Professor: Dr. Amanda Beardsley


In this course, we will consider the concepts of public engagement, citizen science, public participation, and science literacy through the lens of feminism. Though we will explore popular areas of Science and Technology Studies (STS) – including epidemiology, the environment, sex, gender, and technology – our primary focus will be on how activism has worked to complicate, revise, and expand these areas. We will ask questions such as: What role to institutions play in crafting knowledge and how has activism intervened? How have AIDS activism and the environmental justice movement opened new spaces for public engagement and public participation in science? How can we learn and share skills in critical science literacy to debunk the science of sex differences? If technology plays a significant role in mediating the body and defining identity, how might we change this to include all bodies? Through these examples, we will analyze the potential and challenges for creating a more just world through challenging and democratizing science and technology. 

BIO: Amanda Beardsley received her PhD in Art History at Binghamton University in 2019. Her dissertation, titled “Celestial Mechanics: Technologies of Salvation in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” composes a media history of the Latter-day Saint religion and investigates the relationship between aural technologies, sonic experience, feminism, and faith. She has taught at Brooklyn College, Binghamton University, the University of Utah, and Utah State University, and has published articles in Technology and Culture and Nineteenth Century Studies.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

New MALAS Seminar, Spring 2021: MALAS 600 C / Pol S 565 Nations and Nationalism with Professor Latha Varadarajan

MALAS 600 C / Pol S 565

Nations and Nationalism

Spring 2021, Tuesday – 4:00-6:40 

Zoom Link:

Professor Latha Varadarajan


Office Hours – Tuesday, Thursday: 12:30 – 1:30 

Purpose of the course: The history of the modern world can be framed – and indeed, has been framed by nationalist movements across borders – in terms of the political struggles embarked upon by nations as they have sought to take their place in global politics. In that sense, the events of the post-Cold War decades, far from being an anomaly, are seen as a natural progression of politics. If any anything, these events – be it, the creation of new nation-states that changed the political map of the world (post-Soviet States, former Yugoslavia, South Sudan), the emergence of new secessionist movements in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas (East Timor, Sudan, Bolivia), the intensification of older tensions (Quebec, Sri Lanka, Palestine, Scotland) – it is argued stand as testament to the enduring strength of nationalism as a defining factor in today’s world. This is after all, a world that is now seeing an upsurge of nationalism movements, even in states where the question has been treated as settled long ago – whether in Western Europe or North America.

To what extent is this rendering of global politics an accurate one? It is true that these movements, while very different in many ways, are held together by the fact that the demands (for greater political rights, for independence) have generally been couched in the language of nationalism, of representing the interests of a single, well-defined national community.  But, does that in and of itself lend credence to claims about the natural-ness of nationalism? What is it that has enabled certain groups to claim that they are a separate nation? Given the political fallout of such movements, should nationalism be treated as the root of political instability or the solution to it? How different is the contemporary wave of nationalism from ones that preceded it in the past two centuries? To answer these questions, what we need is a broader, historically contextualized understanding of the nature and politics of nationalism. This course is an attempt to fulfill such a need. 

Nationalism, it is generally accepted, emerged as an organizing political force at a specific historical moment, and under specific conditions. What these conditions were, how the idea of nationalism spread, and how we should it understand its various manifestations are all issues that have been the subject of intense debate among scholars as well as those actively involved in political struggles. While it is impossible to cover every aspect of these deliberations in one short semester, this course will serve as an introduction to some of the classic texts, while providing an opportunity to engage closely with the development of nationalism in specific contexts.

The course is divided into two parts. The first part focuses on the question of the origins and nature of nationalism by engaging with some of the most important theoretical debates about the subject. The readings include some of the classic treatises on the subject by both scholars of nationalism (such as Elie Kedourie, Ernest Gellner, and Benedict Anderson) and important historical figures who inspired and were engaged in actual political struggles (Mazzini, Herzl, Lenin, Luxemburg). Having addressed the theoretical debates, in the second section, we turn to the question of the development of nationalism in particular times and places. We will begin with analyses of nationalism in “Old” Europe (Britain and France), follow it up with anti-colonial nationalism (India) and conclude with a closer look at the “new” nationalisms of Europe (Yugoslavia). The purpose of this segment is three-fold: first, to engage seriously with the historical peculiarities of nationalist movements; second, to compare the nature and political consequences of nationalism as an idea through the modern era; and third, to use this broader view to weigh seriously on the question of the relevance and implications of nationalism for contemporary politics.

A note on the times we live in:

In these very surreal times, this class – normally designed to be an experience in a physical space, where we interact and engage with each other – will “meet” on Zoom. Given the world we are living in, choosing any other option would be extraordinarily irresponsible. However, it is important to note that this class, while using an online modality is not meant to a typical online class. 

In a rational world, online teaching would be a boon, with technology being used in a constructive way to make education accessible to the broadest possible group. Unfortunately, we are not yet in that world. As currently construed, much of online education seems to be neither about accessibility nor about education. Rather, the principal goal of the project appears to be “revenue generation,” albeit cloaked in the language of measurable “student learning outcomes” and “degree completion goals.” What gets lost in this drive is the importance of interactions based on close engagement with the readings, of dialogue over a period of time that creates both a sense of trust and respect amongst participants, which in turn leads to a development of critical faculties. 

During the course of this semester, our goal will be to recreate some of those elements to the best of our abilities given the online constraints. To begin with, all the lectures for the class will be live on Zoom. Please note that the lectures will not be recorded, and none of the participants are allowed to record the sessions in any way. You are expected to attend the class sessions, like you would have done in the old days. I understand that it is hard to remain attentive while on Zoom for over an hour. I would encourage you to keep your video on for this period, even just as way to keep your focus. During the course of the class session, you will have opportunities to meet your classmates in breakout rooms. While this is not the same as meeting them in a physical space, the idea is to get you to a point where you can feel comfortable expressing your opinions in the presence of a group of people who will not remain strangers. 

Robust, respectful classroom discussion will be the best antidote to “zoom-itis,” while ensuring that you comprehend the material being covered in class and are positioned to do well in the various assignments. If you have any concerns, do not hesitate to bring them to me.  

Required readings: A significant part of the course will focus on specific books. It is strongly recommended that you purchase the following books (a couple of them – Hockenos and Weber are available as e-books through the library)

  • Elie Kedourie, Nationalism (Wiley-Blackwell, Fourth edn., 1993)
  • Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (Revised edn., London: Verso, 1991)
  • Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983)
  • Eugen Weber, Peasants into Frenchmen, 1870-1914 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1976)
  • Paul Hockenos, Homeland Calling: Exile Patriotism and the Balkan Wars (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2003) 

Latha Varadarajan

Office: NH 124
Phone: (619) 594-3255

Latha Varadarajan joined the SDSU faculty after receiving a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Minnesota in January 2005. Her research is located at the intersection of international relations theory, international political economy, and international security. More specifically, her published work has focused on the politics of transnationalism (specifically state-diaspora relations); the connections between neoliberal economic restructuring and national security policies; the meaning and relevance of postcolonial struggles; and the debates surrounding the contemporary manifestations of imperialism. She is currently working on a book project that brings together her background in international law and international relations to discuss the contemporary development of a legal-humanitarian world order.

Varadarajan teaches courses on International Relations, International Political Economy, National Security and Nationalism both at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

New Spring 2021 MALAS Seminar Course Description --> HUM 580 / MALAS 600a: Open Worlds: Exploring the Unknown in Antiquity with Dr. David A. Wallace-Hare

HUM 580 / MALAS 600a:

Open WorldsExploring the Unknown in Antiquity 

Instructor: David A. Wallace-Hare
Virtual Meetings (via Zoom): Wed.16:00 – 18:40 pm
Course Delivery: SYNCHRONOUS
Office Hours: Mondays 12:00-13:00 and by appt.