Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Professor Veronica Shapovalov

This course will investigate many transformations of Central European folkloric vampire into a Romantic literary character, an ultimate monster of horror cinema, a next-door neighbor of popular culture, and much more. We will explore how and why the image of a vampire became a metaphor for political and social concepts such as imperialism and colonialism, gender and sexuality. The seminar features readings/discussions of fiction, historical accounts, and academic articles as well as screenings/discussions of film.

3 units
open seats: 30/30
Seminar 4:00pm-6:40pm

Thursday, October 11, 2012

MALAS studies Ghosts- A Human Phenomenon

The first in a series of blog postings highlighting the research interests of MALAS graduate students. First up? Allie Schulz.

As a student in the Masters of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences program, I was excited to start the year off by reading several excellent essays by Freud and Kafka. The readings inspired me to do some additional research on my own interests of both the unconscious and the paranormal!

Though most people think of ghosts as innocent caspers or scary ghouls, the representations of what are considered to be ghosts in our society vary widely. Ghosts can be signified by anything from a loud noise coming from the hall, to a reflection in the mirror that shouldn’t be there, to an object that has been knocked over without cause.

Haunting themes can be found all throughout our history not only in oral tradition, but in books, poetry, movies, and more. Within two great works of film and literature, Kubrick's adaptation of “The Shining” and Poe’s short story “The Tell Tale Heart” ghosts do more than just entice the viewer into feeling fear. Ghostly sights and sounds can potentially act as representations of our greatest anxieties (such as the fear of death), a yearning for the substances we are addicted to, or as expressions of repressed feelings that are pushing us towards self-destruction.

Let’s start with The Shining- think of Danny and his fascination with the dead twins, he might have just been unconsciously confronting his own mortality or his fears of violence, something he was no stranger to. And for Jack, the only “ghosts” he sees tempt him with what he most desires- alcohol, sex... Jack’s ghosts may really just be his way of hoping to fulfill his desires despite his best attempts to repress them. Then we have the narrator in The Tell-Tale heart, who has committed a murder and his guilt begins to manifest through the escalating thumping of the beating heart he claims to hear beneath the floorboards.

Freud wrote often on the delusion of being watched, and makes the case that hallucinations (seeing a ghost! hearing the sound of the beating heart!) are often merely manifestations of deep-seeded emotional traumas. In Freud’s essay “The Uncanny” he explains, “In the pathological case of delusions of being watched, this mental agency becomes isolated, dissociated from the ego, and discernible to the physician’s eye”. So feeling like we see/hear a ghost might be a symptom of the psyche.
A popular urban legend is one about a woman who placed her deceased husband’s ashes in a closet, not having the energy to find the remains a more honorable area. A loud thumping emanated from the closet until she moved the urn into a respectable location. I believe one of two things was happening in this story- that either she unconsciously created the thumping in her mind, or the leftover information from the loved one (i.e. ghost) really did want his physical form to be located elsewhere. I’m more skeptical to endorse the latter, but I do think its worth considering.

As people go through life and claim to experience paranormal activity, whether or not that activity ‘exists' in the most traditional sense of the word, the activity has physiological effects on people and will thus change how they interact with world. Does that make the ghost any less real, well, I’m not going to pretend to be the authority on that conundrum. But what I am going to argue is that whether or not ghosts are real, most people have experienced a paranormal experience (or have experienced a story through a book, movie, etc.) and thus these paranormal activities are a real human phenomenon.

-Allie Schulz

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hip Hop and Religion: MALAS Stays Ahead of the Curve with its Remarkable Line-up of Interdisciplinary Seminars

This Fall 2012 finds SDSU's Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences (MALAS) program co-hosting a seminar with the Department of Religious Studies.  The course? Hip Hop and Religion, taught by Delroi "Roy" Whitaker, a lecturer with both Religious Studies and MALAS.   Here's a recent piece on his class.

We here at MALAS like to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to trends in contemporary culture--so it came as no surprise this morning when we ran across this piece in the new Time Magazine:

click to expand

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

MALAS Graduate Students Want to Share Their Minds with the Planet


This is Dr. William A. Nericcio, the director of the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences program at SDSU. This blog posting is an experiment to see if we can use public and private philanthropy to fund our graduate student travel initiative.  Delivering paper at conferences here and abroad is a key element of the graduate student experience.

Donate $25.00

Your donations will help our MALAS graduate students to share their unique, dynamic, interdisciplinary research findings with their peers and with other scholars across the globe. Be generous if you can!

View Progress

Thursday, August 16, 2012

MALAS is Thrilled to Announce Our First Chavela Vargas Predoctoral Resident Scholar: Laura Herbert, Ph.D. Candidate, The University of Michigan

MALAS, the Master of Art in Liberal Arts and Sciences at SDSU, is proud to announce a Chavela Vargas predoctoral fellow program for 2012-2013. The recently deceased Chavela Vargas (video below) was a groundbreaking international artist whose work in music, social justice, and gender politics made dramatic contributions to culture and justice on both sides of the Rio Grande river and beyond. It is this singular, dynamic, and boundary-crossing/breaking ability that set Vargas apart from other entertainers and why MALAS elected to grace our first predoctoral fellow program with her name.

Frida Kahlo and Chavela Vargas
Our selected fellow for 2012-13 is a remarkable graduate student from the Spanish section of the Department of Romance Languages & Literatures at the University of Michigan: Laura Herbert. Ms. Herbert is presently working on her dissertation, "The Post-NAFTA Intersections of Culture, Market, Nation and Gender on the US-Mexico Border" with her supervisory team of professors: Gareth Williams (chair), Colin Gunckel, and Lawrence LaFountain-Stokes.

Congratulations to Laura Herbert and welcome to SDSU and to MALAS. Herbert will be sitting-in and guest lecturing in MALAS seminars throughout the Fall and Spring and will lecturing on her research at a date to be determined.


Laura M. Herbert

I am a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan in Romance Languages honored to be the MALAS Chavela Vargas predoctoral fellow for 2012-2013. My thesis focuses on how national mythologies in the United States and Mexico have shifted under the current neoliberal paradigm and how these mythologies mobilize and manipulate certain forms of embodiment. I am particularly interested in the telenovela industry and the work of Roberto Bolaño. I received my B.A. summa cum laude in 2007 from the Ohio State University and in 2008 I began my graduate work in 2008 at Michigan where I am the very fortunate recipient of the Jacob K. Javits fellowship. When I´m not studying, I´m into cooking and yoga!

Here are some of Laura's recent doings:


“Nosotras versus We: Translating the Implicit Feminism in Pensamientos, prácticas y acciones del GAC,” Translating Intersectionality: Language and the Politics of Multilingual Feminist Solidarities. National Women´s Studies Association Annual Meeting. Oakland California. November 2012.


“2666’s Literary Mass Grave: Historical Memory and Bolaño on the Border,” Mapping the Mexican Borderlands Seminar, American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting.  Providence, Rhode Island.  March 2012.

“When Exports and Diasporas Collide: La Reina del Sur and the Melodrama of Mexican Nationalism,” The Female Body, Gender and Identity in 21st Century Latin America Panel, Northeast Modern Language Association Annual Meeting.  Rochester, New York.  March 2012.

“The Narco Nouveau- Riche: Class Identity and Narco dollars in Colombian Bestsellers” (retiled “Of Sicarios and Prepagos: The Consuming in and of Colombian Narconovelas”), First Seminar on the Narco Imaginary, American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting.  Vancouver, Canada.  March 2011.

“Queering the Barrio: Gay Chican@s and the Construction of Liberatory Space,” Spaces and Identity Panel, Spaces of Relation Conference. University of Miami.  Miami, Florida.  February 2011.

Organized Conference Seminar:

Translating Intersectionality: Language and the Politics of Multilingual Feminist Solidarities (co-chaired with Catalina Esguerra-Metheny and Jocelyn Frelier). National Women´s Studies Association Annual Meeting. Oakland California. November 2012.

Mapping the Mexican Borderlands  (co-chaired with Paige Rafoth), American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting.  Providence, Rhode Island.  March 2012.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fall 2012, MALAS Celebrates its 25th Anniversary of Interdiscplinary Cultural Studies...

Help us celebrate out Silver anniversary! If you had some role in the creation of MALAS, have taught a seminar for us, or have had some hand in MALAS's  development, or are one of our present students or alumni, don't be shy about leaving us a comment below!

Enter the MALAS mothership here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dr. Dafne Muntanyola-Saura | Upcoming MALAS Interdisciplinary Studies Lecture | Wednesday, August 29, 2012 @ 3:30pm-6:10pm in LSN-134

Dafne Muntanyola-Saura has a Ph.D. in Sociology from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (2008), where she is currently teaching Sociology of Mass Culture and Ethnographical Methods. She has been an MA student at Stockholm University, and a postdoc reseracher in Nice and Madrid. As a Fulbright Scholar and Visiting Professor at the department of Cognitive Science at UCSD she has participated in Dance and Cognition, an interdisciplinary project with the Wayne McGregor-Random Dance company. She translated Cicourel (2007) and Kirsh (2007) into Spanish. Her current research crosses over the fields of contemporary cognitive science (embodied and distributed cognition) and ethnography (Muntanyola, 2010, 2012, & Kirsh, 2010). She studies expert and creative teamwork in different work environments, such as hospitals, dance rehearsals and synchronized swimming. 

Address : Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Campus Bellaterra, E-08193 Barcelona, España

Monday, August 13, 2012

Simone Belli: Visiting Resident MALAS Post-Doc @ SDSU | The Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences at San Diego State University

MALAS, the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences at San Diego State University, is honored to have in residence this late Summer and early Fall, the one and only Dr. Simone Belli, of Spain by way of Italy. Dr. Belli will be lecturing on his diverse body of research in the first MALAS 601 seminar this Fall 2012, Wednesday, August 29, 2012 (3:30pm-6:10pm in LSN-134). Here's more information concerning the work of Dr. Belli:

click to enlarge
Simone Belli (Bergamo-Italia, 1981) is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Universidad Autónoma University de Madrid. He received his Ph.D. (Doctor Europeus) in Social Psychology from Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona with the thesis 'Emotions and Language', directed by Lupicinio Íñiguez Rueda. He is member of MIRCo Research Group (Multilingualism, Social Identities, Intercultural Relations and Communication), GESCIT Research Group (Social Studies in Science and Technology), JovenTIC Research Group, and of the Centre of Discourse Studies (CED). Sponsored by the Spanish Department of Education and Science, he worked as a predoctoral fellow at Georgetown University at Washington, DC, The University of Manchester, and at Manchester Metropolitan University. He has also served as a visiting Professor at the University of Bergamo in Italy. His research is focused on the relationship of emotions with language, and how it is possible to express these emotions through the use of Information Technology and Communication (ICT).

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Suggestions for Summer 2012 MALAS-eligible Classes

Thanks to MALAS graduate student Francisco Miramontes for surveying the Summer online schedule and zapping me eligible graduate classes; I have trimmed his list a bit as he listed just about every class open above the 500-level.  Do please contact me at memo@sdsu.edu if you want to take any of these summer classes this year.  Cheers,

Bill Nericcio

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Coolest Cultural Studies MA in California? Try MALAS! The Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences at San Diego State University

Click the logo for more info!

The Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences (M.A.L.A.S.) is an ever-evolving, interdisciplinary, cultural studies graduate program housed within the College of Arts and Letters at San Diego State University. Our dynamic Master of Arts degree provides a challenging intellectual experience in the sensational city of San Diego, California--a buzzing West Coast international border community highly regarded for biotechnology and a burgeoning site for cutting-edge transborder experimental arts, next-generation sustainability research, and Pacific Rim-based multi-disciplinary studies.

... And yes, also known for tourism and a rad surf community!

MALAS offers what we like to call "an M.A. in Curiosity." Our graduate students are afforded a unique opportunity to master intellectual/artistic/scientific goals through individually-tailored course clusters at one of the most innovative graduate Liberal Arts programs on the planet. MALAS is the interdisciplinary Masters program for all kinds of thinkers--while it caters to the intellectual desires of ambitious, new B.A. and B.S. recipients seeking full-time graduate study, it also serves the needs of Southern California adult-learners and professionals pursuing graduate study on a part-time basis.

We are often asked here at MALAS headquarters, "what does a prospective MALAS student look like?" or "where do they come from?" Our response: what don't they look like and where don't they come from.

Unlike other M.A. and Ph.D. programs that expect a specific undergraduate emphasis (some will even make you do additional undergraduate coursework before starting your graduate curriculum), MALAS values your undergraduate degrees and expects you to use our program to explore brave new worlds, broad uncharted intellectual waters. Whether you are a cardiovascular surgeon who now wishes to ponder the mysteries of the heart in Shakespeare or García Márquez, a documentary filmmaker now curious about sustainability and theenvironment, a literature major wishing to explore the connections between literature and dance or cinema or photography or painting etc, or even, maybe, a brilliant, curious soul trapped in a cubicle in corporate America (your imagination somewhat stifled by the styrofoam-laced banality of the world around you), then our SDSU MALAS is the program for you.

Our M.A. (Magister Artium, as it was originally conceived) features a series of cutting-edge seminars. These classes (always already in metamorphosis) compose a core interdisciplinary curriculum with these areas of concentration:

A. Cultural Studies
B. Science and Society/Environmental Studies
C. Globalization, Technology, & Future Studies
D. Media Studies, Fine Arts, & the Transformative Arts

Our students select the rest of their courses from across the curriculum at SDSU--present students take courses from the excellent graduate programs in the College of Arts & Letters as well as from the other seven colleges on the SDSU campus. This Spring, our MALAS graduate students are pursuing coursework in Women's Studies, Anthropology, Geography, Educational Technology, Art, Religious Studies, Philosophy, and many other fields/disciplines/departments).

The MALAS program at SDSU is a member of the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs. To learn more about university requirements, consult the Graduate Bulletin; and to learn about applying to the program, consult the SDSU Graduate Admissions page. NOTE: officially, MALAS is known as the M.A. in Liberal Arts and Sciences in the SDSU Graduate Catalogue or Bulletin. You can download a .pdf of the most recent MALAS specifications from the official SDSU Graduate Division Bulletin hereor hit the .pdf page facimile to your left. If you are on the fence about applying to our unique graduate program, don't hesistate to call the program director and graduate advisor, Professor Bill Nericcio, at 619.594.1524 or to email him at bnericci@mail.sdsu.edu

Thursday, January 5, 2012


We are very proud to provide course descriptions for our Spring 2012 roster of MALAS graduate seminars--two of our professors, artist Kim Stringfellow, and scholar Kristin Rebien, are new to our program; the third, Bill Nericcio, directs MALAS and is back in the saddle for another seminar, following up on the successful Technosexualities class, Fall 2011.

Hit the imagelinks below for the full course descriptions!

direct link to ART ENVIRONMENT PLACE syllabus


Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Kristin Rebien
Assistant Professor
Department of European Studies
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-7704
Office: EBA 300C

Jewish Film Class Open to MALASheads!

click here for more info....

Teaching Opportunity for MALAS Graduate Students

From: cty-summer
Subject: Summer Teaching Opportunities with the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth
Date: December 22, 2011 5:36:39 AM PST

Dear Department Chair, Program Director, and/or Coordinator:

I am writing to let you know about an excellent summer employment opportunity for individuals who are interested in teaching writing. The Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth seeks exceptional instructional staff for its summer programs. CTY provides intensive course work in the liberal arts for talented pre-collegiate students ages 8 to 18 in grades 2 to 12. We have a strong writing program that includes both critical and creative writing courses.

Details of our instructor and teaching assistant positions are below. Please forward this information to faculty, as well as graduate and undergraduate students, in your department. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us via email atctysummer@jhu.edu or by calling (410) 735-6185.


Boyd White
Assistant Director, Summer Academic Programs
Johns Hopkins University – Center for Talented Youth
We seek enthusiastic writing instructors and teaching assistants to work in our summer programs for gifted elementary, middle, and high school students. CTY offers intense, 3-week academic programs for highly talented students from across the country and around the world.

We have residential sites located in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Washington. We have day sites for commuters located in the Baltimore, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and San Diego areas.

Session 1: June 24 – July 13
Session 2: July 15 – August 3
Instructors and teaching assistants can work one or two sessions.
Note: Three of our sites in California have different dates. At our program at Maranatha High School in Pasadena, session 1 runs from June 16 – July 6, and session 2 runs from July 7 – July 27. At our programs at the University of California at Santa Cruz and Stanford University in Palo Alto, session 1 runs from July 1 – July 20, and session 2 runs from July 22 – August 10.

CTY staff work with exceptional students, make contacts and friendships with dynamic colleagues, and gain valuable teaching experience in a rigorous academic setting.

CTY offers critical and creative writing courses ranging from Writing and Reading Workshop (3rd and 4th grades) to Crafting the Essay(7th grade and above) to The Critical Essay: Popular Culture (7th grade and above) to Fiction and Poetry (7th grade and above). For a complete list of writing courses, their course descriptions, and sample syllabi, please visitwww.cty.jhu.edu/summer/employment/writing.html.
Instructors start at $2,100 to $3,000 per 3-week session.
Teaching assistants start at $1,100 per 3-week session.
Room and board is provided at our residential sites.
Lunch is provided at our day sites.
Please visit www.cty.jhu.edu/summer/employment, or contact us at (410) 735-6185 or ctysummer@jhu.edu.

Johns Hopkins University is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.