Thursday, April 16, 2020

A Public Lecture by the Director of the MALAS Program at SDSU, The Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences: Professor William Nericcio (with Professor Roy Whitaker, Religious Studies, SDSU)

Roy Whitaker, Bill Nericcio: Things We Do Not Talk About (TWDNTA) When Thinking About Daniel Olivas's TWDNT from Mextasy on Vimeo.
"Things We Do Not Talk About When Thinking About Daniel Olivas's THINGS WE DO NOT TALK ABOUT: Latinx Spirituality in the Age of Hate." A public lecture on April 14, 2020 at SDSU with Professors Roy Whitaker and Bill Nericcio. You can consult high resolution versions of the Zoom graphic slides here:

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

New Seminar Course Description! MALAS 601 Fall 2020 An Introduction to Cultural Studies with Professor Pam Fox-Kuhlken

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Fall 2020: MALAS 601 
An Introduction to Cultural Studies/Interdisciplinary Studies 
The Life-or-Death Value of Cultural Studies During Crisis 
Dr. Pam Fox-Kuhlken
Thursdays, 4-6:40

Culture is alive—growing and changing. It is past-, present-, and future-oriented. Emancipatory, cultural theory fuses hierarchies of high and low cultures and seeks new knowledge as we ford the new rivers Heraclitus’ spoke of in ancient days. Cultural Studies draws upon the Humanities (arts, cultural studies, history, languages, literature, philosophy, religion) along with Natural and Social Sciences, so your particular area of interest will be front and center at some point! 

Stuart Hall and Cultural Studies
Cultural Studies--rooted in Karl Marx’s revolutionary dialectical materialism envisioning a communist utopia and Michel Foucault’s new historicism that critiques how power happens through discourses and strips hegemonies’ Oz-like illusions, and feminists like Susan Sontag, Simone de Beauvoir, and Julia Kristeva with remedies to phallocentricism—offers new ways of thinking, knowing, and communicating, equipping us to face CRISIS head-on.

We are an echo-chamber if we lose relevance. In this age of STEM headlines and investments, Humanities are slighted, facing drastic cuts in universities and now with a global pandemic, the Liberal Studies’ use value is eclipsed as masses turn to immunologists for daily guidance.

Ultimately, what matters, life-or-death, about cultural studies? This is a collaborative class and everyone will contribute to our culture: writing, discussing, co-hosting class, recommending texts for our syllabus.

Pierre Bourdieu
We’ll begin with an OVERVIEW of cultural/interdisciplinary criticism; then explore PANDEMIC with Slavoj Žižek and Jacques Lacan; MUSIC of crisis with composer John Cage, pianist Ludovico Einaudi’s “Elegy for the Arctic,” ethnomusicologists in The Journal of Interdisciplinary Music Studies (JIMS), and interrogate silence (Thomas Merton); SAVING THE WORLD with billionaires (Elon Musk and Bill Gates) and brilliance (TED talks, Nobel Laureates, MacArthur geniuses); SOCIAL MEDIA (Sartre’s existential project of being; Martin Heidegger’s shared world; Pierre Bourdieu’s cultural capital; Mark Zuckerberg); then we’ll work our cultural/interdisciplinary magic on topics you choose (i.e. you nominate, we vote upon, and schedule by the second or third week)! And as your champion and advocate, I’ll make all the readings available for you.


Dr. Pam is in her 13th lucky year at SDSU, teaching English & Comp Lit, Religious Studies, and Classics & Humanities. She's wanted to teach since kindergarten so this is Plan A, and she thrives with a syllabus in hand, but prefers to make classes collaborative so we'll create MALAS 601 together. Writing poetry, watching Criterion films, researching literary topics, and reading theory and philosophy is keeping her busy in quarantine, punctuated with yoga. And she's celebrating her daughter's scholarship to MIT starting this Fall. Pam has numerous publications and three advanced degrees (PhD in Comparative Literature, MA in Poetics, MA in Theology) and is ready for our Thursday afternoon symposium this Fall, joining fellow Epicureans in the garden of Plato's academy!


Monday, April 13, 2020

NEW FALL 2020 MALAS SEMINAR! The Environmental Humanities with Professor Diana Leong (Also English 626)

ENGL 626 
The Environmental Humanities
Method, Meaning, and Matter 
Dr. Diana Leong | Wednesdays | 4 to 6:40pm |  EBA-445 

As an analytical framework and an area for interdisciplinary research, the environmental humanities engage a diverse set of concerns pertaining to the representation and theorization of nature. While environmental considerations have long been of interest to humanities scholars, this interest did not coalesce into a coherent field until the early 2000’s. During this period, developments in science and technology, combined with an expansion of environmental precarity, forcefully revealed the limitations of our previous concepts of nature. The challenges of analyzing the increasingly unpredictable behavior of non-human objects (e.g., weather patterns or pesticides), while attending to the uneven distribution of environmental risks and resources, called for new reading and writing practices. This course will follow recent developments in the environmental humanities as they respond to the ecological challenges of our current moment. We will begin by examining some of the foundational texts of the environmental humanities (i.e., method), before tracking their embrace of the postcolonial and anti-racist approaches central to environmental justice (i.e., meaning). We will conclude with an investigation of the field’s turn towards posthumanism, animal studies, and the new materialisms (i.e., matter). By reflecting on some of the major influences on ecocritical thought, we will aim for more nuanced understandings of how human activity both relates to and creates the natural world. 

Diana Leong is an Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature. Her research interests include environmental justice, Black literature and culture, and the environmental humanities (e.g. posthumanism, science and technology studies, animal studies, new materialisms). She is currently completing a monograph, Against Wind and Tide: Toward a Slave Ship Ecology, that theorizes the slave ship as a site for the material and imaginative convergence of environmental justice and abolitionism. Her work has also appeared in ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and EnvironmentCatalyst: Feminism, Theory, TechnoscienceElectronic Book Review, and the Palgrave Handbook of Animals and Literature.