Tag Archive for Garrett

Theory Certificate Hosts Lecture Series on Contours of the Present Crisis

This semester, the Certificate in Social, Cultural and Critical Theory is hosting a lecture series titled “Contours of the Present Crisis.”

This series will respond the heightened social and political conflicts of the current moment. Talks will be held on March 7, March 30 and May 4.

“Our aim is to emphasize at every turn the relationship between what we call ‘theory’ and the rest of our lives,” says Matthew Garrett, associate professor of English, associate professor of American studies and the director of the Certificate in Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory. “Intellectual work certainly deserves a privileged place; at the same time, as somebody once said, the world won’t get better on its own, and our work in the Certificate needs to keep alive the relationship between rigorous critical thought and open, radical activity in the world.”

Suleiman Mourad, professor of religion at Smith College,

Ulysse Guest Edits Double Issue of Journal e-misferica

Gina Athena UlysseProfessor of Anthropology Gina Athena Ulysse was recently invited to guest edit a double issue of the journal e-misférica on the theme of Caribbean rasanblaj, to which three of her Wesleyan colleagues also contributed.

The journal e-misférica is an online publication of New York University’s Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, a “collaborative, multilingual and interdisciplinary network of institutions, artists, scholars, and activists throughout the Americas. Working at the intersection of scholarship, artistic expression and politics, the organization explores embodied practice-performance as a vehicle for the creation of new meaning and the transmission of cultural values, memory and identity.”

For several years, Ulysse has been involved with the Hemispheric Institute, where she has been invited to engage her performance practice. When Wesleyan became a member institution, she was elected to the Executive Committee and called attention to what she saw as a lack of representation for the Caribbean in the Institute’s work. Based on her feedback, the e-misférica editors decided it was time to move toward greater focus on the Anglophone and Francophone Caribbean, and to publish a special Caribbean-themed double issue of the journal. Ulysse was invited to be a guest editor.

“When we sat down to talk about the issue, co-editors Jill Lane and Marcial Godoy-Anitava of NYU and I agreed we needed a new lexicon to discuss the Caribbean,” Ulysse explained. “I wanted it to be a Haitian Creole word. I suggested ‘rasanblaj‘ as an organizing principle to think through and talk about the Caribbean.” This new concept clearly resonated with participants and inspired a volume of responses from artists, activists, scholars, and practitioners from the region and its diaspora, which resulted in a double issue. The managing editor Kerry Whigham, Ulysse said, was key to this operation.

In her introduction to the issue, Ulysse defines rasanblaj as a noun meaning “assembly, compilation, enlisting, regrouping (of ideas, things, people, spirits. For example, fè yon rasanblaj, do a gathering, a ceremony, a protest).” Ulysse approached the guest editing job as a performance artist, and wrote her introduction in a lyrical style. “I said, ‘I’m not writing prose! That’s what I do in my day job. Barely. Besides the concept of rasanblaj is about gathering fragments, the scattered, forgotten. It’s about reassessing. So doing this in theory as in praxis was always central to my vision,” she explained.

The editorial team put a call out for papers in five languages: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Creole. (While e-misférica is normally a multilingual publication, Creole was added just for this special issue.) Ulysse specifically solicited contributions from several of her colleagues at Wesleyan. The issue includes book reviews by Matthew Garrett, assistant professor of English, assistant professor of American studies; Katja Kolcio, associate professor of dance, associate professor of environmental studies; and Rashida Shaw, assistant professor of English.

“This was such a team effort and it was a wonderful opportunity to work with my colleagues who share similar interests. I’m proud of the strong Wesleyan representation in this issue,” said Ulysse.

7 Faculty Promoted, Awarded Tenure

In its most recent meeting, the Board of Trustees promoted seven faculty members.

The BOT conferred tenure on Lauren Caldwell, associate professor of classical studies; Stephen Collins, associate professor of film studies; Paul Erickson, associate professor of history; Matthew Garrett, associate professor of English; Brian Northrop, associate professor of chemistry; Julia Randall, associate professor of art; and Seth Redfield, associate professor of astronomy.

The promotions are effective July 1, 2015.

Brief descriptions of their areas of research and teaching appear below.

Lauren Caldwell
Caldwell’s research focuses on Roman social history, Roman law, and Greco-Roman medicine. Her recent book, Roman Girlhood and the Fashioning of Femininity (Cambridge University Press, 2014) investigates the social pressures

Garrett Offers First Literary-Historical Analysis of the Episode in New Book

Matthew Garrett

New book by Matthew Garrett.

Matthew Garrett, assistant professor of English, is the author of Episodic Poetics: Politics and Literary Form after the Constitution, published by Oxford University Press in April 2014.

In Episodic Poetics, Garrett merges narrative theory with social and political history to explain the early American fascination with the episodic, piecemeal plot.

Since Aristotle’s Poetics, the episode has been a vexed category of literary analysis, troubling any easy view of the subsumption of unwieldy narrative parts into well-plotted wholes. Episodic Poeticsproposes a new method of reading and a new way of conceiving of literary history. The book combines theoretical reflection and historical rigor with careful readings of texts from the early American canon such as The Federalist, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, and the novels of Charles Brockden Brown, along with hitherto understudied texts and ephemera such as Washington Irving’s Salmagundi, Susanna Rowson’s Trials of the Human Heart and the memoirs of the metalworker and failed entrepreneur John Fitch. Garrett recounts literary history not as the easy victory of grand nationalist ambitions, but rather as a series of social struggles expressed through writers’ recurring engagement with incompletely integrated forms.

Read more about Garrett in this past Wesleyan Connection article.

Garrett Researches Social History, Literary Form in 18th, 19th Centuries

Matthew Garrett, assistant professor of English, teaches his ENGL 209 course, From Seduction to Civil War: The Early U.S. Novel. He also teaches classes on transatlantic poetry between the 16th and 19th centuries and literature of the revolution.

Matthew Garrett brings research interests in American literature, narrative theory, literary and social history, and social theory to Wesleyan’s Department of English.

Garrett, an assistant professor, joined the department in 2008. He has a B.A. from Bard College, a M. Phil. from Cambridge University, and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University.

“I came to Wesleyan to work with superb scholars and to teach students who are famous as some of the best in the world. That combination of active scholarship and exciting teaching is truly exceptional, and I think it distinguishes Wesleyan from both its liberal-arts and big-university peers,” he says. “Every professor wants a robust environment for both their writing and their teaching, and Wesleyan has a tradition of sustaining these mutually nourishing and interdependent activities.”

Garrett focuses his research and writing on the relationship between social history and literary form, particularly in Anglophone culture in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Nisse, Garrett Awarded Humanities Fellowship

Ruth Nisse, associate professor of English, and Matthew Garrett, assistant professor of English, received a 2011-12 American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship.

The ACLS is a competitive fellowship for scholars in all disciplines of the humanities and humanities-related social sciences. Applications are peer reviewed by scholars in the applicant’s field. The fellowship is designed to provide scholars with devoted time for their research and writing. Seventy national scholarly organizations below to the ACLS.

Nisse will use her fellowship to complete her book called Jacob’s Shipwreck.

“The book focuses on Jewish-Christian relations and the transmission of ancient texts into both medieval Latin and Hebrew traditions,” Nisse says.

Garrett will use the award to complete his first book, Episodic Poetics in the Early American Republic. The book traces the evolution of episodic writing in early American culture, including prose, novels, memoirs and linked serial essays. Garrett shows how, in ways both magisterial and mundane, how episodic forms gave variegated shape to the social, political, and economic conflicts that defined the early U.S. republic.

“It’s a literary history of the episode, that odd little narrative unit that literary critics often ignore because episodes don’t always add up to proper plots,” he says.

Duke’s Baucom Discusses Relationships Among War, Empire, Republicanism

Oct. 6, Duke University Professor of English Ian Baucom gave the first lecture in the English Department Lecture Series, titled "Reading a Letter: Republicanism, Empire, and the Archives of the Atlantic."

Baucom met with Wesleyan faculty and fellows on Oct. 7 to discuss his current book project, "The Disasters of War: On Inimical Life." Pictured at right is Matthew Garrett, assistant professor of English, who organized the event.