March 2007 News


Rae Armantrout

Next Life.
Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2007.
Look for the New York Times review of Next Life on March 18.

"Framing." The Nation (February 5, 2007): 35.


Alain J.-J. Cohen: “The Art of the Nude in Cinema. Kubrick, Godard and Greenaway.” Visio. The Journal of the International Association for Visual Semiotics 9. 3-4 (2005): 493-505.

Max Parra: “‘Pueblo,’ bandidos, y Estado en el siglo XIX mexicano. Notas a partir de El Zarco de Ignacio Manuel Altamirano.” The Colorado Review of Hispanic Studies 5 (Spring 2007).

“Violencia, pueblo indígena y nación: El luto humano y la tradición de la novela en México. Miradas críticas en torno a la obra de José Revueltas. Ed. José Luis Falconi & Francisco Ramírez Santacruz. México: Univ. Autónoma de Puebla/UNAM/Harvard UP. 2007.

Laura E. Ruberto and Kristi M. Wilson, ed. and intro.
Italian Neorealism and Global Cinema.
Detroit: Wayne State Univ. Press, 2007.

Laura E. Ruberto
“Neorealism and Contemporary European Immigration.”

Kristi M. Wilson
“From Pensioner to Teenager: Everyday Violence in De Sica’s Umberto D and Gaviria’s Rodrigo D: No Future.”

Pasquale Verdicchio
" 'O Cuorp' 'e Napule: Naples and the Cinematographic Body of Culture." Italian Neorealism and Global Cinema. Detroit: Wayne State Univ. Press, 2007.


Heather A. Wilfong has accepted and begun work as the department Academic Files Assistant handling the lecturers and visiting faculty for the department and coordinating with the Academic Files office. She comes to us from Business and Financial Services and can be reached at 48683. She will be working three-days a week: Tuesday and Wednesday 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Friday 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Please stop by and meet her if you get a chance. We feel she will be a great asset to the department.


Congratulations to Rae Armantrout, who has been awarded a $25,000 grant by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.


The Foundation for Contemporary Arts is a New York-based organization founded in 1963 by Jasper Johns, John Cage, and others in a spirit of community, hoping to assist and encourage innovation, experimentation, and potential in the arts. Since then, exhibitions and sales of works donated by more than 600 visual artists have made possible non-restrictive grants to individuals working in dance,
music, performance art/theater, poetry, and the visual arts.

Five Sisters Productions (includes Jennifer Burton, Lecturer F99) has just completed THE HAPPIEST DAY OF HIS LIFE. The film was invited to preview at the Wexner Center in Ohio, plans are underway for a festival tour, and a distribution company is interested in releasing it on Canadian television. And (perhaps as a sequel?) Jennifer Burton has started filming a documentary on modern-day parenting.

Congratulations to Melissa Hidalgo and Emily Kugler, who will be UCSD’s graduate student representatives at this year’s Dickens Universe, an internationally renowned gathering of students, teachers, and scholars. They will be joined by our department’s new Victorianist Dr. Margaret Loose, who is also a faculty member of the Dickens Project, which sponsors the annual event. The Dickens Project is a scholarly consortium devoted to studying the life, times, and works of Charles Dickens and, more broadly, of 19th-century literature and culture. The featured novel for this year’s July 28-August 4 Universe, hosted by UC Santa Cruz, is Dickens’s The Pickwick Papers (speakers include Helena Michie and Robert Patten), and there will be a special symposium on “Victorian Genres” with a keynote address by Herbert Tucker. Emily and Melissa will participate in seminars, workshops, and team-teaching as well as post- prandial potations and a Victorian dance.
José de Piérola
has accepted a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor in the Creative Writing Department at the University of Texas, El Paso. Congratulations Jose!

Elizabeth Findlay will be presenting a paper entitled "Rewriting the Confession: Jane Barker and The Galesia Trilogy" at the American Society of Eighteenth Century Studies conference in Atlanta Georgia on March 23-25.

Ana Grinberg-Vandersip will be presenting at the Crossing Borders Conference on Saturday, from 2:30 – 4:00, in panel 7 (SSB 101) called “There’s a Monster Under My Bed: Haunting Whispers from the Abyss.” Her presentation is titled “Misrepresenting the Other: Vampires in Women-Authored Narratives.”

Leslie Hammer will be presenting her paper entitled “Tying the (Transnational) Knot: Love and Marriage in Martin Delany’s Blake" at the MELUS 2007 Conference in Fresno, CA from March 22-25, 2007.

Irene Mata has accepted a position as Assistant Professor in the Women’s Studies Department at Wellesley College. Congratulations Irene!
Congratulations to Eileen Myles, who has been named a recipient of an Inaugural Arts Writing Grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for her book project entitled “The Importance of Being Iceland.”

The Andy Warhol Foundation’s three-year, three-million-dollar initiative is designed to encourage intellectually rigorous and creatively generative writing about art and to insure that critical writing remains a valued mode of engaging in the visual arts.

In this first year of the Arts Writing Grants, a panel of six esteemed judges awarded $100,000 each to six journals and allocated from $8,500 - $50,000 each for eighteen individuals. Myles joins a group of distinguished writers working on projects as diverse as art in Vietnam, politics and race in museums, and alternative media. All are committed to the craft of writing and advancement of critical discourse on contemporary visual art.

Max Parra has been appointed to the Board of Directors for the California Council for the Humanities.

Lynn Ta will be presenting at the Crossing Borders Conference March 2-4. The title of her talk is "Denationality, Gender Violence, and Senorita Extraviada."

Edwige Tamalet Talbayev presented a paper entitled "Mediterranean Journeys: Transgressing Segregation in French Colonial Algeria in the 1930s" at the "Literary Odysseys: The Journeys in and of literature"graduate student conference organized by the University of Colorado at Boulder, Department of Comparative Literature and Humanities, February 23-24.

Alexa Weik presented two papers last month:
- a paper entitled “Prejudice and Emotion: The Irrational Ends of Cosmopolitan Conversations” at the 32nd Annual FSU Conference “Cosmopolitanism: Thinking Beyond the Nation,” Florida State University, Tallahassee, February 1-4, 2007.
- a paper entitled “The Dialectic of Cosmopolitanism and Commitment in William Gardner Smith’s The Stone Face and  Return to Black America” at the Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture since 1900, University of Louisville, Feb 22-24, 2007.


Claudio Guillén
(Paris, September, 1924-Madrid, January 27, 2007)

Some 20 years ago, the principal speaker at a symposium on Pérez Galdós held at Harvard was a then famous British comparatist of German origin who, to everyone’s dismay, began his talk by declaring that, until receiving the invitation to participate in our gathering, he had never read Galdós. But, he continued, curious about the unexpected invitation, he had taken the trouble to read Fortunata and Jacinta in translation, and he could now confirm to us that Benito Pérez Galdós was undoubtedly one of the very best of all XIX Century novelists. It was nice of him to let us know, and I am sure some in the audience wished that he would go back to Oxford (or was it Cambridge?) and, please, spread the news.

But it was a good thing Claudio Guillén was not there that afternoon. To be sure, Claudio was too well bred, too polite to have attacked that pompous ass directly, but I don’t doubt that he would have been obliged to meditate, once more in his life, about what Comparative Literature means when you belong to the periphery of Western culture. For can anyone who has read Claudio Guillén’s works or has known him possibly imagine that, besides Spanish and Latin American authors, he had never read Stendhal, or Tolstoy, or Dickens, or Mark Twain (Dostoyevski is always a given, of course)?

But, of course, Claudio Guillén was culturally privileged. His mother was an intelligent and cultivated French woman, his father a great and famous Spanish poet; he was educated in Spanish and French, as a child he lived in Sevilla, and when his family went into exile after the Spanish Republic was defeated by Franco and his German Nazis and his Italian Fascists, and after he served with De Gaulle’s army during the Second World War, he was educated in English, at Williams College and at Harvard, where he studied not only with Harry Levin, locally well known, but with Amado Alonso, a great philologist who, after the Russian Formalists, spread the theory of Stylistics in the whole of Latin America in the 1950’s. And Claudio knew his German. And his Latin. And Portuguese, and Italian and…

So both by birth and because of the vicissitudes of exile, Claudio was an internationalist. To be sure, he was a Spaniard, but that, paradoxically, was also an advantage. Carlos Fuentes once wrote that the cultural advantage of belonging to a peripheral or marginal nation is that one has to know not only one’s own culture, but that of others too. So Claudio Guillén was, so to speak, born into comparatism, and exile strengthened what must have been an almost innate tendency. And, yes, he thought and wrote much about Spanish literature (after all, the picaresque and Cervantes, for example, are major European literary achievements: just ask Moll Flanders and Tristram Shandy), but he never saw it/read it in isolation: witness not only his major works, but his beautiful small book El sol de los desterrados (The sun of the exiles) where he writes of many exiles, but —subtle as he was— not about the exile of anti- Franco Spaniards.

Claudio Guillén came to UCSD’s Department of Literature in the Fall of 1963 and founded here the Comparative Literature section. He was also instrumental in the founding of CILAS. And he was much admired and liked by his colleagues and students. It was sad to see him leave us for Harvard in 1978. But then, in 1982, he went back to the Spain of his childhood, where he taught at two prestigious universities, received two literary prizes for his work in Comparative Literature and, by an almost unanimous vote, was made a member of the Language Academy (Real Academia de la Lengua). Having lived a long, rich, complex and difficult life, he died while watching a movie on TV in the company of his second wife, Margarita. His first wife, Elfie, had died a month before. The movie he and Margarita were watching was The African Queen, and Claudio’s death was mercifully and brutally instantaneous. Some of us will never forget him. As long as we live, of course.

Carlos Blanco-Aguinaga



Wednesday, March 7, 4:30 pm,Visual Arts Performance Space
Student Reading
featuring Sinmi Araoye * Dionne Galace * Steven Perez * Michael Swaim * Lauren Walker

Thursday, March 15, 4:30 pm, Visual Arts Performance Space, New Writing Series: Justin Tussing  

George Varga,
Music Critic
San Diego Union-Tribune

“The Advent of Rock Journalism”
Monday, March 5, 2007
10:00 – 11:00 am, deCerteau Room, 155 Literature Building

1st Annual Diversity Symposium
Monday, March 5, 2007, 3:00-5:00pm, Price Center Theatre
A discussion on the crisis of ethnic diversity and equity at UC San Diego

Specific presentations include: Hiring of diverse faculty, Restructuring the Chief Diversity Office responsibilities, Student recruitment & retention Hiring & promotion of underrepresented staff, Support for academic minors

There will be presentations on issues and specific proposals to address under-representation among students, faculty, staff, and the curriculum.

The UCSD Science Studies Program Colloquium Series
Roddey Reid, Professor of French Studies and Cultural Studies, Department of Literature, UCSD"Globalizing Public Health: Singularities, Aggregates, and the Arts of Government in Tobacco Control"
Monday, March 5, 2007 - 4:00 - 6:00 pm
Humanities & Social Sciences Bldg # 3027
Reception prior to talk at 3:30 in H&SS 3005

Dialogues in Sexuality Studies II

Featuring: David Serlin
Associate Professor of Communication and Science Studies at UCSD
"Womanhood in Black and White: Sexuality, Embodiment, and Medical Science in the 1950s" and
Elyse Montague, MFA Candidate, Department of Visual Arts, UC San Diego

"Well Dressed: A Film About Bodies in Transition"

Thursday, March 8, 5-7 pm
LGBT Resource Center
Old Student Center

Eileen Myles
reads from her new collection

Sorry, Tree

Ali Liebegott
reads from her novel

The IHOP Papers

Friday, March 9, 7pm * D.G. Wills Books

Rae Armantrout
eads from her new book
Next Life

Friday, March 30, 7pm
D.G. Wills Books


Crossing Borders Conference 2007

5th Annual Conference of Ethnic Studies in California, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday March 2 – 4, 2007
at the University of California, San DiegoParticipants include faculty and graduate students from the sponsoring institutions as well as San Francisco State University, Stanford University, UC Santa Cruz, and the University of Minnesota.

Ninotchka Rosca of GABRIELA USA will present the keynote address, entitled “To Chart the Future, One Must Be a Speaker for the Dead.” 7:30 pm Saturday, March 3, Radisson Hotel Ballroom

Six Literature graduate students are presenting at this conference: Neel Ahuja * Benjamin Balthaser * Ana Grinberg-Vandersip * Kyla Schuller * Lauren Smith * Lynn Ta. Open to the public. No admission.

14th Annual Border Voices Poetry Fair

Saturday, March 24, 2007, Aztec Center, San Diego State University, 8:00 am - 6:00 pm featuring: Robert Pinsky • Steve Kowit • Adrienne Rich • Dr. Catherine Yi-yu Cho Woo

Workshop on How to Get Published • by William H. Roetzheim, poet-publisher of Level 4 Press, Inc.All events are open to the public FREE of charge and – unless otherwise noted – are in SDSU’s Montezuma Hall. Parking is free in the university’s Parking Structure 1, just east of College Ave. You can also leave your car at home and ride the trolley to the SDSU station!!Border Voices hotline: 619/293-2546
Web site:


Asian Studies Student Group

Some of Literature Dept grad students launched an Asian Studies Student Group earlier this quarter. One of our goals is to create a network among lit grads who work on (broadly defined) *Asian Studies* as their field and for whom the MLA joblist might not apply. We also plan to start a Brown Bag series in the near future. If you are interested in joining our group, please email this quarter's contact person, Su-yun.

2007-08 IICAS Research & Travel Grants

The Institute for International, Comparative, and Area Studies (IICAS) at UC San Diego is pleased to announce a competition for its 2007-08 Grant programs!

IICAS grants are directed primarily to faculty and students in the social sciences and humanities. Supported research should be about other societies rather than simply conducted in other societies. Applications from fields outside the social sciences and humanities may be eligible if they deal with global issues, cross-national comparisons, or research on particular societies and also have a substantial human or societal dimension. (Implications for public policy should be made explicit.)

* 2007-08 Research Conference Grantss
* 2007-08 Faculty Research Planning / Travel Grants
* 2007-08 Graduate Travel Grants

Instructional Improvement Program - Call for Proposals, 2007-08 Funds

Individual proposals are typically funded at the $1K - $3K level. In addition, we anticipate that it will be possible to support one or two larger projects (up to $10K per proposal) with the potential to make a more significant impact on undergraduate education. Awards will be made in the form of grants to cover development expenses, including, but not limited to, materials costs, summer graduate student support, and support for technical assistance.

The application deadline is FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2007. Awards will be announced in Spring Quarter, and the funds will be available after July 1, 2007. The application form is available at: