Summer 2022 Newsletter

UMN campus

Dear Alumni and Friends,

Our world is looking for new ideas.

In a society that is ever more challenging and complex, an alumna once described CSCL as a place filled with “brain candy”—a place where new texts, new ideas, and provocative conversation became transformative and memorable, even life-changing. Over the past year, our students led a new generation of urgent inquiry, crossing boundaries of word, image, and sound, thinking globally and locally, and relishing the transformative power of big ideas. I can think of no better place to teach and work than in CSCL. It is open-minded, invigorating, and serves as a destination for imaginative, talented, and committed students in CLA.

This year we reignited the intellectual life of our department with a spring colloquium series that featured talks and presentations on diverse topics from neurodivergence and the Japanese tradition of butoh (Julie Dind, Brown University) to resonances of imperialism in the television show White Lotus (PhD student Ansel Arnold) and blistering critiques of a culture of immediacy in our capitalist marketplace (Anna Kornbluh, University of Illinois-Chicago). Faculty publications were no less robust. In the fall, Professor Timothy Brennan published a widely acclaimed biography of Edward Said, which was recently reviewed in The New York Times Book Review, The Guardian, Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, and more.

Our curriculum too is in a state of constant renewal: Assistant Professor Christian Uwe, a specialist in literature of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean has given a fresh perspective to Classics of World Literature, Dr. Matthew Henseler has taken a new course entitled Movements and Manifestos in provocative new directions, and our course on psychoanalysis taught by Dr. Eva Hudecova has been bursting with popularity, regularly filling early in the registration season. As our SCMC major continues to thrive, the role of film, media, and sound has been ever-expanding in our department, taking its place in a creative blended curriculum with the study of literature, cultural studies, and “theory” in its many forms. Finally, Professor Shaden Tageldin led a special committee of faculty and students to take on the work of anti-racism within the context of our department’s curriculum. They produced a set of transformative proposals that, once implemented, will make the department a more inclusive and welcoming space for all.

Our alumni, students, and friends are idealists—people who seek to change and transform the world by thinking big. To address the world’s emerging challenges, they need support from those who can afford to help. In a time when public universities face unique financial difficulties, any level of support to the department can have a transformative effect on a young student. If you feel able to make a donation, please consider donating to help strengthen the future of CSCL.

Michael Gallope
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature

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