The Literature Program


The Literature Program

Upcoming Events

Past Events



Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Paraguay through the Lens of the Peace Corps
With Eric Benjamin Gordon
Olin, Room 203  6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Bard alumnus (Class of 2014) and current U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer Eric Benjamin Gordon will speak about his current work and experiences in Paraguay. One of the lesser-known and poorer countries of South America, Paraguay also boasts the unique cultural and lingual distinction of having over 90 percent of its population speak an indigenous language. This talk will cover some important factors in the history, language, and culture of Paraguay, all of which contribute to its ranking as the “happiest country” in the world by the Gallup Poll and Peace Corps Worldwide. There will also be a Peace Corps recruiter present to provide materials and answer questions about the organization. 
Sponsored by: Division of Languages and Literature; LAIS Program; Spanish Studies
Contact: Melanie Nicholson  845-758-7382
  Thursday, February 7, 2019
Experimental Thinking: Data, Reading, and Literature
A Talk by Andrew Piper
RKC 103  6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
As computational methods become more widespread in the arts and humanities today, thinking experimentally has an increasingly important role to play. In the social and natural sciences, to experiment means to control, isolate, and distance oneself from an observation. To experiment in this sense means putting our believes to the test. But there is an equally vibrant tradition in the arts where experimentation is seen as a form of play, creativity, and transformation. To experiment in this sense means distancing ourselves from the norms and status quo of the present, to break open the possible.

In my talk, I will explore these two traditions of experimental thinking and how they might be more productively brought together. How can computational methods allow us to think more experimentally about the literature of the past and present in the broadest possible sense? How can the testing, challenging, and rethinking of experimentation give us new views of literature’s future?

Andrew Piper is Professor and William Dawson Scholar in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at McGill University. His work explores computational approaches to the study of literature and culture. He is the director of .txtLAB, a laboratory for cultural analytics at McGill, as well as author of Enumerations: Data and Literature Study (University of Chicago Press, 2018).
Sponsored by: Bard Reading Initiative; Dean of the College; Experimental Humanities Program
Contact: Corinna Cape
Download: piper.pdf
Thursday, February 7, 2019
Babel of the Atlantic: Language and Translatability in the Politics of Migration, Settler Colonialism, and Political Resistance
Dr. Bethany Wiggin, University of Pennsylvania
Olin, Room 102  4:45 pm – 6:00 pm
In dialogue with oceanic history and the “blue humanities,” this talk considers the role of language (languages) and translatability in the politics of migration, settler colonialism, and political resistance, drawing on archives and case studies from the colonial American mid-Atlantic region. The area was known as the “Babel of the Atlantic” in a variety of European languages, and the textual archives of the mid-Atlantic’s manuscript and print cultures continue to offer rich sites to explore the role of language and colonial as well as anti-colonial politics. Individual cultural brokers, including translators, have been the subject of rich recent historical scholarship while often subject to their contemporaries’ curiosity and sometimes their suspicion. How might we build on these accounts of individual translators to explore the multilingualism of the archives more broadly? What research methods and collaborations might we need to make their polyglot and heterodox voices audible today? And, how might a historically rich account of Atlantic multilingualism resound today under widespread pressure on humanistic ways of knowing? 
Sponsored by: Translation and Translatability Initiative
Contact: Olga Voronina  845-758-7600
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
The Literature of World Hunger:
Dambudzo Marechera’s Anti-Colonial Starving Artist
Dr. Alys Moody, Senior Lecturer in English, Macquarie University
RKC 103  5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
In the 1960s and 1970s, “world hunger” emerged as one of the concepts governing the relationship between rich and poor countries. In the same years, the contemporary system of world literature began to take shape. This lecture suggests that it is profitable to read these two formations together, and that doing so can yield new understandings about how the “world” emerges as a contested category in the latter half of the 20th century. Taking as its primary example the prize-winning 1978 novella House of Hunger, by Zimbabwean enfant terrible Dambudzo Marechera, it argues that the insistence of Third World writers on their and their nation’s hunger shapes and disrupts circuits of world literary exchange.
Sponsored by: Dean of the College; Literature Program
Contact: Cole Heinowitz  845-758-7203
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Poetry and Classical Myth: A Reading and Discussion
by Poet/Translator A. E. Stallings
Campus Center, Weis Cinema  5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
A. E. Stallings is an American poet who studied classics at the University of Georgia and Oxford. She has published three collections of poetry—Archaic Smile, Hapax, and Olives—and a verse translation (in rhyming fourteeners!) of Lucretius, The Nature of Things. She has received a translation grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and fellowships from United States Artists, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation. She is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Stallings speaks and lectures widely on a variety of topics, and has been a regular faculty member at the West Chester Poetry Conference and the Sewanee Summer Writers’ Conference. Having studied in Athens, Georgia, she now lives in Athens, Greece, with her husband, the journalist John Psaropoulos, and their two argonauts, Jason and Atalanta.
Sponsored by: Classical Studies Program; Written Arts Program
Contact: James Romm  845-758-7283
Monday, February 4, 2019
The Plague of Nations
Anjuli Fatima Raza Kolb, Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Williams College

*Please Note: Lecture moved to Weis Cinema

Campus Center, Weis Cinema  4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Drawn from Kolb’s first book,Terror Epidemics: Islam, Insurgency, Colonialism, Disease, “The Plague of Nations” considers political consequences of naturalizing and organicizing discourses, particularly the figure of epidemic, through the “failed state” paradigm of a putatively postcolonial era. The author will discuss the case of Kashmir in Salman Rushdie’s post-9/11 terrorism novel, Shalimar the Clown, as well as the legacies of the postwar international order in both Rushdie’s novel and in the incomplete decolonization of the Indian subcontinent. 
Sponsored by: Dean of the College; Literature Program
Contact: Cole Heinowitz  845-758-7203