Author Archives: Barbra Chin

Meet the Committee (2018-2019)

The Committee on the Status of Graduate Students in the Profession (CSGSP) is now the Committee on the Status of Graduate Students in the Humanities (CSGSH)!

Following MLA Executive Council approval and renewal in February 2018, the CSGSP became the CSGSH with an amended charge. The Committee requested these changes to reflect the current status of the academic climate, to respond to the changing trends in the humanities, and to capture the realities of our membership body. Read more here!

As members of the CSGSH, we are appointed via nomination for a three-year period to advocate for graduate students in all aspects of their educational and professional lives.

If you’re at #MLA19, come by the Grad Lounge and say hello! Or, feel free to reach out to us at csgsp@mla.org with your questions or concerns. We meet multiple times a year and welcome your input! You can also connect with us on twitter (@MLAgrads)

2018-2019 CSGSH Members:

 

Barbra Chin (co-chair) is a Ph.D. candidate and full-time lecturer in the Department of English at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Her research explores notions of identity as they relate to nation and community, race (and mixed race), and gender in late 19th and early 20th century African American literature, particularly the writings of Nella Larsen. As a member of CSGSH, Barbra is proud to represent the HBCU graduate experience and the unique concerns that attend it.

 

Meredith Farmer is an Assistant Teaching Professor of English and the Center of Energy, Environment, and Sustainability at Wake Forest University. Her current project, Melville’s Leaks: Science, Materialism, and the Reconstitution of Persons, is under advance contract with Northwestern University Press. She is also at work on two editorial projects: a collection titled Rethinking Ahab: Melville and the Materialist Turn and a special issue of Leviathan on “Melville and Materialisms.” Her next project will be focused on the “American Storm Controversy,” hurricanes, and attempts to model climate change in the nineteenth century.  As a member of CSGSP she is especially passionate about work to support student and adjunct laborers, raising awareness about different kinds of public humanities projects, and developing a revised and visible set of best practices for search committees in the era of online interviews. (Twitter: @farmerm)

 

Kaya Forrest

Kayla Forrest is originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, and she received an MA in English from North Carolina State University in 2014. She is currently a fourth-year graduate student and teaching assistant at UNC Greensboro, pursuing a PhD in early 20th century American literature. Her research is focused on Paris and how the city was a site of influence for many American writers of the 19th and 20th centuries.

 

Gerard Holmes

Gerard Holmes is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Maryland.  His primary academic interests center on nineteenth-century American Literature, particularly the intersections of poetry with music, natural sound, and industrial sound.  His dissertation examines Emily Dickinson’s writing from the perspective of improvisational practices in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century music and poetry.  With significant professional experience in the nonprofit arts and humanities, Gerard is also interested in diversifying professional opportunities for advanced degree holders in the humanities, and bridging the gap between the academic and nonprofit humanities.

 

Amir Hussain

Amir Hussain is working on his PhD in Comparative Literature at Emory University. His research and teaching interests are in nineteenth century European poetry, twentieth century world poetry, cultural and critical theory, and pedagogy. He has studied abroad at Freie Universität Berlin and Universität Leipzig in Germany. Prior to his PhD program, he completed an MFA in Creative Writing with a focus on poetry and cultural studies at the University of Minnesota.

 

Andrés Rabinovich (co-chair) is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Kansas. His research revolves around the representation of sports in Contemporary Latin American Southern Cone with a focus on the link between sports and affect as it pertains to political agency. He was both first-year representative as well as president of the Graduate Student Association of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Kansas. In the CSGSP, Andrés plans to use his experience in student organizations to represent graduate students across the country and to give a voice to international graduate students in North American academia. (Twitter: @AndresRabinovi2)

 

Kristina Reardon is the associate director of the Center for Writing at the College of the Holy Cross, where she teaches composition courses, runs the peer writing center, the Writer’s Workshop, and does faculty outreach on teaching writing. She is also a Ph.D. candidate in comparative literary and cultural studies at the University of Connecticut. Her dissertation focuses on the use of comedy in World War I era writing, and her composition work focuses on translation as a lens for student reflection on the writing process.

 

Niko Tracksdorf received his Ph.D. in Literatures, Cultures and Languages from the University of Connecticut in 2017. He is currently the Coordinator of the German International Engineering Program (IEP) and part-time faculty member in German at the University of Rhode Island. His research interests include interdisciplinary language teaching, intercultural competence, and online and blended learning. Working for dual degree program in German and Engineering, his research and teaching currently focus on the intersections of language and culture education and STEM.

The Embodied Grad Student in Relation: A CSGSH Roundtable at #MLA19

Join CSGSH at session 330: The Embodied Grad Student in Relation on Friday, January 4 at 3:30 PM — Hyatt Regency Chicago, “Columbus KL.” This roundtable is included in the presidential theme, Textual Transactions.

In this roundtable, panelists consider the importance of various forms of self-making, kinship, coalition, and allyship within the graduate student experience. With an attention to concepts of power and notions of identity, they explore how we survive and thrive in the academy variously as individuals, as part of communities, and in relation to how we approach, read, and learn from objects of study such as literary texts and theory.

Featured Panelists: 

Kristen Angierski (Cornell University) considers how communal eating functions, and sometimes hilariously malfunctions, within graduate communities. Drawing on her embodied experience as a vegan graduate student writing a vegan dissertation, she examines the personal-political act of eating-in-relation to those with different ethical commitments, arguing for the renunciation of ethical “purity discourse” that drains the act of eating of its complexity and creates binaries where there could be, per Haraway, “tentacular thinking” – and maybe even humor.

Diana Arterian (University of Southern California) opens a dialog on approaches to facing the intense life events that we inevitably encounter during our graduate work. She uses her own experiences of trying to locate the ability to care for self while engaging with issues that arose during her studies to push against the general approach of “working through” it to question how we can carve out time to be human in a space that often requires superhuman behavior.

Soh Yeun Kim (University of Washington) will talk about her experiences of self-fashioning as a minority and international graduate student and leader. She will discuss how she sought engagement with university leadership and community service out of desperation to build a stronger coalition and allyship among and for underrepresented students, out of a desire to connect her academic research with the community, and out of a need to address issues of structural racism, marginalization, and microagression from within the university system to discuss the significance and need for advocacy and coalition-building for vulnerable graduate students.

Adena Rivera-Dundas (University of Texas at Austin) discusses the contentious history of incorporating the personal into the scholarly by considering how much of herself to put in her own writing. By considering her dissertation and comparing scholars’ incorporations of theory into the personal, she discusses the evolution of scholarly and literary communities which expand the definition of self into one which incorporates and is incorporated into the world around us, a world which includes the grad student.

Sarah Shelton (University of Texas at Arlington) considers how breaking both of her ankles (months apart) and one wrist the same year she was hoping to graduate helped her to make stronger personal connections with her areas of studies in fat studies and posthumanism while questioning the lingering ableism and privilege in her theory/praxis. She discusses how her experiences lead to more nuanced understandings that helped her open up to and depend more on her graduate student community while figuring out how to navigate the last leg of the graduate student journey.

Rhonda Shanks (University of British Columbia) explores the fraught and burgeoning relationships between academic writing, spiritual labour, and public scholarship to trace the genealogy of a project of reading Black Feminist texts as a sacred practice. She presents the story of the limits of listening and the possibilities of a failure that keeps trying, of imagining alliances through old and new registers and through ruptures and disruptions of form, and of gradually attuning to the places, objects, and affective relationships that both bar listening and become the conditions of its possibility.

Who Are We and What Do We Do? Meet the 2017-2018 Members of the CSGSP!

Meet the 2017-2018 members of the Committee on the Status of Graduate Students in the Profession! As CSGSP members, we are appointed via nomination and serve for a three-year period. We are graduate students and recent PhDs at various points in our graduate school careers, and we are dedicated to advocating for graduate students.

On 12-13 October 2017, the CSGSP held its annual organizing meeting. During that meeting, our agenda included:

  • Providing campus updates to bring awareness to issues that graduate students currently face (including issues relating to labor and unionization, safety, and finances)
  • Organizing panels and social events for grad students at the 2018 convention in New York (this year’s panels include: “Interviews in the Digital Age,” “Possibilities of Public Humanities,” and “Precarity and Activism”)
  • Proposing committee panels for the 2019 convention in Chicago (CFP’s forthcoming!)
  • Meeting with MLA executive director Paula Krebs to discuss graduate student concerns and the resources that MLA can offer them
  • Planning future projects to benefit grad students and to advocate for their needs

Please feel free to reach out to us individually or at csgsp@mla.org with your questions or concerns. You can also connect with us on twitter (@MLAgrads) or meet us in person at the MLA convention where we host the Grad Lounge!

2017-2018 CSGSP Members:

Barbra Chin (co-chair) is a Ph.D. candidate and full-time writing instructor in the Department of English at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Her research explores notions of identity as they relate to nation and community, race (and mixed race), and gender in 19th and early 20th century African American literature, particularly in the writings of Nella Larsen. As a member of the CSGSP, Barbra is committed to providing a voice for and representing the HBCU graduate experience and the unique concerns that attend it. (Twitter: @bchin_19)

 

Lisa Chinn (co-chair) is a Lecturing Fellow in the Thompson Writing Program at Duke. Her research focuses on 20th-century American poetry, particularly post-1945 poetry and its intersection with print and sound cultures. When she’s not researching, writing, or teaching, she is learning how to play the upright bass, likes to run in her Old North Durham neighborhood, and enjoys good cuisine. (Twitter: @LisaChinn1)

 

Meredith Farmer Photo

Meredith Farmer is an Assistant Teaching Professor of English and the Center of Energy, Environment, and Sustainability at Wake Forest University. Her current project, Melville’s Leaks: Science, Materialism, and the Reconstitution of Persons, is under advance contract with Northwestern University Press. She is also at work on two editorial projects: a collection titled Rethinking Ahab: Melville and the Materialist Turn and a special issue of Leviathan on “Melville and Materialisms.” Her next project will be focused on the “American Storm Controversy,” hurricanes, and attempts to model climate change in the nineteenth century.  As a member of CSGSP she is especially passionate about work to support student and adjunct laborers, raising awareness about different kinds of public humanities projects, and developing a revised and visible set of best practices for search committees in the era of online interviews. (Twitter: @farmerm)


Andrés Rabinovich is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Kansas. His research revolves around the representation of sports in Contemporary Latin American Southern Cone with a focus on the link between sports and affect as it pertains to political agency. He was both first-year representative as well as president of the Graduate Student Association of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Kansas. In the CSGSP, Andrés plans to use his experience in student organizations to represent graduate students across the country and to give a voice to international graduate students in North American academia. (Twitter: @AndresRabinovi2)


Kristina Reardon is the associate director of the Center for Writing at the College of the Holy Cross, where she teaches composition courses, runs the peer writing center, the Writer’s Workshop, and does faculty outreach on teaching writing. She is also a Ph.D. candidate in comparative literary and cultural studies at the University of Connecticut. Her dissertation focuses on the use of comedy in World War I era writing, and her composition work focuses on translation as a lens for student reflection on the writing process.

 Niko Tracksdorf Photo

Niko Tracksdorf received his Ph.D. in Literatures, Cultures and Languages from the University of Connecticut in 2017. He is currently the Coordinator of the German International Engineering Program (IEP) and part-time faculty member in German at the University of Rhode Island. His research interests include interdisciplinary language teaching, intercultural competence, and online and blended learning. Working for dual degree program in German and Engineering, his research and teaching currently focus on the intersections of language and culture education and STEM.

 

Christine “Xine” Yao is currently a SSHRC postdoc in English at the University of British Columbia and starting in September 2018 she will be a Lecturer in English at University College London. She earned her PhD in English, American Studies, and Feminism, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Cornell University. She is working on a book project about the racial and sexual cultural politics of unfeeling in nineteenth-century America. In her advocacy work Xine is especially interested in the precarity of graduate student labor and issues facing women and people of color in the university. She’s the co-host of PhDivas, an iTunes podcast about academia, culture, and social justice across the STEM/humanities divide. (Twitter: @yao_christine)