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2012-2013 Events

Fall 2012 was a great semester for CALS, which acted as a sponsor for two symposiums on Early American studies as well as a public marathon read of Joseph Heller's Catch-22. Spring 2013 continued the trend with many more interesting scholarly events, including the annual Community Read and Spring Symposium.

2013 Spring Symposium: Nerds, Wonks, and Neo-Cons
April 29, 2013

This symposium explored and complicated the history of intellectualism in the contemporary U.S. and elsewhere.  It looked beyond the scholarly tendency to idealize intellectual activity as the work of Zola-esque figures heroically wielding their pens in the face of corruption and intolerance in order to instead explore other models and practices of learnedness, reflection, knowledge production, and opinion circulation in the contemporary world.


Caramelo in the Classroom: Approaches to Teaching Ethnic American Literatures
March 14, 2013

This roundtable used Sandra Cisneros’s novel Caramelo, the 2013 community read selection, as a touchstone for a broader discussion on approaches to teaching ethnic American literatures. The discussion featured three panelists-- Lorraine Lopez, award-winning Latina writer and Associate Professor of English at Vanderbilt University, as well as Penn State professors Toni Jensen and Tina Chen--as well as a general discussion between the panelists and the audience.

Lorraine Lopez Reading
March 14, 2013

As a part of the 2013 CALS/CCR Community Read, Lorraine Lopez, award-winning Latina writer and Associate Professor of English at Vanderbilt University, will gave a reading of a recent work-in-progress.  Professor Lopez’s short story collection, Soy la Avon Lady and Other Stories (2002) won the inaugural Miguel Marmól prize for fiction.  Her second book, Call Me Henri , was awarded the Paterson Prize for Young Adult Literature in 2007, and her novel The Gifted Gabaldón Sisters was a Borders/Las Comadres Selection for the month of November in 2008.  In 2010, her short story collection Homicide Survivors Picnic and Other Stories was a Finalist for the prestigious PEN/Faulkner Prize.  Lopez’s recent publications include a novel, The Realm of Hungry Spirits (2011), and a collection of essays, The Other Latin@: Writing against a Singular Identity (2012), coedited with Blas Falconer.

Turn, Turn, Turn: A CALS Symposium
October 8, 2012

In the past decade literary studies has undergone a series of field redefinitions that have been characterized as "turns," including (but far from limited to) the spatial, temporal, postnational, hemispheric, secular, and ethical turns. Symposium participants reflected theoretically and methodologically on the moments in which the field of literary studies seems to gather itself and venture in presumably new directions--when momentums shift, when an approach practiced by a few becomes a movement, when there is impetus for change in a field.

Rising Early: An Imaginary Vistas Symposium
November 2 and 3, 2012

The concept of "earliness" that animates the symposium encouraged a variety of conversations: literature from the early American period; the origins of key critical ideas (global awareness, sexuality, affiliative communities); ideas about critical inclusion (earlier critics of literature, earlier theories, approaches, and values); questions of history, memory, and historicist practice; questions about periodization as a practice; even thoughts about the focus on (or fetish for) contemporaneity.

Marathon Reading of Catch-22
September 13-14, 2012

From 1 pm on September 13 through 1 pm on the 14th, students, faculty, and community members were engaged in a public marathon reading of Joseph Heller's Catch-22. Heller began writing the book while employed as a teacher of first-year writing at Penn State from 1950-52. Many members of the Penn State community, from Sue Paterno to members of the men's and women's basketball teams to Dean Susan Welch, volunteered their time to read a portion of the novel aloud to eager onlookers. A steady crowd remained throughout the night and the next day, providing the center of Penn State's campus with an exciting public literary event.