Undergraduate Major Spends a Research Summer at Yale

UC Berkeley is famous for inspiring its undergraduates to pursue advanced degrees in graduate school, and the English Department is no exception. Senior English major Ana Schwartz, one of the department’s very promising young scholars, spent this past summer participating in Yale University’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, where she was funded by the Leadership Alliance, a program that helps to...

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We’ll Take a Cup O’ Kindness Yet…

The English Department wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday. As the students depart for winter break, the department blog is also taking a short hiatus. We will be back online with our weekly Sunday posts (and an all new lay-out!) starting January 4, 2009. Until then, we leave with you a classic holiday poem: Robert Burns’ “Auld Lang Syne.”...

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Reading Recommendations: Children’s Lit

In what follows, Ph.D. candidate Natalia Cecire offers what she calls an “idiosyncratic list of recent (i.e. from the last ten years) children’s fiction that I’ve enjoyed, with a bias toward fantasy.” Natalia is the co-founder of the Children’s Literature Working Group and offers these recommendations as suggestions either to get your young niece or nephew into good but entertaining...

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The Importance of Being “Ernest”

The following is an account, written by first-year student Marsha Polovets, about the Freshman Seminar she took this semester. Freshman and Sophomore seminars are one-credit courses given by a faculty member to a small group of lower-division students to explore a scholarly topic of mutual interest together. Marsha has been enrolled in Professor Katherine Snyder’s “Rethinking Hemingway” course which focused...

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Passed from one mouth to another

PASSED FROM ONE MOUTH TO ANOTHER.* (a poetry event featuring UCB grad students) Cecil Giscombe’s English 243 class presents an evening of poetry and song along with food prepared by the poets. Graduate students Anthony Bello, Rachel Carden, Rebecca Gaydos, Nikhil Govind, Mariah Hamilton, Charity Ketz, Gillian Osborne, Samia Rahimtoola, Robert Reyes, and Rachel Wamsley will read, sing, and recite....

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Faculty/Graduate Colloquium — Modernism: Material, Spectral, Aural

In what follows, second-year graduate student Juliana Chow, one of this year’s organizers for the English Graduate Association’s series of colloquia, reports on a recent department event, entitled Modernism: Material, Spectral, Aural. *** Rubbish, refuse, trash. Noise, static, din. I know when I go to talks, I’m supposed to be able to make sense of all the words flung out...

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Distinguished Alumni Series Kicks Off: Peter Chernin

Peter Chernin (BA, English, 1974) serves as President and Chief Operating Officer of News Corporation, and Chairman and CEO of the Fox Group. He has overseen Fox’s tremendous growth in sports, cable, and entertainment programming, and gained a reputation as an executive with a unique mastery of the creative side of the business. Mr. Chernin is also Chairman of Malaria...

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Literature and the Environment

In what follows, fourth-year English major Stacy Lee gives a brief meditation on what is it like to balance a study of literature with her second major, Conservation & Resource Studies.*** When I see aching beauty in T. S. Eliot’s verses or understand why a no-till system is beneficial for soil fertility, I get the same kind of joy in...

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English Dept Teaching at San Quentin Correctional Facility

In what follows, Annie McClanahan, a sixth-year PhD student in the English Department, gives a brief overview of her teaching at San Quentin Correctional Facility. This is the first of a number of posts about the English Department’s involvement with the program. In the future, both Annie and other members of the department will report specific stories from their classes...

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Undergraduate English Major Combines Literature and Medicine

Medical school is not necessarily the “traditional” career path of English majors, but department alumna Elana Shpall, who graduated in 2007, has found a program that allows her to combine her humanist interests with research in science and medicine. Unsurprisingly, this forward-thinking course of study is the Joint Medical Program at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health and the UCSF...

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Michael McClure, Holloway Reading

The following is the introduction which fourth-year graduate student Megan Pugh gave for poet Michael McClure on 14 October 2008. A podcast of the reading that followed will soon be posted here. *** I’m honored to introduce Michael McClure. McClure’s one of our most exciting and prolific poets, and has written some 20 plays and 14 books of poetry since...

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Summer Travel Tales

The beginning of the fall semester means that members of our department make their way back to Berkeley from many corners of the globe. Though many students and faculty stay around campus in the summer, there are just as many that jet off to far-away places to learn, study, research or, sometimes, just to have fun. In fact, two grad...

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Beat Poet Michael McClure Reads at Berkeley

As part of this year’s Holloway Series in Poetry, Michael McClure will be reading on October 14th. This is the second year in a row that McClure has “performed” at UC Berkeley. Last year, he was a guest lecturer in Lyn Hejinian’s undergraduate survey course, ENG 45C: Literature in English from the late Ninteenth Century to the Present. As always,...

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Our New Faculty

  The start of this academic year has been especially exciting here at Berkeley because we begin with six new faculty members, five of which are new Assistant Professors! Below is some brief info about these new junior faculty. Namwali Serpell recently received her PhD from the Harvard English Department for a dissertation called “The Ethics of Uncertainty: Reading Twentieth-Century...

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Welcome to the English Department Online!

In an article in the September 7 issue of The New York Times Magazine, entitled “Brave New World of Digital Intimacy,” Clive Thompson discusses the way that a rise in social networking applications is (unsurprisingly) changing the kinds of relationships we are having. He points out that web applications like Facebook and Twitter explodes the number of “weak ties” –...

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