Current Reading Groups

The following faculty and graduate student reading groups meet regularly throughout the year and may organize public events on topics of interest to a broad range of disciplines.

Please contact the reading group organizers (listed below) directly for more information about the groups and their activities.

The Animal Turn: Critical Dimensions of Engaging the "Non-human Animal" Across Multiple Disciplines

Jamie Jones English
Jane Desmond Anthropology and Gender and Women's Studies

We invite researchers from the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, including those whose research considers mass extinction and other problems of the Anthropocene, to address the challenges of the emergent "question of the animal" (following Derrida) in re-defining the scholarly work we do. Recognizing the categories of "human" and "animal" as historically co-constituent, and culturally contingent, we will read together, view films, and share critiques on members' works. Monthly meetings and possible local fieldtrips.

British Modernitites Group -- Stranger Things: The Weird, the Paranormal, and the Problem of Belief

Patrick Kimutis English
Sabrina Lee English

In its 13th year, the British Modernities Reading Group will focus on the theme “Stranger Things: the Weird, the Paranormal, and the Problem of Belief.” Welcoming scholars of all disciplines, we will read a range of texts, including fiction and critical theory, that deal broadly with issues such as the supernatural, the weird, the post-human, and the monstrous. This reading group will culminate in the annual BMG graduate student conference in the spring of 2018.

The British Modernitites Group Website

The Future of Trauma and Memory Studies

Naomi Taub English
Helen Makhdoumian English
Brett Kaplan Comparative and World Literature

This multidisciplinary group will meet regularly to discuss readings in the fields of trauma and memory studies as well as our own works-in-progress. Readings will explore several relevant areas including affect theory, neuroscience, media and visual culture, disability studies, transnational and postcolonial populations, as well as the politics of memorialization and cultures of law. We will also organize public on-campus events related to our key themes including film screenings, professional panels, and interactive readings.

The Future of Trauma and Memory Facebook Group

Genre Theory and Practice in the Twenty-First Century

Lindsay Rose Russell English
Derrick R. Spires English

“Genre Theory and Practice in the Twenty-First Century” explores the cross-disciplinary concept of genre, focusing in particular on questions of genre creation, criticism, and activism. Where do genres come from and who “gets” to define them? Can genres be changed in light of critical participants seeking to construct a different set of social expectations and interactions? The group’s events will be open to all faculty and students interested in genre studies.

Inclusive Pedagogies

Clara Bosak-Schroeder Classics
Jamie Jones English
Esti Ezkerra Comparative and World Literature

Inclusive pedagogies attend to the diverse cultural backgrounds, identities, and bodies of students to promote a learning environment in which all can flourish. The Inclusive Pedagogies Reading Group provides a monthly forum for instructors and interested students at UIUC to read pedagogical scholarship and discuss our own experiences of teaching and learning.

Intersectionality within the Sciences

David Stevens Chemistry
Aastha Sharma Chemistry
Dr. Anna-Maria Marshall Sociology

Affiliated with the Science Policy Group, this reading group will focus on intersectionality in science education and policy. Introducing readings from critical race theory and feminism, we will examine how the inclusion and exclusion of marginalized groups shapes STEM education and scientific policy-making. Open to both undergraduates and graduate students, participants need no background in social sciences or cultural studies. We will have bimonthly meetings to discuss the readings with guest lecturers in the field.

Intersectionality within the Sciences website

Medieval Latin Reading Group

Kent Navalesi History
Michael Brinks History

This group meets regularly to translate Latin texts from the medieval period (c. 300-1500 CE). Group participants will provide the readings, which can be sources for course work, dissertation research or just for fun. Texts of all genres, geographical areas and religious affiliations are welcome. The purpose of this group, beyond improving participants’ translation skills, is to provide a forum in which medievalists of all departments can socialize and discuss their research.

The Medieval Studies Reading Group

Elizabeth Matresse English

The Medieval Studies Reading Group aims to expose students to a global perspective of the Middle Ages. Our goal is to give our members the opportunity to interact with materials not typically encountered during coursework. The reading group will meet three times per semester for a discussion guided by a faculty member or a graduate student volunteer. Prior to each meeting, the text will be emailed out to all interested parties.

New Materialism Research Unit II

Michael Uhall Political Science

The new materialisms are a family of philosophical and theoretical critiques, engagements, and revisions of the categories of matter and materiality across disciplinary boundaries. Our purpose is to encounter and discuss new materialist readings in an informal, yet rigorous fashion. We will meet between four and six times to read selections from texts by #accelerate, Laboria Cuboniks, Jean Epstein, Mark Fisher, François Laruelle, Reza Negarestani, Gilbert Simondon, Étienne Souriau, Elizabeth A. Wilson, and others.

New Materialisms Research Unit

Prosody Modeling

Chilin Shih East Asian Lanuages and Cultures / Linguistics
Shuju Shih Linguistics
Yinglun Sun Linguistics

Prosody modeling is the link between the linguistic analysis of prosody, including tone, accent, intonation, as well as speech rhythm, and applications of language and speech technologies that require the generation of prosody or the differentiation of subtle differences in prosody between groups of speakers. This reading group will focus on multi-disciplinary approaches to prosody modeling, focusing on both fundational literature and state-of-the-art development.

Reading Feyerabend Closely

Michael Uhall Political Science

We intend to read closely through the major monographs and papers of the philosopher of science Paul K. Feyerabend. In Fall 2017, we’ll start with some early papers and conclude with his most famous monograph, Against Method. During winter break, we’ll read his autobiography Killing Time. In Spring 2018, we’ll turn to Feyerabend's more radical writings, including Conquest of Abundance, Farewell to Reason, and Philosophy of Nature. Humanists, natural scientists, social scientists: all are welcome.

Social Dynamics of Language Variation and Change Seminar/Reading Group

Anna Maria Escobar Spanish and Portuguese
Zsuzsanna Fagyal French and Italian
Joseph Roy School of Literature, Culture, and Linguistics
Gyula Zsombok French and Italian

The goal is to discuss the social and linguistic dynamics of how language change takes place in different social scenarios, particularly in dialect contact and in language in contact with indigenous and immigrant languages. Our focus is the rise of linguistic innovations, new norms, and social identities. Our weekly meetings are informal, supportive, and include opportunities to present work in progress.

The Social Dynamics of Language Variation and Change 2016 - 2017 IPRH Reading Group / Seminar Wiki

Theatre Table Reading Group

Hilary J. Gross English
Jennifer L.S. Scheier Theatre
Kelsey N. Fenske Theatre
Susan A. Bywaters Theatre

This reading group will meet monthly to read a theatrical text aloud, followed by an interdisciplinary critical discussion. By reading aloud, we will better access the performative and aural nature of dramatic text, and foster a campus-wide community for the study of theatre transgressing period, geographic, and disciplinary boundaries. This year we will be focusing on paradigm shifts in concepts of female subjectivity and/or authorship.

Theatre Table Reading Group Webpage

Trans/Gender Studies Reading Group

Kadin Henningsen English
Dilara Caliskan Anthropology

The Trans/Gender Studies Reading Group is a transdisciplinary group of faculty and graduate students working in the emerging field of Transgender Studies. The group meets monthly to engage with current scholarship related to transgender experiences, history, literature, and methodologies, and consider how these conversations might inform our own research projects. Readings and themes will be selected by the group based on group interests, and may include circulating/workshopping original scholarship by group participants.

Trans/Gender Studies Reading Group Facebook Group

Transnational Sexuality Studies

C. L. Green History
Olivia M. Hagedorn History

This group considers the ways sexuality functions as both subject and mode of analysis as it informs methodological approaches to the study of history in any of its valences. At a nexus of studies of race, gender, and (post)colonialisms, topics include indigeneity, the black radical tradition, histories of the global south, women of color feminisms, and queer readings of history. Depending on members’ interests, readings will draw from history, literature, philosophy, and anthropology.