For 2013-14 Reading Group proposal guidelines, click here.
Reading Groups: 2012-13
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.
American Religious History Reading Group
This reading group is designed for scholars interested in America’s religious history. The perspectives of scholars from all disciplines—religion, history, English, communication, and education, among others— are welcomed. Group members select books or articles on the history of religion in America and discuss them at meetings held approximately monthly throughout the academic year. The reading group may also function as a peer review group for members looking to read and critique each other’s work.
British Modernities Group
The British Modernities Group was established in 2005 to spur critical discussion in British studies across period boundaries. It discusses recent literary scholarship, workshops group members’ original work, and organizes an annual graduate student conference. Our 2012-2013 theme, “Digital Humanities,” explores recent technology-driven changes in scholarly communication, computational approaches to texts and archives, and new media. Issues of copyright, data-driven research, national literary boundaries, and the global scholarly community will also be addressed.
The contemporary mind-sciences: implications for the humanities and interpretive theory
Melissa Littlefield, English/Kinesiology and Community Health (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Bruce Michelson, English/Campus Honors Program (email@example.com)
In many disciplines on this campus, there are scholars and graduate students curious about the possible impact and the larger-scale consequences not only of provocative new research in the neurosciences, but also of broad audience interpretation of that research. Meeting in conjunction with other activities and special events made possible by INTERSECT funding from the UI Graduate College, this reading group will bring people interested faculty and students together for informal dialogue on these issues. New research in the neurosciences is voluminous, esoteric, and fast-evolving. We intend to keep the readings concise, manageable, and timely -- and to concentrate on cross-disciplinary conversation about what might be impending, with regard to assumptions about consciousness, mind, and scholarly practice in an array of scholarly realms, including the humanities and social sciences.
Critical Inquiry of Spatial Perspectives
Sara Alsum-Wassenaar, MFA New Media, Art and Design (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Exploring: the politics behind the division of space, representations of space and the critical discourses surrounding these issues. Interested in: map making, art making, tourism, and decision making in regards to designing space. Looking for: an interdisciplinary group studying history, the arts, geography,
anthropology, psychology, etc. Activities: hosting guest speakers, taking tours, and discussing. When: 1st and 3rd Tuesday nights.
Readings will include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Thinkers: Denis Woods, Bruno Latour, and Manuel Castells
- Texts: Deterritorialisations…Revisioning Landscape and Politics, ELSE/WHERE: Mapping New Cartographies of Networks and Territories, and Experimental Geography
- Projects: Center for Urban Pedagogy, Civic Studio, and Temporary Travel Office
Danville Critical Studies Reading Group
Peter Odell Campbell, Department of Communication, Education Justice Project, UIUC (email@example.com)
Anne E. Parsons, Department of History (UIC), Education Justice Project, UIUC (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This reading group will be a space for critical humanistic intellectual discussion among UIUC students and faculty on campus, and UIUC Education Justice Project students in the Danville Correctional Facility. Meetings will be held on campus with remote EJP student participation, and inside DCC. Group members will collectively develop a reading schedule and invite guest speakers on topics that address intersecting participant research interests, including performance studies; race, gender, and queer studies; incarceration; and education.
Jonathan Stone, English, Center for Writing Studies (email@example.com)
Melissa Larabee, English, Center for Writing Studies (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Kaitlin Marks-Dubbs, English, Center for Writing Studies (email@example.com)
Organized around the theme of digital literacies, this reading group invites participants to engage in an interdisciplinary conversation on how digital media have been taken up in fields such as writing studies, art and design, informatics, communication, and rhetorical studies, among others. With digital literacies, we do not signal only competence in the skills necessary to operate a computer. Instead we argue that the ability to read, compose, and communicate electronically has become essential to literate activity.
Dynamics of Language Variation and Change
East European Reading Group (EERG)
Zsuzsanna Magdo, History (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The purpose of the EERG is to provide a space for faculty and graduate students from across all disciplines concentrating on the area of Eastern Europe to meet and discuss the most recent scholarly works and cultural productions coming from the region today. Additionally, the EERG offers students and faculty a venue in which to discuss their recent work and to receive feedback from their peers that cuts across disciplinary boundaries.
Nikos Vergis, Linguistics (email@example.com)
Nyssa Bulkes, Linguistics (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Experimental Pragmatics is a new interdisciplinary field at the interface of semantics, pragmatics and psycholinguistics. Its aim is to test the predictions of theories of meaning and refine our understanding of how humans construct and construe meaning. This is done through the use of methodologies developed in psycholinguistics and psychology. The goal of the reading group is to draw attention to the latest developments in the field of Experimental Pragmatics through discussions of the latest published research.
Josh Levy, History (email@example.com)
Kyle T. Mays, History (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This group meets monthly to discuss recent studies on indigenous populations throughout the world. We are interested in broad questions that allow us to compare the historical and contemporary experiences of indigenous populations. For instance, on what grounds can we compare indigenous peoples’ experiences with Western nation-states? How have indigenous peoples maintained sovereignty and autonomy while dealing with centuries of western empire? What mechanisms have indigenous peoples used to construct their own definitions of indigeneity in an age of globalization? We take a comparative, interdisciplinary approach to explore these questions, focusing on the ways in which the concept of indigeneity operates in a global context. Faculty and graduate students from any discipline are welcome.
History of Education reading group
The goal of the History of Education reading group is to strengthen research and writing techniques for publication(s) through interdisciplinary collaborative efforts to gain better understandings of historical methodology and developments. The group will meet regularly to read works in-progress and provide critical feedback to participants. Research topics vary widely, ranging from 18th century colonial schooling to more recent concerns relating to student access and educational assessments. Students from other disciplines are welcomed.
INCLUSIONS AND EXCLUSIONS in Social Community & Organizational Informatics
Sharon Irish, Graduate School of Library and Information Science (email@example.com)
Tad Andracki, Graduate School of Library and Information Science (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Charlotte Roh, Graduate School of Library and Information Science (email@example.com)
Key goals are to share and refine concrete tools broadly related to informatics for constructive discussions of racism and diversity. We want to ensure that policies are not substituted for action, as Sara Ahmed notes in her new book. In addition to reading excerpts from Ahmed’s On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life and other publications, we will evaluate websites, watch videos, critique diversity plans, and engage in other activities recommended by participants.
Japanese Film and Society (formerly “Japanese Film Reading Group”)
John Wheeler, East Asian Languages and Cultures (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Description: This group will meet 2-3 times a month for a film screening and discussion. The theme for the first semester is “Japanese film after the bubble,” examining how the film industry and society at large changed after the beginning of the recession in 1991, and how those changes are reflected in film. Pertinent readings will be distributed before each screening. Prior knowledge of Japanese cinema or film studies in general not required.
The Korea Workshop Reading Group
Nancy Abelmann, Anthropology, Asian American Studies, EALC (email@example.com)
Jungwon Kim, EALC, History (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Elizabeth LaCouture, Korean Family in Comparative Perspective Postdoctoral Fellow (email@example.com)
Erica Vogel, Anthropology, CEAPS, EALC, Korea Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Korea Workshop meets circa 15 times/year to discuss in-progress papers of both offand on-campus scholars of Korea. In conjunction with the Korean Family in Comparative Perspective Laboratory for the Globalization of Korean Studies (supported by the Academy of Korean Studies) (2011-) many of the sessions focus on comparative family issues across East Asia. We welcome newcomers to the group. Please feel most free to reach any of the organizers about the group.
Korean History Reading Group
This group explores recent works on Korean history, especially from the fourteenth century to the twentieth century. Japanese colonization (1910-1945) of Korea impacted both Korean society and modern Korean studies. We draw attention to the way in which modern scholarship projects traditional Korean society and their reaction to the colonial modernization. Reading materials are journal articles or excerpts from books. Occasionally participants present their recent researches and receive feedback. We meet bi-weekly.
Labor and Working Class History Reading Group
We meet monthly to discuss our own works-in-progress.Our focus has been on constructions of race and social class in North America, but we welcome work on other geographic areas. Research topics vary widely, from the relationship between “whiteness” and ethnicity to the role of space in shaping identity, material resources, and activism. We welcome any work relating to class and its intersections with race, gender, sexuality, religion, and other categories of analysis.
Multiculturalism, Diversity, Globalization or Something Else? Examining the Intersection of International and Domestic Minority Students as American Higher Education Internationalizes
Lucinda Morgan, Educational Policy Studies (email@example.com)
This group seeks to better understand multiculturalism, diversity, and globalization through an examination of the intersection of international students and domestic minority students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Our goal is to investigate how we consider domestic minority students and international students in ways that both preserve unique identities and consider their relationships in terms of multiculturalism in the era of globalization.
We intend to meet bi-monthly at a time that is convenient for the majority of group members. By reading multi-disciplinary literature (education, sociology, engineering, anthropology, etc.) and engaging critical dialogue among faculty and graduate students, we will better understand the new contact zone between international students and domestic minority students as well as the evolving meanings of ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘globalization’.
Philosophical Foundations of Critical Theory
Okla Elliott, Comparative and World Literature (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Matt Nelson, Comparative and World Literature (email@example.com)
Nancy Blake, Faculty Advisor, Comparative and World Literature (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Contemporary critical theory draws on a set of classic philosophical texts which are oft-cited but rarely read in their entirety. The goal (for Fall 2012) of this reading group will be to read the following foundational texts cover-to-cover and word-for-word, with frequent reference to the original languages: Marx's Capital, de Beauvoir's The Second Sex, and Sartre's Critique of Dialectical Reason. To frame our discussion of these texts, we will use Continental Philosophy: A Critical Approach, by UIUC's own William Schroeder, which situates these and other works in the larger tradition of continental philosophy and critical theory. Meetings will be biweekly and are open to faculty, graduate students, staff members, and undergraduates.
World Histories From Below
The World Histories From Below reading group meets monthly to discuss readings that make visible micro processes by which historical events with "global" significance take place. This year we will foreground the local through the themes of shelter, basic needs, and the power relations involved in their provision. Tentative topics include informal housing, urban planning as engaged from below, and patterns of carceral shelter across space and time, among others.
We begin September 19, 2012 at 3 pm, Room TBA, with a discussion of Mike Davis’s Planet of Slums.
Youth, Literature, and Culture
Deborah Stevenson, Graduate School of Library and Information Science (email@example.com)
Hosted by the Center for Children’s Books, this is a research workshop and reading group that explores youth literature, media, and culture from a variety of disciplinary perspectives and draws scholars from library science, education, English literature, and other departments. The group, which draws from a number of universities in the region, meets several times per semester to share and encourage new critical work by its members and to reflect on significant trends and publications.
Proposed activities for next year: Meetings, which will occur two or three times per semester, are expected to include presentations on two projected GSLIS research projects, an exploration of the work of our visiting Gryphon lecturer, and a workshop treatment of a doctoral student’s dissertation proposal, as well as other topics and presentations TBA.