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Recent Events


A Conversation with Ruth Ozeki and Chang-rae Lee
Moderated by Anne Cheng and Sarah Chihaya
Tuesday, April 28th, 2015
@ 4:30 PM
50 McCosh Hall (Entry #5)

See here for more information

Sarah Chihaya, Chang-rae Lee, Anne Cheng, Ruth Ozeki, and Jacquelyn Alexander (of J. Alexander Fund for Japanese American Studies)

AMS Graduate Student Salon with Sean Beienburg, Justene Hill, and Emily Prifogle

 Friday, April 24

210 Dickinson Hall

12:00-2:00 (lunch will be served)

Rsvp to Candice Kessel, or 258-4710.

Frames: Jewish Culture and the Comic Book
Princeton University Conference
April 9 and 10, 2015

For more information

Brian Jones

Keys to the Schoolhouse: Black Teachers, Privatization, and the Future of Teachers Unions

April 8
4:30 pm
Friend Center 006

Sponsored by the Program in Teacher Preparation

Tracy and Larry at Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum taken by Douglas Biklen

Wretches and Jabberers

Tuesday March 31, 2015  at 4:30pm at McCormick Hall 101

Oscar® winner and twice Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker, Gerardine Wurzburg, will screen her compelling feature documentary Wretches & Jabberers. Wurzburg is currently a Visiting Lecturer in the Council of the Humanities and Anschutz Distinguished Fellow in American Studies. Wurzburg's inspiring documentary chronicles the world travels of disability rights advocates, Tracy Thresher and Larry Bissonnette, in a bold quest to change attitudes about the intelligence and abilities of people with autism.

In the film, Tracy and Larry take to the road to promote awareness of the hidden intelligence in those who face speech and communication challenges, connecting with others like them across the globe who struggle to find a means of expression. Tracy, Larry and their support team, Harvey Lavoy and Pascal Cheng, visit Sri Lanka, Japan and Finland, giving interviews and presentations and learning about the lives of people with autism in these countries. Viewers share in their eye-opening experiences as the men negotiate the terrain of travel, culture and new friendships on what they aptly named The World Intelligence Magnified Tour.

All four men will engage in a conversation with the audience following the screening.

Cosponsored by the Program in Teacher Preparation
Supported by the generous gift of Philip F. Anschutz and family
free and open to the public

March 30
4:30 pm
010 East Pyne

Lisa Lowe
Professor of English and American Studies
Tufts University

The Intimacies of Four Continents

Lisa Lowe is Professor of English and American Studies at Tufts University. Prior to joining Tufts in 2012, she taught at Yale University, and at the University of California, San Diego.  She began as a scholar of comparative literature, and much of her work focuses on the literatures of encounter that emerge from histories of colonialism, immigration, and globalization, including French and British postcolonial literatures and Asian American literatures. She is the recipient of awards and fellowships from the Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and Fulbright Foundations, the ACLS, the UC President’s Office, the University of Toronto, and the University of London.  She is author of Critical Terrains: On French and British Orientalisms (Cornell, 1991) and Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics (Duke, 1996), and coeditor of The Politics of Culture in the Shadow of Capital (Duke, 1997). Her most recent book, The Intimacies of Four Continents, will be published by Duke University Press in 2015.
This lecture explores the connections between Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas in the early nineteenth-century, and observes that liberal ideas of emancipation, free labor, free trade, and representative government are deeply implicated in settler colonialism, slavery, trade and empire. Reading literature, colonial archives, and political philosophy, it connects the liberal narrative of freedom overcoming slavery to the expansion of Anglo-American empire, observing that the abstract promise of freedom often obscures its implication in the colonial conditions of trades in goods, ideas, and peoples. 


The 2015 American Studies Graduate Student Conference

March 27 - 28, 2015
Princeton University
Roy Scranton, English Department
Olivier Burtin, History Department

Title: Lightning in a Panel:The American Superhero and the Invention of a Modern Mythology

Join us for a conversation with veteran comics writers Dennis O'Neil, Paul Levitz, Louise and Walter Simonson, and Larry Hama, as they speak on the origins of superhero stories and the proliferation of this genre into film and television. The writers’ contributions have inspired today’s prominent superhero narratives, including the Batman, G.I. Joe, X-Men and Thor films, and the Arrow TV series. Their works explore the dual role of such stories as both modernity myths and historical narratives for a multicultural, technological society. Co-sponsored by the Princeton Writing Program, the Department of English, the Program in American Studies, the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies, the Program in Media + Modernity, and the Council of the Humanities.

Date & Time:
 Friday, March 27, 4:30 - 6:00 PM
Location:  Dodds Auditorium, Robertson Hall
More Info:

March 26, 2015
7:00 pm
James M. Stewart ’32 Theater, 185 Nassau St.
The Overnighters
A screening and discussion with director Jesse Moss
Filmmaker Jesse Moss brings his award-winning documentary The Overnighters to Princeton. In the tiny town of Williston, North Dakota, tens of thousands of unemployed hopefuls show up looking for work, lured by the oil boom’s promise of plentiful jobs and big paychecks. Once there, however, they face the reality of slim prospects and nowhere to sleep. The town lacks the infrastructure to house the newcomers, even those who do find gainful employment. At Concordia Lutheran Church, Pastor Jay Reinke converts his church into a makeshift dorm and counseling center, opening his doors to the “Overnighters” (as he calls them) for a night, a week, or longer. They sleep on the floor, in the pews, and in their cars in the church parking lot. Many who take shelter with Reinke are living on society’s fringes and have checkered pasts, and their presence starts affecting the dynamics of the small community. Reinke’s congregants grow critical and the City Commission threatens to shut the program down, forcing the pastor to make a decision that leads to consequences he never imagined.
The Overnighters dramatizes enduring American themes: the promise and limits of reinvention, redemption, and compassion, as well as the tension between the moral imperative to “love thy neighbor” and the instinct to protect one’s own.
Jesse Moss is a San Francisco-based filmmaker. His previous documentaries include Full Battle Rattle, about the US Army’s fake Iraq in the Mohave Desert; Speedo: A Demolition Derby Love Story, about the career and troubled family life of one of the country’s top demolition derby drivers; and Con Man, which examines the life of James Arthur Hogue, a serial imposter who faked his way into Princeton University. Moss is a lecturer in the Cinema Department at San Francisco State University.
Co-sponsored with the Center for the Study of Religion, the Council of the Humanities, the Department of Sociology, the Lewis Center for the Arts, the Princeton Environmental Film Festival, and the University Center for Human Values.



A Program in Commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Wednesday March 25, 2015 4:30 p.m.
Whig Hall Senate Chamber

Co-sponsored with Whig Clio, and the Princeton-Trenton Chapter of the United Nations Association of the USA 
The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and discriminatory legislation through 1904 set quotas, with grueling immigration interviews and hurdles. This set the stage for a dark era lasting till World War II that restricted Chinese Americans and saw police raids and violent incidents, with Congress issuing an apology in 2012. To commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, a panel will explore the impact of the Chinese Exclusion Act, and lessons for reducing discrimination and easing immigrant integration today. Joining us are two of the foremost scholarly experts on Chinese American Exclusion:

Jack Tchen , Director of the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU, and co-founding director of the Museum of the Chinese in America.

Beth Lew-Williams , Professor of History at Princeton, currently teaches Asian American History and is writing The Chinese Must Go! under contract with Harvard University Press.

Chair & Discussant: Stanley N. Katz is Professor of Public and International Affairs at Princeton, a legal historian, and former president of the Organization of American Historians.

Professors Tchen and Lew-Williams have been advisers to the current
exhibition at the New York Historical Society, which runs through April 19, 2015.

See poster


Where Do We Go From Here?: Fans, Fanfiction and the Media, Publishing, and Entertainment Industries
Wednesday, March 25 - 7: 00 PM to 8: 30 PM
Robertson Hall 100, Dodds Auditorium
Emily Nussbaum, Elizabeth Minkel, Jamie Broadnax, Heidi Tandy, Anne Jamison
Emily Nussbaum, Television critic for The New Yorker
Elizabeth Minkel, Fandom/digital culture columnist at The New Statesman and The Millions
Jamie Broadnax, Creator of the groundbreaking website and podcast Black Girl Nerds
Heidi Tandy, Intellectual Property Attorney and long time fangirl
Anne Jamison, Associate Professor of English, University of Utah, and author of Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking over the World (2013)

Lapidus Family fund Lecture in American Jewish Studies

March 23, 2015
4:30 p.m.
219 Aaron Burr Hall

Golda Meir: American roots, Zionist life
Professor Pnina Lahav, Boston University School of Law

Born in abject poverty in Kiev, Czarist Russia, Golda ended her formidable life as Prime Minister of Israel. This lecture explores the American tissue of her identity.
In 1906, Golda and her family immigrated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There she attended public school, learned English and steeped herself in the progressive culture of the period. By the time she arrived in Palestine in 1922, she was a married woman, an aspiring politician gifted at making connections with her audience, and a passionate follower of Socialist Zionism. Amidst pervasive gender-based discrimination she spent most of her time in the company of men and rose to the top of the Israeli political leadership. In 1969, her party elected her as Prime Minister of Israel, a role that brought her to the White House and secured her a powerful voice on the world stage. The 1973 Yom Kippur War, which occurred on her watch, precipitously ended her career. She died heartbroken, five years later.
The lecture addresses the American fingerprints on Golda’s identity and the impact that major legal developments in the United States during and after World War I had on her emotional and political development. It also covers some crucial milestones for her—her difficult family life, her success at codifying fair labor standards for Israel, and the challenges of navigating Israeli politics between the Six Day and Yom Kippur Wars.
Pnina Lahav is a Professor of Law at Boston University. She is a graduate of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Yale Law School and Boston University. She earned several prestigious fellowships including a Rockefeller Fellowship, a fellowship at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, CA and a fellowship at the Center for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She also served as a Religion Fellow at Boston University’s School of Theology. Professor Lahav has published numerous articles on constitutional law, freedom of expression and women’s rights. Most recently she has been working on the issue of women’s prayers in Judaism and Islam. She is the author of the acclaimed biography Judgment in Jerusalem: Chief Justice Simon Agranat and the Zionist Century (University of California Press, 1997) and the editor of several other volumes. Presently she is working on a biography of Golda Meir through the gender lens.
cosponsored by the Program in Judaic Studies, the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies, and the Program in Law and Public Affairs
free and open to the public

American Confinement:
Race, Visuality, and History in the Quotidan

A Roundtable Discussion Featuring:
Arielle Azoulay, Brown University
Joshua Takano Chambers- Letson, Northwestern University
Linda Gordon, New York University
Eric L. Muller, University of North Carolina, School of Law
Gary Okihiro, Columbia University

Whitman College Black Box Theater
03/11/15 at 4:30 pm

Reception to Follow

Co-Sponsored by the Center for African American Studies, Whitman College, and the Program in American Studies.

Thursday (February 26) at 5:00PM in Betts AuditoriumStudents for Prison Education and Reform, cosponsored by the Program in American Studies and Program in Latino Studies, will be screening the Ken Burns' documentary, The Central Park Fivefollowed by a panel that includes Raymond Santana, one of the wrongfully convicted men featured in the documentary. Since his release, Mr. Santana has become involved in juvenile justice reform (as he was only a child when convicted), particularly advocating for an increase at the age at which juveniles are tried as adults in New York. 
The panel will also feature Craig Levine, the senior counsel for the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and a key figure in juvenile justice reform in New Jersey. Five Mualimm-ak, founder of the Incarcerated Nation Corporation, will also be speaking on the panel. The panelists will discuss the ways that we can make the justice system more humane and effective system for kids, and prevent injustices similar to those that occurred in the case of the Central Park Five. 
A poster is attached to this email.  Further information on the Central Park Five & False Confessions can be found here

Program in American Studie
February 10, 2015
4:30 pm
McCormick Hall 106

Shalini Shankar
Associate Professor and Interim Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Anthropology
Director, Asian American Studies Program
Northwestern University
Assembling Race: Ethnographies of Language and Media Production Among Asian Americans
This talk investigates modalities through which racial and ethnic meanings are produced for mass-mediated circulation in a so-called post-racial society and studies the subjective consequences for Asian Americans. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork with advertising agencies and at spelling bees, Shankar employs the concept of assemblage to consider how race and ethnicity are vetted and constructed for media consumption through visual, linguistic, and material semiotics.
Shalini Shankar is a cultural and linguistic anthropologist whose interests include race, ethnicity, language, semiotics, capitalism, media and youth. Shankar received her BA from Wesleyan University (CT) and her MA and Ph.D. from New York University. She has conducted ethnographic research with South Asian American communities and with Asian American advertising executives in New York and California. Her books include Advertising Diversity: Ad Agencies and the Creation of Asian American Consumers (Duke University Press, April 2015) and Desi Land: Teen Culture, Class, and Success in Silicon Valley (Duke University Press, 2008), as well as a co-edited volume Language and Materiality: Theoretical and Ethnographic Explorations (Oxford University Press, under review). Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, The Spencer Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and other sources. She has published numerous journal articles in Anthropology, Asian American Studies, and other fields. She is currently conducting fieldwork for her project, “The Business of Spelling: Branded Bees, Neoliberal Socialization, and Language Commodification,” in New York, New Jersey, and other sites, focusing on spelling bees, spellers, families, and media producers.

Cosponsored with the Department of Anthropology, the Council of the Humanities, and the Program in American Studies

Informal presentations of the work of students in
AMS 358 / HUM 358
Electronic Literature: Lineage, Theory and Contemporary Practice
Tuesday, February 3
Princeton Center for Digital Humanities
-N-10 Green Hall
See here for more info

February 4, 2015
4:30 pm
McCormick Hall 106

Mel Yuen-Ching Chen
Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies
Director, Center for the Study of Sexual Culture
University of California, Berkeley
The Disability in Racial Dystopias
This talk brings under the framework of "racial dystopia" the racialization of environment through and with the invocation of disability, focusing on selected literary works as well as my archival research on drug laws that involve racial enmeshments and the control of human encounters with inhuman substances. I ask about the constitution of logics that inform such diverse attributions as post-Asian, post-American, post-human and post-race.
Mel Y. Chen is Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies at U.C. Berkeley, and is the author of Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect (Duke, 2012, winner of the Alan Bray Memorial Award, MLA) as well as articles in diverse publications such as Amerasia, Discourse, Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, GLQ, and Women in Performance. With Jasbir K. Puar, Chen is coeditor of the new Duke book series entitled Anima. Chen serves on the Board of Directors of the Society for Disability Studies.

Cosponsored with the Department of English, the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies, the Program in American Studies, and the Council of the Humanities

February 2, 2015
4:30 pm
McCormick Hall 106

Martin F. Manalansan IV
Associate Professor of Anthropology and Asian American Studies
Conrad Professorial Scholar in the Humanities
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Queer Metrics: Towards An Anthropology of Small Things

We live in an age of metrics. Value, personhood, and survival are appraised, calculated and evaluated according to imposed sets of official measures and standards. Using an ethnography of a single household of queer undocumented immigrants in New York City, this presentation explores a queer anti-metric stance and process as alternatives to the world gone mad on regulated appraisals and assessments by a focus on the pivotal force of mess and the vitality of small things.

Martin F. Manalansan IV is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Asian American Studies and a Conrad Professorial Humanities Scholar at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is an affiliate faculty in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, the Global Studies Program and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory. He is the author of Global Divas: Filipino Gay Men in the Diaspora (Duke University Press, 2003; Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2006) which was awarded the Ruth Benedict Prize in 2003. He is editor/co-editor of three anthologies namely, Cultural Compass: Ethnographic Explorations of Asian America (Temple University Press, 2000) and Queer Globalizations: Citizenship and the Afterlife of Colonialism (New York University Press, 2002), Eating Asian America: A Food Studies Reader (New York University Press, 2013) as well as a special issue of International Migration Review on gender and migration. Presently, he is Social Science Review Editor of GLQ: a journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies.

Cosponsored by the Department of Anthropology, the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies, and the Council of the Humanities

Book Party
Studies in Postwar America Political Development

by Professor Naomi Murakawa

Thursday, January 15, 2015
Prospect House

The Photographer as Sociologist/The Historian as Photographer

Sunday, November 16, 2014
4:30 p.m.
"Dorothea Lange:  Grab a Hunk of Lightning" 
film screening of PBS American Masters series documentary followed by discussion with the filmmaker, Dyanna Taylor, Anschutz Distinguished Fellow Richard Steven Street and Professor Linda Gordon of NYU

Monday, November 17
4:30 p.m.
"Photographer's Double/Searching for Cover:  The Historian as Photographer/the Photographer as Historian"
Richard Steven Street will explore the challenge of crossing disciplines to carry on, extend, and amplify the work of Dorothea Lange.  Followed by discussion with Dr. Street, Ms. Taylor, and Professor Martha Sandweiss

Bios of participants

both events in 101 McCormick Hall

cosponsored by the Program in Visual Arts, the Department of History, the Department of Sociology, The Department of Art and Archaeology, and the Princeton Art Museum

supported by a generous gift of Philip F. Anschutz and family

free and open to the public

For video of the talk please click here

The Princeton University
Constitution Day Lecture

Representative Rush Holt
Search and Seizure in the Snowden Era

September 16, 2014
4:30 p.m.
50 McCosh Hall

Presented by
the Program in American Studies
the Program in Law and Public Affairs and
the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions
Supported by the Office of the Provost

For video of the lecture, please click here.

Representative Rush Holt

Guests at reception

Guests at reception