FGS Research Workshop Meet and Greet @ Wells Hall C607
Sep 11 @ 4:00 pm – 4:45 pm
FGS Research Workshop Meet and Greet @ Wells Hall C607 | East Lansing | Michigan | United States

The Feminisms, Genders, and Sexualities (FGS) research workshop is holding its first informal meet and greet this Wednesday, September 11 from 4-4:45pm in the 6th floor conference room, Wells Hall C607. We’ll introduce ourselves and the workshop, discuss upcoming events over the 2019/2020 academic year, and have some snacks and coffee. If you’re interested in intersectional feminism and LGBT+ studies (or are just curious!), we’d love to have you.   We’re looking forward to two semesters of productive discussions, fun activities, engaging lectures, and collaborations with other fantastic workshops here at MSU. If you have any questions, please email me ( or Bruno Ford (


HIVES Research Workshop @ Wells Hall C607
Sep 12 @ 4:00 pm
HIVES Research Workshop @ Wells Hall C607 | East Lansing | Michigan | United States

HIVES will be meeting for the first official time on September 12, 2019 in room C607 of Wells Hall (619 Red Cedar Road, East Lansing, MI 48824). This meeting will be primarily to introduce HIVES guiding questions, discuss the trajectory of the workshop for the year, and nourish our bodyminds with pizza and discussion. We would like to begin the buzz of conversation with a discussion of texts and videos, available here, that present some nodes for future engagement. Finally, we will be revealing our fall keynote speaker at the meeting!

This and all future HIVES meetings are open to the public, including but certainly not limited to: students, non-students, artists, curious parties, larvae, comic-lovers, poets, and all others. Please feel welcome to circulate the poster above which has been formatted to be accessible to screen readers. Please fill out this google form if you plan to attend in order to share your preferences and needs for refreshments and access.

HIVES is an ongoing scholarly, artistic, and communal organization dedicated to developing an understanding of the ways in which matter and beings function in interdependent networks. This research workshop seeks to create a generative space for conversations at the intersections of disability studies and animal studies in popular culture. In his book Brilliant Imperfection, Eli Clare emphasizes how “White Western culture goes to extraordinary lengths to deny the vital relationships between water and stone, plant and animal, human and nonhuman, as well as the utter reliance of human upon human” (Clare 136). Clare offers the disability studies notion of interdependence as a way to undo fantastical narratives of independence and the individual. HIVES is an engagement with hiveminds, relationality, and interdependence across and within animal/human divides. This research workshop draws on popular culture in the form of novels, films, and video games and theory from disability studies to critical race theory to queer studies to animal studies in order to think through disrupting white western denials of interdependence. We are guided by the questions: what are the potentials and pitfalls of the overlap between disability and animal studies? what forms of inter-reliance arise from lived disabled existence and/or representations of disabled characters in popular culture? what does (and does not) separate animals and humans? what frictions exist in turning to animal studies to find alternate conceptions of relational being?

Big10 Emerging Scholar Valerie O’Brien @ Wells Hall C607
Nov 7 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Big10 Emerging Scholar Valerie O’Brien @ Wells Hall C607 | Boone | North Carolina | United States

Please mark your calendars for the campus visit of Big10 Emerging Scholar Valerie O’Brien, visiting from the University of Illinois on November 7 and 8.

The Big 10 Emerging Scholars Program—now in its second year—seeks to provide a platform for the work of emerging graduate student scholars in Big10 Departments of English. Each year, we host a scholar from one of our peer institutions, and one MSU graduate student is selected as a visiting scholar in turn.

Valerie has research interests in disability studies and animal studies. She will be participating in the HIVES Research Workshop on Nov 7th, from 4-6pm in Wells C607. On Friday, November 8th, from 3-5pm, Valerie will give a talk to the Department in Wells B342. Please attend and support our efforts to mentor graduate students.

This talk examines J.M. Coetzee’s Foe, a retelling of Robinson Crusoe that I contend illuminates the linkages between autobiographical narration and Enlightenment conceptions of personhood. In Coetzee’s reimagining, the character Friday, Cruso(e)’s slave, is a disruptive, enigmatic figure, for although Defoe’s Friday masters English, Coetzee’s cannot speak at all because his tongue has been cut out; consequently, Friday’s untold life story—a “hole in the narrative”—becomes the central mystery on which the narrator and the novel itself become fixated. I investigate this preoccupation with Friday’s mutism in relation to the role of language—and autobiographical narration in particular—in historical distinctions of person from animal, distinctions particularly fraught for slaves and disabled subjects. My talk calls attention to what is troubling about historical uses of autobiography as a litmus test for social belonging, examining how slave narratives functioned as tests for personhood and how the practice of telling one’s life narrative may exclude disabled individuals. Reading the novel as part of a larger body of contemporary fiction that explores the limitations and possibilities of autobiographical narratives to convey experiences of disability and debility, I argue that Foe unsettles conceptions of personhood bound to a capacity for normative autobiographical narration.