Citizens Cinema: Viewing and Discussion of 13th @ Online
Oct 27 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Citizens Cinema: Viewing and Discussion of 13th @ Online

Join us to watch and discuss the Netflix documentary, 13th.  We will also share simple and practical things we can do in response as engaged citizens of the world.

The Zoom link to join is

The passcode is CS2020

Shifting classroom goals and expectations @ Zoom
Oct 29 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Shifting classroom goals and expectations @ Zoom

Educators from all levels, backgrounds, and content areas are welcome to join a discussion on how they have had to change course objectives and expectations for  students during COVID-19 online teaching.  Time will be allotted for small group discussions for educators to share their own new practices and gain ideas from others. The last 15 minutes will be reserved to hear from attendees on new perspectives they will incorporate into their classrooms, lingering questions and doubts on online success, and comments from novice and veteran educators.

Please share within your networks! This event will not be recorded.

Register for Zoom link at:

FGS/HIVES Eli Clare Events @ Zoom
Nov 2 @ 1:30 pm
FGS/HIVES Eli Clare Events @ Zoom | East Lansing | Michigan | United States

The Feminisms, Genders, and Sexualities (FGS) and HIVES research workshops are holding a workshop in November (date TBD). Activist and poet Eli Clare joins us to explore intersections of disability and queerness. Zoom links will be distributed. If you have any questions, please email Marisa Mercurio (


The Community with Citizens Scholars @ Online
Nov 5 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
The Community with Citizens Scholars @ Online

Come join us at our weekly writing nights! We know that trying to be creative while being at home can be tough, especially for members of the LGBTQ+ community. so we’re offering a calm space for queer writers to hang out.

Every Thursday night at 7 pm through November and December (excluding Thanksgiving), we’ll host a Zoom room with chill music and good vibes. We’ll develop a writer’s playlist, work on poetry, short stories, essays, and maybe help each other get over a fierce writer’s block.

Yiddish Children’s Literature and the Jewish Twentieth Century: A Conversation
Nov 5 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Yiddish Children’s Literature and the Jewish Twentieth Century: A Conversation

Thursday, November 5th, at 7:00 pm |  Register here

Miriam Udel will be discussing her book, Honey on the Page: A Treasury of Yiddish Children’s Literature, that was just published in October 2020. The book is her edition and translation of Yiddish Children’s Literature.
Udel is Associate Professor of German Studies and Jewish Studies at Emory University, where her teaching focuses on Yiddish language, literature, and culture. She holds an AB in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University, as well as a PhD in Comparative Literature from the same institution. She was ordained in 2019 as part of the first cohort of the Executive Ordination Track at Yeshivat Maharat, a program designed to bring qualified mid-career women into the Orthodox rabbinate.

TESOL Job Market Session @ Online Event
Nov 6 @ 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Description: Are you currently an MA TESOL student at MSU? Alumni of the program, Amy Kroesche and Monique Yoder from the English Language Center, will lead a 30-minute informal Q&A panel discussion on looking for teaching and language practitioner jobs after graduation. Following the discussion, there will be a one-hour workshop on evaluating job advertisements and writing resumes, cover letters, and philosophy of teaching statements. Having your own application documents on hand to screen share and get feedback is encouraged. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to get advice and feedback on the teaching job market from experienced program administrators who know the ins and outs of the hiring process.
For more info, contact

Register for the event here:

Classes with CAL | All Arts & Letters staff and faculty retirees, friends, and family are welcome! @ zoom webinar
Nov 7 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Classes With CAL (College of Arts & Letters)

An MSU experience unlike any other and isn’t just for College of Arts & Letters staff and faculty retirees.  All MSU alumni, friends and friends are welcome! 

Attend special classes taught by College of Arts & Letters faculty, get an insider’s look at MSU’s Arts & Letters research and education, and meet fellow alumni, faculty and students.  

No.2 pencil and bluebook not required!   

 This year’s activities will be all online, allowing remote access to anyone anywhere.   Use the registration link to sign up today and get your zoom link and password.  A reminder with the link and password will be sent out to you an hour before things begin on November 7th. 

Program includes 5 featured talks and a Student Spotlight  

 10:00- 10:10 AM   Welcome– Etta Abrahams, MSU, WRAC, Ermita 

 10:10 – 10:35 AM  Talk #1  Why Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Matter 

By Jonathan Choti, PhD, Professor of African Languages Department of Linguistics & Germanic, Slavic, Asian, and African Languages 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have become universal values in our society today. In my talk, I will define and discuss the relevance of DEI in university teaching, with reference to my language and African cultures classes. I teach Swahili language, an IAH course, and lead a 6-week education abroad program to Tanzania known as Sustainable Community Development. My IAH class focuses on African cultures, languages, and literature. In my teaching, I find it necessary to embrace a wide definition of diversity that includes (but not limited to) race, color, ethnicity, nationality, thought, religion, socio-economic status, academic discipline, career, marital status, language, age, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability, employment status, and learning styles. Diversity reminds me that differences among professors and students (people) is a strength to be exploited, not a weakness to deprecate. I embrace the tenet of equity to guarantee fair treatment, access to opportunities, and progress for all students while striving to identify and eliminate barriers that normally prevent the full participation of some students or groups. With equity in mind, I strive to understand my students, accommodate different viewpoints, assist slow learners, accept learner differences, and inculcate confidence in all students. To align my teaching to the principle of inclusion, I genuinely bring traditionally or situationally excluded students and groups into the learning process and classroom decision-making activities in a way that shares power and ensures equal participation and access to opportunities and learning resources. I strive to give every student an opportunity to air his or her views through question/answer sessions, one-on-one sessions, reflections, and individual and group presentations. The education abroad program I lead to Tanzania is an excellent opportunity to try out the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education. 


10: 35- 11:00 AM Talk #2 Innovations in Modern Choreography: Intimacy for the Stage

by Alexis Black, Assistant Professor of Movement, Department of Theatre

Intimacy Directors and Coordinators is an organization pioneering the best practices for performed intimacy, simulated sex and nudity for theatre, live performance, tv and film. The team is comprised of the professionals who were critical to the creation of the fields of Intimacy Direction for Theatre, TV and Film, creating what are now the accepted standards across the industry. Assistant Professor Alexis Black is one of 30 professionals in the world certified as an Intimacy Director for the stage with IDC. This presentation will include a brief history outlining the creation of the movement of intimacy direction, and it’s foundation in “The Pillars”; 5 elements used to create compelling physical storytelling within intimate scenes for the theatre while maintaining the physical and psychological safety of all involved. 


00- 11:25 AM Talk #3 Seeing Is Believing: The Curious Case of the Contested Image of Elvira Eliza Field 

by Dr. Amy DeRogatis, Professor of religion and American culture, Dept. of Religious Studies

daguerreotype of Elvira Eliza Field

In this talk Prof. DeRogatis will discuss the daguerreotype of Elvira Eliza Field, first plural wife of the Mormon prophet James Jesse Strange, who cross-dressed as Charles J. Douglass for six months. Elvira Field was a young Mormon girl from Michigan who secretly married Strange on July 13, 1849. Dressed as his fictitious nephew, Charley Douglass, she served as his personal secretary during an east coast mission. No one denies that Field dressed as Douglass, but recently at least one scholar has questioned if this image is legitimate. In this lecture, the image serves as an entryway into the fascinating religious movement that culminated in the crowning of a Mormon king—the proclaimed true successor of prophet Joseph Smith—on Beaver Island, Michigan. Strang’s story is rich with golden plates, angel visitations, visions, secret rituals, new scripture, plural marriage, political intrigue, and scrappy fights with Brigham Young. The presentation will address the artifact, the interpretation of it, and the role that both image and interpreter play in the stories we tell about religion and American culture.




11:25- 11:35 Break for refreshments 

 11:35- 12:00 Talk #4 Babylon Revisited: History, Memory, and Forgetting in Psalm 137

by Dr. David Stowe, Professor, Department of Religious Studies



Before COVID-19, ours has been called the Age of the Refugee. No text has spoken of exile and displacement more compellingly than Psalm 137, which begins: By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. For many centuries this short Hebrew poem has been a cultural touchstone for music and religion across the Atlantic world and beyond. This interdisciplinary talk demonstrates the psalm’s enduring place in popular culture. 


12:00- 12:25 Talk #5 Archive of Malian PhotographySupporting the Preservation & Accessibility of Photographic Archives in Mali, West Africa

by Dr. Candace Keller, PhD  Associate Professor of African Art


Since 2009, the Archive of Malian Photography (AMP)—a collaborative partnership of archival custodians, photographers, students, and scholars from diverse fields—has been preserving, digitizing, cataloging, andrenderinggloballyaccessible128,000+ photographic negatives from the archives of importantphotographers in Mali, including MamadouCisséAdamaKouyatéAbdourahmaneSakalyMalickSidibé, and Tijani SitouRecordinglocalaesthetic practices and innovations, methods of identityconstructionandpreservation,and cultural and political transformations during the twentieth centurythese primarysources make significantcontributions to global histories ofphotographyaswellas to multidisciplinary studies of westernAfrica.This presentation will provide an overview of the project and discuss the primary ethical and practical challenges that AMP has tried to address over the past ten years.

12:25- 12:50 CAL Student Spotlight 

 12:50- 1:00 Thank you– Etta Abrahams 

The Life and Legacy of RuthBader Ginsburg in the Historical Context of Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court
Nov 10 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Tuesday, November 10th, at 7:00 pm | Register Here

Dr. David Dalin will discuss his book Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court, from Brandeis to Kagan, which was selected as a finalist for the 2017 National Jewish Book Award. The talk examines the lives, legal careers, and Jewish legacies of the eight Jews who have served or who currently serve as justices of the U.S. Supreme Court: Louis D. Brandeis, Benjamin Cardozo, Felix Frankfurter, Arthur Goldberg, Abe Fortas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, and Elena Kagan.
Dr. David Dalin, who is a Senior Research Fellow at Brandeis University, is the author, co-author, or editor of twelve books, including Religion and State in the American Jewish Experience (co-authored with Jonathan D. Sarna) and The Presidents of the United States and the Jews.

Photography by: ©Michael B. Lloyd
New date–MSU Signature Lecture Series with Claudia Rankine @ Online event
Nov 12 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
New date--MSU Signature Lecture Series with Claudia Rankine @ Online event | East Lansing | Michigan | United States

The College of Arts & Letters is pleased to announce the

Fall 2020 Signature Lecture with Claudia Rankine

Poet, essayist, playwright, and the editor of several anthologies. She is the author of six volumes of poetry, three plays, and various essays.

Her book of poetry, Citizen: An American Lyric, won the 2014 Los Angeles Times Book Award; the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry, the first book in the award’s history to be nominated in both poetry and criticism; the 2015 Forward Prize for Best Collection, the 2015 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Poetry; the 2015 NAACP Image Award in poetry; the 2015 PEN Open Book Award; the 2015 PEN American Center USA Literary Award; the 2015 PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Literary Award; and the 2015 VIDA Literary Award. Citizen was also a finalist for the 2014 National Book Award and the 2015 T.S. Eliot Prize. It is the only poetry book to be a New York Times Bestseller in the nonfiction category.

This online event will begin at 7 pm.  Register here for the ZOOM webinar link.

Check out our pop up online independent book store partner, Literati Bookstore to order copies of Claudia Rankine’s books and find other social justice and anti-racism texts.

About the Signature Lecture Series

Originally founded as the Celebrity Lecture Series in 1998 by the College of Arts & Letters and the Dean’s Community Council, the series was later renamed the Signature Lecture Series in 20017 and allows notable public figures to interact and engage with the faculty, students, and greater community of Michigan State University through conversations and discussions.

The popularity of this series has attracted some of the most illustrious scholars, critics, novelists, poets, film producers, and creative artists of our time, including Soledad O’Brien, Ken Burns, Oliver Stone, Richard Ford, and Maya Angelou, just to name a few.

Sponsors of the Signature Lecture Series are the following:

  • College of Arts & Letters
  • Broad Art Museum
  • MSU Libraries
  • Department of English
  • Creative Writing Program
  • Film Studies Program
  • Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures

This event is being held in collaboration with the MSU Broad Art Museum Artist’s Project Series “John Lucas and Claudia Rankine: Situations” Exhibition. The MSU Broad presents, for the first time in a solo exhibition, the entire series of Situation videos collaboratively produced by documentary filmmaker John Lucas and poet Claudia Rankine since 2008. The videos address the vexed notion of a post-racial United States, a term coined in the Obama era to assert that the election of an African American president indicated the achievement of racial equality, by foregrounding the public and private experiences of black Americans. The exhibition is on February 8-December 26, 2020.

The Community with Citizens Scholars @ Online
Nov 12 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
The Community with Citizens Scholars @ Online

Come join us at our weekly writing nights! We know that trying to be creative while being at home can be tough, especially for members of the LGBTQ+ community. so we’re offering a calm space for queer writers to hang out.

Every Thursday night at 7 pm through November and December (excluding Thanksgiving), we’ll host a Zoom room with chill music and good vibes. We’ll develop a writer’s playlist, work on poetry, short stories, essays, and maybe help each other get over a fierce writer’s block.