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?

MUSE Bowling Night @ Spare Time Entertainment Center
Oct 16 @ 1:59 pm – 2:59 pm
MUSE Bowling Night @ Spare Time Entertainment Center | Lansing | Michigan | United States

The Department of English MUSE Scholars Program will host MUSE bowling night at Spare Time Entertainment Center. MUSE scholars, current graduate students, and faculty are welcome to join us on Friday, October 18th at 7:30pm.

MUSE Lecture: Omaris Z. Zamora @ Wells Hall B243
Oct 17 @ 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
MUSE Lecture: Omaris Z. Zamora @ Wells Hall B243 | East Lansing | Michigan | United States

The Department of English MUSE Scholars Program presents a lecture by Dr. Omaris Z. Zamora, “Delectable Complicities From El Ni’ E: AfroLatinx Feminisms of Cardi B & La Bella Chanel.” Dr. Zamora is assistant professor of Afro-Latinx Studies at Rutgers University. Her book project, AfroLatina (Trance)formations: Poetics of Black Embodied Archives and Feminist Epistemologies, engages the theoretical formation of AfroLatina feminist epistemologies through an analysis of transnational Dominican women’s narratives in literature and performance. As a spoken-word poet she fuses her poetry with her scholarly work as a way of contributing to a black poetic approach to literature and cultural studies.

Please join us Thursday, October 17th at 4:30pm in Wells Hall room B243.

MUSE Scholars Daily Panels @ Wells Hall B342
Oct 18 @ 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
MUSE Scholars Daily Panels @ Wells Hall B342 | East Lansing | Michigan | United States

Join the MUSE scholars program for daily public panels. Presenters on Friday, 10/18 include:

  • Gabriella Adriana Davis: “Ecuador is Black: Afro-Ecuadorian Literary Resistance in Drums Under My Skin
  • Havannah Chau Ngoc Tran: “Reading Mythology in Ocean Vuong’s Night Sky With Exit Wounds through ‘Just Memory’
  • Agnes Sastre-Rivera: “Colonial Space, Colonized Bodies and Religions: A Study of Colonial Trauma in Nigel Thomas’ Return to Arcadia and Shani Mooto’s Cereus Blooms at Night
  • Dr. Zarena Aslami: “Victorian Afghanistan and the Poetics of Marginal Sovereignty”
  • Dr. Sheila Marie Contreras “Between Settlers: Race, Gender and the Anglo/Mexican land grab in US popular culture“”



MUSE Scholars Daily Panels @ Wells Hall B342
Oct 19 @ 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
MUSE Scholars Daily Panels @ Wells Hall B342 | East Lansing | Michigan | United States

Join the MUSE scholars program for daily public panels. Presenters on Saturday, 10/19 include:

  • Naajidah Correll: “Double Negative Discourse: On Black Icons and Public Despair”
  • Ariana Karina Costales Del Toro: “It Was Powerful Women All Along: Debunking Female Monsters in Nalo Hopkinson’s Brown Girl in the Ring
  • Ke’Shunta Faye Drake: “When (will) They see Us: Black Womanism, Me, Myself, and the Life and Times of Assata Shakur”
  • Jennifer Mojica Santana: “‘Soy Bandolero como el Míster Politiquero’: Tracing Sociopolitical Activism in Don Omar’s and Tego Calderón’s Reggaetón”
  • Dr. Tamara Butler: “Worn: Sartorial Politics and Artifacts”



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.

Electric Marronage @ MSU Library
Jan 29 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Electric Marronage @ MSU Library | East Lansing | Michigan | United States

Please join us for the first event of the Spring 2020 Taller: ELECTRIC.MARRONAGE featuring Dr. Savannah Shange author of Progressive Dystopia: Abolition, Anti-Blackness, + Schooling in San Francisco. Dr. Shange will be hosting a graduate student workshop on Wednesday January 29th from 6:30-8pm at the MSU library. Please email to RSVP and receive the reading for this workshop.

Dr. Shange’s public talk: ABOLITION AS BLACK FEMINIST METHOD, will take place Thursday January 30th from 12-2pm in Wells Hall B342.  Refreshments will be provided.


Electric.Marronage is a digital site/workshop/series that showcases scholarly, political, creative + personal work that engages with themes of fugitivity, escape, survival (inside and outside the academy), “worlds/otherwise,” “Black femme freedom,” + decolonizing diaspora studies. Created + Curated by Yomaira C. Figueroa (MSU) + Jessica Marie Johnson (Johns Hopkins), Electric.Marronage will alternate institutional spaces (Spring at MSU/Fall at JHU) as our site runs concurrently + collaboratively. For more information contact:


English Graduate Recruitment Days @ MSU Chittenden Hall
Feb 28 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
English Graduate Recruitment Days @ MSU Chittenden Hall | East Lansing | Michigan | United States

Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020

12:00-2:00 pm  Public lecture in conjunction with Professor Figueroa’s ENG 802: Professor Randi Gill-Sadler (Department of English, Lafayette College),

“Conjuring Cartography: Black PlaceMaking in the Cold War in Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day,” Wells B342.

2:00-3:30 pm  Coffee/Tea Reception, Wells C607.

4:00-5:30 pm  HIVES Research Workshop Presentation: Keynote Lecture and Poetry Reading by Jordan Scott, The Writing Center, 300 Bessey Hall.

6:00-8:30 pm  Reception with faculty and current graduate students, Green Dot Stables, 410 S. Clippert St. (please RSVP on Google survey)


Friday, Feb. 28, 2020

10:00-12:00 pm

Research Spotlight Panel 1, featuring faculty and current graduate students presenting short talks on their research, 110 Chittenden Hall.

12:00-1:00 pm  Lunch, 110 Chittenden Hall (please RSVP on Google survey).

1:00-3:00 pm  Research Spotlight Panel 2, 110 Chittenden Hall.


Thank you for supporting our Graduate Program!

D2L Drop-In Workshop @ Zoom
Sep 16 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
D2L Drop-In Workshop @ Zoom

English graduate student Liz Deegan will be hosting a D2L Drop-In Workshop for anyone who needs it, both incoming and advanced students! On Wednesday, September 16th, from 2-4pm, she will have open zoom hours where anyone can drop in for help on some D2L basics. Below are a range of topics she can help with:

  • Making Announcements
  • Organizing your Content
  • Setting up Attendance
  • Setting up your gradebook
  • Creating a Rubric
  • Creating Quizzes
  • Release Conditions for Content
  • & more! Let me know if you need something specific

The event can be a way for folks to get more comfortable with D2L and its capabilities – especially considering we are extra reliant on technology with virtual learning. But also, feel free to drop in and say hi!

Contact for zoom link.


FGS Black Feminist Film Screening @ Zoom
Sep 18 @ 1:30 pm
FGS Black Feminist Film Screening @ Zoom | East Lansing | Michigan | United States

The Feminisms, Genders, and Sexualities (FGS) research workshop is holding its first FY20-21 Black Feminist Film Screening on Friday, September 18 at 1:30pm. Join us for a screening and discussion of The Watermelon Woman (1996). Zoom links will be distributed. If you have any questions, please email Marisa Mercurio (