Current Reading Groups

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 directly for more information about the groups and their activities.

2023–24 Reading Groups

Chinese Media and Communication

  • Qinglin Luan, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

Call for scholars interested in (1) organizing reading groups (with topics about digital activism, media platforms, state policy, entertainment, etc.) and (2) managing a Facebook Page "Chinese Media and Communication" (so far, there isn't one dedicated to media and communication research of China). It is proposed that the reading group meets every three weeks. Reading materials will be recommended by members. The reading group also serves as a space for potential research collaboration.

Organize & Analyze: Social Movements Reading Group

This reading group focuses on global working-class social movements. We will begin with theories of social movements to develop a shared vocabulary, then delve into movement history and analyses of contemporary struggles. We discuss a range of both theoretical and empirical texts alongside cultural expressions of movements via short stories, plays, and poems. We hope our readings and discussions will inform our intellectual development, political education, and praxis. We will meet weekly on Tuesdays 12–1:30 p.m. in Levis Faculty Center 424 beginning Jan. 30, 2024. Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP here to be added to the mailing list to receive the syllabus and readings.

Interventions: A Memory Studies Reading Group

This reading group focuses on the formation, transmission, and reconfiguration of memories in various forms, especially the ones about major historical events. Some of our readings intend to focus on how we define “Memory Studies” vis-a-vis rethinking its scopes and possibilities based on cultural, social, and historical contexts. We aim to draw interdisciplinary attention to Memory Studies—as a critical and productive lens—for genocide studies, ethnic studies, gender studies, anthropology, political science, environmental humanities and more.

The reading group (in hybrid format) will meet every three weeks to discuss both foundational texts in memory studies and those on the unfolding events. The texts we select will include scholarly works, fiction, plays, and poems. We encourage a critical reflection on how we remember the past and how such remembrance shapes the present and the (imagined) future. Date, time, and location for the meetings will be shared soon. Please contact any of the organizers if you would like to be added to the mailing list, any information and/or questions.

Language in Culture

We will gather to discuss a combination of contemporary and classic scholarship in the interdisciplinary study of language, discourse, and culture, as well as to share work in progress. Faculty and students from any unit are welcome.

Political Communication Reading Group

This group aims to foster a collaborative network among political communication scholars, both intellectually and personally. Political communication is an intricate field, influenced by the evolving political landscape and digital transformation. This interdisciplinary group provides an arena for accessing the latest research, debating key issues, formulating innovative solutions, learning about different perspectives, and tackling challenges. The group will be a relaxing environment where researchers can discuss ongoing projects, seek constructive feedback, and discover potential collaborators.

Meeting time: Every other Friday from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., beginning Aug. 25. 
Location: 4103 Lincoln Hall

Reading the Radical Right

The cultural and political right is having some species of revival, and yet many or even most of its theoretical offerings go unstudied. This research group aims to rectify that by engaging directly and substantively with some of the right's most powerful and idiosyncratic texts. Over the course of fall 2023, the research group will be reading Carl Schmitt's The Concept of the Political (1932), Ernst Jünger's The Forest Passage (1951), Julius Evola's Ride the Tiger: A Survival Manual for Aristocrats of the Soul (1961), and Aleksandr Dugin's The Fourth Political Theory (2012). In spring 2024, we will be reading René Guénon's The Crisis of the Modern World (1927), Eric Voegelin's Science, Politics, and Modernity (1968), Paul Gottfried's Conservatism in America: Making Sense of the American Right (2007), and Bronze Age Pervert's bizarre and controversial Bronze Age Mindset (2018).

Theorizing the Carceral State Without Borders

This group engages with readings on transnational carceral states across Latin America and the US, through the perspective of black feminist and decolonial scholarship. Starting with the canonical work of abolitionist scholar Ruth Wilson Gilmore (2007), readings will address key questions around the prison industrial complex, prison abolition and punitive populisms, carcerality and racialized gender, law and crime, anti-carceral feminisms, and the securitizing state. Participants will meet monthly to discuss selected readings virtually.

Meetings: The first meeting will be held on September 5, 2023, 3:00 to 4:00 p.m., at Levis Faculty Center Room 304. Meetings thereafter will be held online.

Writing Bodies

“Writing Bodies” is an interdisciplinary collection of scholars interested in better understanding how bodies write and are written. In our informal monthly meetings, we read and discuss work on embodiment, drawing from numerous fields including: rhetoric and writing studies, disability studies, trans* and gender studies, critical race theory, anthropology, sociology, linguistics, and education. Though led by graduate students in Writing Studies, Writing Bodies welcomes undergraduates, faculty, and staff to be regular or drop-in collaborators. Reading group website