Past News

The Department of Comparative Literature is pleased to welcome our new graduate students for 2008-2009: Nada Ayad, Sandra Kim, Ana Lee, Yu-Kai Lin, and Ricardo Wilson.

Congratulations to Christine Matsuda (Comparative Literature 2008 B.A.), recipient of the 2008 Comparative Literature Prize for the most outstanding graduating senior in the Comparative Literature major. To learn more about the Comparative Literature Major Prize, go to Undergraduate Honors & Awards.

Congratulations also to Monica Joyce (Comparative Literature and Philosophy 2008 B.A.) and Andrew Pouw (Comparative Literature and Biological Sciences Major), both recipients of the 2008 Laurence C. Welch Essay Prize for the most distinguished critical essay produced in a Comparative Literature seminar. You can read Monica Joyce's prize-winning essay, "Images about images: The criticism of Bazin and the philosophy of Rancière in confluence and conflict," here; and Andrew Pouw's prize-winning essay, "The Globalization of the Pharmaceutical Industry," here. To learn more about the Laurence C. Welch Essay Prize, go to Undergraduate Honors & Awards.

2008 Welch Prize Winners 
The 2008 Welch Prize Winners. From left to right: Andrew Pouw, Monica Joyce, and Christine Matsuda.

The USC Provost's Undergraduate Research Associates Program has awarded 3 research associate positions to the Literature and Justice Project for 2008-09. The team, whose faculty advisor is Vincent Farenga, professor of classics and comparative literature, will be meeting on the following Thursdays during the Spring 2009 semester from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in THH 109: 2/19, 2/26, 3/5, 3/12, 4/2, 4/16, and 4/23. All interested students and faculty are invited to attend. To read the 2007-08 Literature and Justice Project Report, click here.

Edwin Hill, professor of French and comparative literature, is the organizer of Project banlieue: French (Peri)Urban Cultures and Crises, which this year will take the form of both a year-long lecture series (beginning October 17, 2008, with Daniel Sabbagh) and a one day colloquium (March 6, 2009) on French (peri)urban cultures and crises, focusing on the riots in 2005 and beyond. The lecture series features scholars in the social sciences. The colloquium this spring will feature on French and francophone scholars in the humanities. In conjunction with these events, Edwin Hill invites interested students and faculty to participate in a reading group about banlieue (or peri-urban) cultural production and crisis this semester. The group would read one text (article/chapter) by each one of the speakers for this year's events and meet an hour or two about once a month, perhaps the Friday before the guest speaker's arrival, to discuss them. French mastery is not strictly required. Interested parties are asked to contact him at with their availability and interest.

COLT was very well represented at the 2008 Annual Meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association's Annual Meeting held in Long Beach, CA, from April 24-27. Nineteen COLT faculty and graduate students presented papers or organized seminars.

Faculty News

Roberto Diaz, professor of Spanish and comparative literature, presented a paper, "Children, Mothers and Latin American Poetry in Adams' El Niño," at the 2008 ACLA.

Michael du Plessis, lecturer in comparative literature and English, presented a paper, "Cashing in on Death: Franchising 'Snuff' for Late Capitalism," at the 2008 ACLA.

Vincent Farenga, professor of classics and comparative literature, saw his proposal for the Literature and Justice Project accepted for 2007-08 and renewed for 2008-09 by the USC Provost's Undergraduate Research Associates Program. The Literature and Justice Project has been awarded three undergraduate research associate positions for the current academic year. To read last year's project report, click here.

Edwin Hill, professor of French and comparative literature, is a Future of Minority Studies Mellon Fellow for 2008 and the organizer of "Project Banlieue," a year-long interdisciplinary lecture series on the French riots in 2005/2007, which will culminate next spring (March 6, 2009) in a colloquium on the riots as well as on the dynamics of France's minority and peri-urban cultural productions. He presented a paper, "To Begin the Biguine: Hybridity and Antillean Popular Culture," at the 2008 ACLA.

Peggy Kamuf, professor of French and comparative literature, was the keynote speaker at two graduate student conferences in 2008, on "The Literary Animal" at Cornell University and on "Corruption" at Stanford 
University. She also received a grant from the Provost's Initiative on Advancing Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences to organize a workshop on the translation of the seminars of Jacques Derrida. The 
workshop took place in July at the Institut Mémoires de l'Edition Contemporaine in Caen, France, and was attended as well by USC Comparative Literature graduate students Shaoling Ma and Samuel Solomon. She presented a paper, "The Deconstitution of Psychoanalysis," at the 2008 ACLA.

Akira Mizuta Lippit, professor of comparative literature, East Asian languages and cultures, and critical studies, delivered two lectures at Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea in July 2008; one on representations of Japan in recent American cinema, and another on talking animals in animated cinema. He also gave a lecture on David Lynch at Ritsumeikan in Kyoto, Japan; participated in a roundtable on Jacques Derrida and cinema at the L’Institut Franco-Japonais de Tokyo et Yokohama; and gave a lecture on animality and cinema at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo, Japan. He returns this fall from a year-long sabbatical stay in Tokyo, Japan.

Gloria Orenstein, professor of comparative literature and gender studies, presented a paper, "The Invisible Weavings of 'le Hasard Objectif' in the Surrealist Oeuvre of Alain Glass," at the 2008 ACLA.

Karen Pinkus, professor of French and Italian and comparative literature, gave a lecture titled "The Time of Climate Change is Out of Joint" in May as part of the Cultures of Climate Change series at the Cambridge University Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities. She also edited, translated, and wrote a preface to Mondo Exotica: Sounds, Visions, Obsessions of the Cocktail Generation by Francesco Adinolfi (Duke University press, 2008). USC Comparative Literature graduate student Seth Michelson gave invaluable assistance in assembling the book's quirky discography.

Peter Starr, professor of French and comparative literature, recently completed version 1.0 of We the Paranoid, a web-based multimedia ‘book’ examining the persistence of what Richard Hofstadter famously called the “paranoid style” in contemporary American culture, film especially.   Undergraduate students in Professor Starr’s Comparative Literature course on “Psychoanalysis and the Arts” in Fall 2008 will contribute video content to the site, thanks to the Multimedia Across the College program.  To view the site, click here.

Graduate Student News

Marija Cetinic organized a seminar, "Withdrawal, Subtraction, Separation, Disappearance," at the 2008 ACLA.

Caterina Crisci was awarded the Dorot Summer Fellowship for Summer 2007. She spent three months at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, which is housed in the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, working as an assistant researcher on the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Ghettos and Concentration Camps.

Monica Cure gave a paper gave a paper titled "Afraid You Are Here: The Postcard as Representational Limit in Stoker’s Dracula" at the 7th Annual Literary London Conference. She also presented a paper,"Writing Home/Homely Writing: The Rise of the Postcard in the Age of Empire," at the 2008 ACLA.

Colin Dickey published an article, "On Passports: W.G. Sebald and the Menace of Travel," in the peer-reviewed journal Image and Narrative, No. 14 (Fall 2007). He also published the articles "The Fate of His Bones" and "In Vitro, In Dubio" in the magazines Cabinet, No. 28 (Winter 2008), and Meatpaper, No. 3 (Winter 2008), respectively. He presented a paper, "Memento Tojo: American War Propaganda and Renaissance Iconography," at the 2008 ACLA.

Allyson Ferrante presented a paper called "Who are the Natives of Paradise? and Other Questions of Belonging in Shani Mootoo's Cereus Blooms at Night" at the 33rd Annual Conference of the Caribbean Studies Association on San Andres Island, Colombia, in May 2008. This was her second year presenting at the CSA and her first year serving as a member of the CSA Gender and Young Scholars Committee. She is also the recipient of a 2008 College Summer Stipend for Diversity Enhancement as well as a 2008-09 College Graduate Student Professionalization Initiative grant to head a series of Caribbean-themed events on campus that will bring together professional, graduate, and undergraduate scholars of the Southern California region for informed discussions about Caribbean migration, culture, politics and arts. She presented a paper, "Embracing the Scent of Her Unwashed Body: Feminine Disembodiment in Jamaica Kincaid's The Autobiography of My Mother," at the 2008 ACLA. In November 2008, she will give a paper called "African Americans Abroad: Reconciling with the Foreigner Within," at the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association Conference at Pomona College.

Milena Gueorguieva presented a paper, "Balkan Ghosts, Tartars and Other Goblins: Haunting and Repetition in Robert D. Kaplan's Balkanization Discourse," at the 2008 ACLA.

Mayumo Inoue presented a paper, "Senses of Memory: Singular-Plural in Hou Hsiao-Hsien's Café Lumière," at the 2008 ACLA.

Gabriela Jauregui presented a paper, "Vital (Pre)Fabrications: on Kathy Acker's Empire of the Senseless," at the 2008 ACLA.

Michelle Kim published a review of Celine Parreñas Shimizu's book The Hypersexuality of Race: Performing Asian/American Women on Screen and Scene in Women's Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal (March 2008) and an entry on author Kim Wong Keltner in the Encyclopedia of Asian-American Literature (Facts on File, 2007). She presented a paper, "Merely Culinary: Adorno, Food Deconstruction and the Problem of Eating," at the 2008 ACLA. A 2008 College Summer Diversity Placement Assistance Award allowed her to attend Dartmouth's Futures of American Studies Institute this summer.

Shaoling Ma published an article, "Echoing the Politics of Friendship," in Angelaki, Vol. 12, No. 3, and will have a review of Leonard Lawlor's book Implications of Immanence in the upcoming issue of Discourse. She presented a paper,"Secret Economies: Marx and the Alchemy of Value," at the 2008 ACLA.

Seth Michelson has two projects recently accepted for publication and forthcoming: a chapbook of poetry, Kaddish for My Unborn Son (Pudding House Publications, 2008), and a translation of Argentine poet Tamara Kamenszain's book El ghetto (Syracuse University Press, 2010).

Alex Montes gave a paper titled "Che Guevara: Epic in the Global Era" at the Association of Pacific Rim Universities Doctoral Students Conference in Vladivostok, Russia in July 2008. He also presented a paper, "Visual Epic: The Icon of Ernesto 'Che' Guevara," at the 2008 ACLA.

Lindsay Nelson presented a paper called "City of Ghosts: Kurosawa Kiyoshi's Pulse and the Horror of Urban Existence" at the Western Conference for the Association of Asian Studies held at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, in September 2007. She also gave a paper titled "Fear of Youth: Morality, Media, and the Figure of the Child in Kinji Fukasaku's Battle Royale" at the 2008 Comparative Literature Symposium at USC.

Oana Sabo gave a paper titled, "Indian, South Asian, or American Fiction? Kiran Desai’s Inheritance of Loss as a Transnational Novel” at the Society for Multi-Ethnic Studies: Europe and the Americas' 6th Conference on "Migration Matters" at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands, in June 2008. She also presented a paper, "Neither the World, nor the Nation: Impossible Location in Kiran Desai's Transnational Fiction," at the 2008 ACLA. Currently, she is serving as a Teaching Assistant Fellow at the USC Center for Excellence in Teaching. She will also chair the French III panel, “Testing the Limits of Borders: Migration in Contemporary French & Francophone Literature,” at the South Atlantic Modern Language Association Convention in Louisville, KY, in November 2008.

Richard Snyder presented a paper, "'Tell Even Us': Diasporic Nostos in Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's Dictee," at the 2008 ACLA.

Samuel Solomon presented a paper, "'A Rock of the Self': Denise Riley's Geology," at the 2008 ACLA.

Mary Traester gave a paper titled "Hysteria and Ruin: Feminine Immobility and the Problem of Representation in Todd Haynes's Far from Heaven" at the 2008 Comparative Literature Symposium at USC. She also presented a paper, "French Symbolism: Decadent Heroes, Idealist Problems," at the 2008 ACLA.

Undergraduate Student News

Bracha Ebriani, a Comparative Literature major, and her friend and fellow USC student, Jessica Youseffi, together are the founders of the Seventy Faces, USC's first independent, student-run Jewish magazine.

Monica Joyce, who graduated in May 2008 with a B.A. in Comparative Literature and Philosophy, is the recipient of a 2008 Laurence C. Welch Essay Prize for the most distinguished critical essay produced in a Comparative Literature seminar for her essay "Images about images: The criticism of Bazin and the philosophy of Rancière in confluence and conflict," which can be read here.

Natalie Kegulian, a Biological Sciences major and COLT minor, is working on an environmental microbiology research project in the Nealson lab at USC. Her project endeavors to illuminate the effect of different volumes of anaerobic headspace on iron bioreduction by the bacteria Shewanella oneidensis. This year, Natalie is the first ever recipient of the Bittel Family Scholarship. Last year, she won the Kalpakian Award, and she won the Alice Lee Ingledue Scholarship the year before that. In Spring 2008, she collaborated with three classmates to produce a fifteen-minute documentary on CoverGirl Cosmetics as a global brand for Prof. Karen Pinkus's COLT 303.

Christine Matsuda, who graduated in May 2008 with a B.A. in Comparative Literature, is the recipient of the 2008 Comparative Literature Prize for the most outstanding graduating senior in the Comparative Literature major.

Andrew Pouw, a Comparative Literature and Biological Sciences double major, is the recipient of a 2008 Laurence C. Welch Essay Prize for the most distinguished critical essay produced in a Comparative Literature seminar for his essay "The Globalization of the Pharmaceutical Industry," which can be read here.

Bryn Silverman, a Cinema Production major and COLT minor, is working with Prof. Vincent Farenga on the Literature and Justice Project during 2008-09 as part of the USC Provost's Undergraduate Research Associates Program. Bryn also has won the Motion Picture Exhibitors scholarship two years running. Last summer, she worked for the non-profit Voz Hispana. Among other things, she organized a screening of the documentary Maquilapolis, the proceeds from which went to the organization's voter registration campaign, which promotes Latina voter registration and leadership classes in the community. Bryn was also chosen to study film in Bollywood next summer through an Indian study abroad center.

Martha Suarez-Ballesteros, who graduated in May 2008 with a degree in Comparative Literature and Philosophy with an Emphasis on Ethics, Law and Value Theory, was selected as one of ten California Judicial Administration Fellows. During this ten-month fellowship, she will be working with the California Superior Court in Butte County.

Kari Wilhelm, a COLT and Economics double major, has participated in undergraduate research looking at gender in the media with Prof. Stacy Smith in Annenberg. A Trojan Scholar, she has also served as an Orientation Advisor and held an internship with Merrill Lynch.

Michael Wong, who graduated in May 2008 with a B.A. in Comparative Literature and History, was a volunteer for the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing. In April 2008, he was the recipient of the Rima Akkad Monla USC Polo Team Sportsmanship Award in April 2008. In Fall 2009, he will enter the MSc in Global Health Science program at Oxford University.

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