Faculty Project Selected for Diversity and Academic Excellence Award

Congratulations are in order for Dr. Jacqueline Emery of the English Department and Dr. Carol Quirke of American Studies: “As part of the Sixth Annual Explorations for Diversity and Academic Excellence initiative, [Professors Emery and Quirke] were awarded $10,000 for their project “Crossing Borders, Erasing Borders: New Immigrants and Racial and Gender Inequalities in the 21st Century.”

See more at: http://www.oldwestbury.edu/news/1923

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Teach English Abroad Opportunity

Attention graduates: Teach English Abroad Opportunity.  Go to http://us.fulbrightonline.org/countries/selectedcountry/hungary and click on Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships- Roma Student Initiative Grant.

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Maya Angelou Dies At 86

“What hasn’t Maya Angelou done? A poet, memoirist, historian, activist, and professor; a three-time Grammy winner for her spoken-word recordings; a nightclub dancer; a cabaret and calypso singer; a Broadway actress, a film and television director; a performer for Alvin Ailey; the second poet, after Robert Frost, to appear at an American presidential inauguration; an ardent tweeter until the very end—86 years seems too short to contain the boil and glow of her life. But Angelou lived to challenge limits.” (Waldman)

 

Here are some great articles and videos that have been making their way around the web since her passing:

Maya Angelou, Poet, Activist and Singular Storyteller, Dies at 86

Maya Angelou Often Left New York, but She Always Came Back

Maya Angelou, radical activist

Maya Angelou explains how she once made Tupac Shakur cry

Words to Live By: Remembering Maya Angelou’s Inspirational Quotes

Maya Angelou showed how to survive rape and racism — and still be joyful

Maya Angelou: A Hymn to Human Endurance

Maya Angelou’s TV Legacy, from “Roots” to “Sesame Street”

 

Caged Bird

BY MAYA ANGELOU

A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.
But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own
But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

Maya Angelou, “Caged Bird” from Shaker, Why Don’t You Sing? Copyright © 1983 by Maya Angelou.

 

 

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Writing Contest Announcements

Write a 6 word story and win $100.

“For sale: baby shoes, never worn” - Ernest Hemingway wrote this 6 word story, saying it was his best work. What can you do in 6 words? Enter your 6 word story into our 6 word writing competition and the entry with the most likes will receive a cash prize of $100.

For more information visit: http://www.readwave.com/challenge/64/write-a-6-word-story-and-win-a-cash-prize-of-100/

 

Write a poem about your generation and win $100

Has the poem been left behind by tweets, memes and viral videos. That’s up to you! We want you to write a poem that embodies the triumph and weaknesses of your generation. The poem with the most likes will win a cash prize of $100.
For more information visit: http://www.readwave.com/challenge/65/write-a-poem-about-your-generation-and-win-100/

 
Is the Internet taking over? Write an 800 word article and win a cash prize of $250

In under a decade, social networks like Facebook and Tinder have redefined the way we live our lives, talk to our friends, even find love. With the launch of Google Glass it seems that technology will become an extension of how we see the world. But is the social web benefitting society or hurting it? And where will the digital revolution go from here?

We’re inviting all journalists and bloggers to have their say at our ReadWave Digital Identities writing competition. Write down your thoughts in less than 800 words. The winning article will receive a cash prize of $250 with a $100 cash prize for the runner up.
For more information visit: http://www.readwave.com/challenge/63/is-the-internet-taking-over-write-an-article-and-win-a-cash-prize-of-250/.

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NY Times Letter Written by Dr. Hobson Quotes OW English Major

The English Department’s Dr. Christopher Z. Hobson recently had a letter to the New York Times editor published. The letter is about teaching James Baldwin and quotes one of our English majors! The letter reads: 

It’s welcome that James Baldwin’s reputation is rising again. But in focusing on early masterworks like “Go Tell It on the Mountain” and “Sonny’s Blues,” we risk neglecting Baldwin’s rich, deeply felt later novels, particularly “If Beale Street Could Talk” (1974) and “Just Above My Head” (1979). I teach these regularly.

College readers respond to Baldwin’s vivid language — colloquial as well as literary; to the wisdom and sorrow of “Just Above My Head”; and to Baldwin’s prophetic anticipation of today’s partial acceptance of homosexuality and America’s stalled racial reformation.

One of my seniors wrote that Baldwin “hurt me in such a beautiful way that I could not be angry with him,” and that is one mark of a great writer.

CHRISTOPHER Z. HOBSON
Old Westbury, N.Y., April 27, 2014

Click here to view the page directly (Dr. Hobson’s is the second letter on the page)

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Call for Student Editors

The English Department is looking for dedicated English majors to work as student editors on Harmonia, our creative writing journal, or Discordia, our scholarly journal, for the 2014-2015 academic year. If you are interested, or would like more information, please contact Professor Jessica Williams at williamsJL@oldwestbury.edu by Thursday, May 1st. 

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Gender, Sex, & Sauce: OW Students Serve Up Social Consciousness with Progress on the Side

“Gender, Sex, & Sauce: OW Students Serve Up Social Consciousness with Progress on the Side” by Jamel Sleem, English major.

On Monday, March 3. 2014, SUNY Old Westbury’s New Academic Building was host to The Student Symposium on Gender & Sexuality. This remarkable event – organized by the Women’s Center, Carol Quirke, Jessica Williams, and faculty from the departments of American Studies, English, Psychology and Sociology – saw the coming together of students and faculty from numerous disciplines all for the singular purpose of creating a public dialogue about an ever-important and ever-evolving issue: gender.

Five separate panels gave voice to various subject matter concerning each and every one of us. Subjects ranging from Gender Challenges, Masculinities, and Heroines, to Women & Religion and Women & Beauty helped to focus the conference and steer the discussion down productive avenues. Almost two dozen students from varying backgrounds and all walks of life brought their unique perspectives and voices to the conversation.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of program organizers and moderators – including the English Department’s Professors Williams, Emery, and Graf – the overall selection, which featured works from their combined classes as well as Professor Dissinger’s, touched on many important aspects of the ongoing and, in many cases, escalating conflicts faced by marginalized individuals the world over.

Of particular interest were presentations from English majors Alexa Bauman, Naomi Johnson, Joseph Lagalante, Jr., Jonathan Noyes, and Shakiraah Medford. Alexa presented her paper from Professor Emery’s Literature Across Cultures I class: Challenging Traditional Gender Roles in Society: Modern Female Protagonists in Ama Ata Aidoo’s Anowa and Marjane Satrapi’s The Complete Persepolis. Joseph’s paper, The Dominican Model of Manhood and the Broken Sucio: Identifying Masculinity as the Unifying Theme in the Works of Junot Diaz, sprang from his work in Professor Graf’s Senior Seminar I class.  Professor Dissinger’s Literature Across Cultures I class was the fertile ground from which two presenters reaped their bountiful harvest. Naomi attacked the issue succinctly with Female Avenger: A Reading of Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, while Jonathan opened eyes with his presentation, What’s Good for the Gander is Wrong for the Geese: Why the Construct of Gender is Harmful. Finally, Shaakirah Medford delivered a presentation titled Black Beauty and the Media: Redefining Our Own Beauty created for Professor Chipley’s Women and Media class.

Some students shared an event from their own past that helped to inform their present and altered their plans for the future. Others were motivated to share based on the struggles of family and friends and the impact those journeys had on their own lives. Still others were called to open up based on the influence that a specific text or work of art had on them, personally. And some simply had something important to say — and this distinct venue offered them an unprecedented platform from which to have their voices heard. Whatever the reason, each student brought something new and thought-provoking to the table.

The only thing more impressive than the tenor and tone of the discussion as a whole was the way in which it was received. Chairs ringed the hall but for much of the proceedings, the walls were lined with onlookers too engaged to leave for lack of adequate seating.

In one humble viewers opinion, this is an event that should be repeated in both form and function annually, as the length and breadth of the issues at hand multiply and shift with increased speed and readiness every day. Such a worthwhile pulpit should be maintained for future students in upcoming years.

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