We’re celebrating Banned Books Week! This week recalls the value of free and open access to information. Check out DePaul’s upcoming events, and exercise your freedom to read!
If you weren’t able to join us last Friday for the 11th Annual Spring English Conference, you can now find all of the recorded panels here on the conference website.
The DePaul English Department invites you to participate in the eleventh Spring English Conference. The Spring English Conference is an annual event in which DePaul English undergraduate and graduate students present academic and creative work.
Although Covid-19 will make this year’s conference different from any other, the work we English students are doing is as important as ever, if not more so. As students of the English language, whether literature or creative writing, ours is the business of telling and interpreting stories. And whether Covid-19 influences your work directly or indirectly, stories are one of the powerful medicines we can share with each other in this strange, serious time.
This is an excellent opportunity for students to showcase their work and to share it with a positive, supportive community of DePaul faculty and peers. This year’s presentations will come in the form of pre-recorded videos posted on the Spring English Conference Website. Each video will be five minutes in length and may be in (but not limited to) the following areas:
Pedagogical and Literary Theory
Publishing, Professional, and Teaching Practices
1. Submit papers or creative projects (poetry collections, short fiction, novel excerpts, etc.) with short proposals (1-3 paragraphs), explaining how you will turn the work into a short (five minute or less) video.
2. For creative writers, this may mean a short reading of an entire work/a selection. For literary studies/pedagogical presenters, this may mean a short Ted-like talk, explaining your research, writing process, or some other aspect/combination of aspects of your work. Students may submit up to two works total: ONE creative piece and ONE work of literary study.
3. All video presentations, both creative and academic, will be no more than five minutes in length. Plan accordingly.
4. Please attach submissions as separate Word or .pdf files within the same email and send to email@example.com with the subject heading “Spring English Conference Submission.”
5. Do NOT put your name or any identifying information anywhere on the submission(s). Instead, enclose a cover sheet with your submissions. The cover sheet should include the following information:
6. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by May 18th.
Works accepted for the conference will be grouped into panels according to genre and/or theme, and a Q&A Zoom session will be recorded for each panel. All works submitted must be original, and we encourage writers to submit recent work. In the spirit of academic fellowship, we encourage participants to look at other panelists’ presentations, and to watch our keynote video.
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: May 11th, 2020
Send submissions or any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to reading your work!
Celebrate National Poetry Month in April by posting your favorite poems OR your own original poetry on social media. The DePaul English Department would love to hear your poems on resilience & fortitude. From 3/21-4/30, tag our social media (@DePaul_English on Twitter & Instagram) in your poetry post & we will re-post your content on our platforms!
Elizabeth Kolbert, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Sixth Extinction and staff writer at The New Yorker, will be stopping by DePaul on Tuesday February 18 from 2-3pm in Student Center room 220 for a casual Q&A discussion. Students and faculty are welcome! A flyer with more info is attached.
By Sara Shahein
Contributor to The Underground
On Wednesday, October 9th DePaul’s Office of Multicultural Student Success teamed up with the Latinx Center and Sigma Lambda Gamma sorority to host “Bilingualism Unpacked.” During the event, attendees listened to a panel of DePaul students and advisors answer questions about multilingualism – the panel’s languages ranged from Spanish to Serbian.
Each of the panelists were asked about their backgrounds and how they learned the languages they know today. Some learned their respective language when they were children, others learned the language in high school and college, and a few spoke the language first and learned English later. The panel noted that they switch languages when speaking with an adult whose native language is not English as a sign of respect and to make the individual feel more comfortable. They likewise discussed the importance of knowing another language and how it allows people to learn more about other cultures or even their own native cultures.
Each panelist was also asked if they had ever traveled abroad, if they spoke a native language abroad, and how were they perceived. A few panelists spoke about being seen as a local and felt more comfortable to take initiative and start up a conversation with locals.
Yet, when asked about the stigma that may arise from being bilingual, one panelist shared an example about having a conversation with someone in Serbian and mentioning that she was from Chicago. The opposite person immediately stopped speaking Serbian and switched to English. In response, the panelist said that she felt disappointed that the gentleman she was speaking to didn’t think she could continue to carry on the conversation if it was in Serbian, despite it being her first language. Other panelists explained that many non-English speakers or struggling English speakers tend to be looked down upon in society, instead of being given translators, assistance, or guidance to encourage them to continue trying to learn English.
The final question posed to the panelists asked whether they had ever denied being bilingual. Much to the surprise of the audience, a few panelists confirmed they had denied their ability to speak another language to others. One panelist explained that she worked in a law firm and it became known that she spoke and understood Spanish. She was quickly asked to translate and interpret, but she did not feel confident enough because she was still in the process of learning Spanish. She told the audience that, when it comes to work, she denies she is bilingual until she feels confident enough in her abilities.
Altogether, “Bilingualism Unpacked” showcased the reasons why someone would want to learn another language. It also taught other multilingual people in the audience how to deal with certain stigmas, present yourself when abroad, appreciate different cultures, and advocate for non-English speakers.
By Olivia Muran
Contributor to The Underground
On Friday, September 27, DePaul celebrated Banned Books Week by hosting Books on the Chopping Block, a live performance by the City Lit Theater Company. The event kicked off at 1 p.m. in the John T. Richardson Library on DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus. Banned Books Week is an annual event hosted by the Office for Intellectual Freedom at the American Library Association. The event raises awareness of the censorship that seeks to dull the intellectual flame of readers across the nation. Regarding the dulling of said figurative flame, the theme of the event this year was “Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark,” urging everyone to “Keep the Light On.”
At DePaul, four members of the City Lit Theater Company performed selections from the Top 10 Banned Books on 2018’s list, including the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. The list also featured many children’s picture books, such as Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner and A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss. In order to make it on the Banned Books list, these titles must have multiple formal complaints or ‘challenges’ filed against them in an effort to remove access in libraries and schools nationwide. Six out of the ten books on the list were banned because of LGBTQIA+ content, while others were banned for addressing teen suicide or political viewpoints.
The performance selections featured a mix of comedy and serious content. Many of the passages read showcased the importance of the book at hand, advocating accessibility as well as removal from banned lists nationwide. For example, the number one challenged book of 2018 was George by Alex Gino, which tells the story of a transgender character during adolescence. The passage performed at DePaul showcased the book’s child-like innocence of George’s experience, though the topic is controversial among certain book communities. As a result, Gino’s George has been banned, challenged, and relocated from libraries and schools.
The Top Banned Books list serves to call our attention to the censorship that books face when the content presents controversial topics. By filing formal complaints, censors restrict access to diverse communities and decide which books can and cannot be read. In turn, participation and awareness of events like Books on the Chopping Block during Banned Books Week continues to defend these restricted books and works to “Keep the Light On” when “Censorship Keeps Us in the Dark.”
Do you enjoy reading books? Working with children? Giving back the the community? If the answer is yes, join DePaul’s Readin’ Demons, a new summer “book buddy” program. Twice a month, groups of DePaul volunteers and elementary school students will partner up to read books, make crafts, and explore children’s fiction. All majors are welcome! For more information, please contact Kelly Cunningham at email@example.com.