Special Pull-Out Section: Clubs and Organizations at the GC

One of the key pillars of strength at the CUNY Graduate Center is the extensive roster of dynamic student organizations chartered by the Doctoral Students Council. From area studies collectives and clubs for the artistically inclined to political solidarity organizations, there’s something for almost everyone affiliated with the vibrantly diverse GC community. Yet given the commuter culture that also inhabits our hallways, not every student is consistently aware of the opportunities afforded by the tremendous energies of our student society. As the primary voice of the student body, this paper intends to bridge that gap. Therefore, beginning with this issue, the Advocate will include a monthly section reporting on news and activities of the various student-run clubs and organizations on campus, as well as publicizing information on their upcoming events and gatherings. We’re ready for an incredible year of academic, artistic, cultural and political expression and celebration, here at the Graduate Center, and want to make sure that you are too.


3 Text Studio

The Text Textile Texture Studio (3Text Studio) is an interdisciplinary guild dedicated to art-making in the tradition of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, late Distinguished Professor of English at the Graduate Center, queer theorist, and fiber artist. The Studio’s purpose is to help GC students and other academics practice crafts related to books, texts, or language, as well as to study theoretical and artistic work related to the materiality of language. Possible 3Text activities/media include artist’s books, rubber-stamping, paper-folding, cartooning, textile dying/printing, collage—any of which might be deployed in conjunction with group writing, experimental critical writing, and other more “open-ended” modes of text generation. More familiar events such as presentations and discussion are also a distinct possibility.

The first Studio gathering of the fall, on Thursday, October 18, will be dedicated to making hexaflexagons. These invert-able folded-paper “books,” as Sedgwick called them, have two sides, but paradoxically have six different faces. They’re fun to make, intriguing to watch in action, and remarkably satisfying to manipulate. Hexaflexagons can also be used as study aids, and are especially useful for memorizing groups of six.

3Text Studio events are open to all Graduate Center students (who may also bring a guest), Graduate Center faculty and staff-members, and doctoral students from other institutions. No special skills or experience are required to fully participate in 3Text Studio activities. All disciplines are welcome!

You can see examples of previous Studio projects at www.3TextStudio.wordpress.com. To receive announcements of future events, please sign the online roster on the DSC website, or send an e-mail to text.textile.texture@gmail.com.

Critical Palestine Studies Association

The Critical Palestine Studies Association is a brand new chartered organization at the CUNY Graduate Center focusing on Palestine and relevant matters. The association comprises a diverse and interdisciplinary group of scholars linked by our shared passion for issues related to Palestinian society, culture, and politics. This autumn, we expect to host a number of talks with prominent scholars working on Palestinian issues and to begin planning for a potential mini Palestinian film festival in the near future. We’d like to develop an agenda according to the particular interests of our members, so please join by signing up at http://cunydsc.org/node/9418.
Our first meeting will be held at a time to be determined later this month. Feel free to email either Kristofer Petersen-Overton (kpetersen-overton@gc.cuny.edu) or Kareem Rabie (krabie@gc.cuny.edu) for more information. Also, you can follow us on Twitter at @CPSA_CUNY.

The CUNY Internationalist Marxist Club

The CUNY Internationalist Marxist Club works to bring GC students the undiluted programmatic and analytical heritage of Marxism as a guide to revolutionary action, promoting “Marxist education, solidarity with the world-wide struggle for emancipation of the workers and oppressed, and awareness of the connection between these issues and the struggle to defend public education.”

Recent activities include helping build revolutionary contingents in solidarity with the Quebec student strike and locked-out Con Ed workers, actions against police repression at CUNY and the NYPD’s racist “stop and frisk” program, and mobilizing for the city-wide May Day march as part of an Internationalist contingent calling for full citizenship rights for all immigrants, the defeat of US imperialism, occupying closing schools, and the continued fight for a revolutionary workers party!

The group built forums on student and teacher struggles from Quebec to Puerto Rico and Chile; the long shore workers’ fight in Longview, Washington; and “Marxism and the Occupy Movement,” bringing class-struggle politics into debates on OWS, unlike left currents that tail the populist notion that an undifferentiated “99%” could “get money out of politics” in capitalist America with its two-headed property party of Democrats and Republicans.

Working “in accordance with the Trotskyist principles of ‘The Internationalist,’” the GC organization is part of the CUNY Internationalist Clubs born out of a 2001 campaign to stop CUNY’s attempted “anti-immigrant war purge” against undocumented students. It helped spike a Board of Trustees witch hunt against playwright Tony Kushner, authored the exposé “Look Who’s Trusteeing at CUNY,” in the GC Advocate, and calls to abolish the BoT, reestablish open admissions and free tuition, get all cops off campus, and for the university to be run by elected councils of students, teachers and workers. It works closely with Class Struggle Education Workers (edworkersunite.blogspot.com), a Left opposition group in the NYC teachers union and CUNY Professional Staff Congress that has organized against racist school closings and led a struggle against education unions’ endorsing Barack Obama despite the Democratic president’s drive to weaken public education.

The Club’s weekly study group discusses key Marxist works as they relate to the world we live in today. These have ranged from the Communist Manifesto, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific and Value, Price and Profit by Marx and Engels, to Lenin’s What Is To be Done? and State and Revolution, Rosa Luxemburg’s Reform or Revolution, Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution and The Revolution Betrayed, Bolshevik leader Alexandra Kollontai on communism and women’s liberation, James P. Cannon’s “The Russian Revolution and the American Negro Movement,” and Claude McKay’s speeches to the Communist International on black liberation. The study group has also viewed films, read Ousmane Sembene’s classic novel on the role of women in Senegalese class struggles, and organized a trip to MOMA to see Diego Rivera’s vibrant revolutionary murals.

Currently the group is reading a series of works on Marxism and the black freedom struggle, kicking off the fall semester with a screening of Finally Got the News, on Detroit’s League of Revolutionary Black Workers, and a forum on “Class and Race, Education and Revolution in Brazil.”

Write us at cunyinternationalists@gmail.com.  For more on the CUNY-wide Internationalist Clubs, see www.internationalist.org/joincunyinternationalistclubs.


Dominican Studies Group

DSG (Dominican Studies group) is an interdisciplinary group at the CUNY Graduate Center that welcomes students and faculty from all departments to share interests, ideas, and information about Dominican culture and its Diaspora.  We acknowledge that there has been an increase of students with interest in Dominican studies in the areas of literary criticism, anthropology, sociology and music. Hence, we believe that a specialized group in the area of Dominican studies will stimulate the growing interest in the field.  Our primary goal is to enhance the study of Dominicans in the United States and to provide a common ground where ideas can be introduced, grow and exchanged. The idea emerged from three graduate students of Dominican descent. The three founders stem from different wings of graduate study: Anthropology, Ethnomusicology and Hispanic and Luso Brazilian Literatures and Languages.

Last year we had a series of literary events. During the Fall 2011, our guests, Dominican writer Aurora Arias and Associate Professor Carlos Decena discussed the crude reality of sex tourism in the Dominican Republic and its impact on literature.  During the Spring 2012, Josefina Báez, a Dominican-York writer, read from her latest work, Levente No. Yolayorkdominicanyork and spoke about the complexities of Dominican transnational identity.

This year we will offer a series of music related events, as well. During the fall, an expert on afro-Dominican music will discuss the revival of afro-Dominican rhythms by mainstream musicians and the role of the Dominican Diaspora in keeping afro-descendant traditions alive.  Spring will be dedicated to bachata, its history and development through the lens of Giovanni Savino, a New York City based photographer and documentary maker.


Early Modern Interdisciplinary Group

The Early Modern Interdisciplinary Group (EMIG) works to bring together early modern scholars from various disciplinary backgrounds and to promote scholarship on the early modern period that reflects such academic diversity. To that end, EMIG invites scholars from within the CUNY system and beyond to the Graduate Center to deliver papers and to discuss their research with graduate students and faculty. EMIG holds graduate student seminars each semester, round-table discussions organized around a theme during which graduate students from various disciplines can share and discuss their work with one another. Finally, EMIG hosts an annual academic conference, usually held during the spring semester.


Food Studies Collective

The Food Studies Collective is an interdisciplinary group at the CUNY Graduate Center that invites students and faculty from all programs to share interests, ideas, and information about the social, political and environmental dynamics of food systems, food practices and cultures, as well as food theory and pedagogy. Our primary purpose is to foster an intellectual and social community of scholars that encourages interactions across disciplines and between faculty and students. Events: The group meets regularly throughout the school year to plan events such as guest speakers, workshops, seminars, colloquia, film screenings, CUNY based food projects, networking and parties. Through these activities we aim to create a space for connecting and collaborating with food scholars within and outside the Graduate Center and CUNY. For additional information please see visit our website at
http://cunydsc.org/category/financial-category/expenditures/chartered-organizations/food-studies-collective, and our Google Groups page at http://groups.google.com/group/cuny-gc-food-studies-collective.


The Graduate Center Composition and Rhetoric Community (GCCRC)

The Graduate Center Composition and Rhetoric Community (GCCRC), a DSC-chartered organization, is comprised of a diverse group of students and faculty interested in not only what texts say, but how they say it and how they come to say it—in short, how they are composed. Our meetings feature a range of public activities including frequent scholarly discussions, faculty lectures, and skills-based workshops such as our digital toolkit events where we share tools for composing and teaching in our contemporary world.

This interdisciplinary group is of particular interest to those who are teaching while pursuing their degrees because of our commitment to exploring writing-centered pedagogies, offering a support network for new and continuing graduate student instructors and hands-on training sessions for anyone interested. We lead summer and winter teaching orientations that are particularly helpful for those new to teaching but are open to anyone interested in exploring new approaches in the classroom. As a group we strive to utilize our individual strengths to mentor each other, helping each of us grow as teachers and scholars.

The GCCRC aims to foster discussions of writing studies and composition theory alongside our own local classroom experiences; these important connections between theory and practice regularly develop into group members’ presentations at national conferences. To that end, we coordinate workshops for conference proposals, mock presentations, seminar papers, and job market materials.

This fall our meetings are on Monday nights from 6:30-8:30, and feature speakers and workshops centered around writing studies and pedagogy. Save these dates:

8/22 – Summer teaching orientation
9/10 – Meet and Greet the GCCRC
9/24 – Jason Tougaw on memoir writing
10/15 – Conference proposal workshop
10/29 – Mark McBeth’s “Masquerade”
11/12 – Jessica Yood on turning informal academic writing into publishable work
11/26 – Dominique Zino on visual rhetoric
12/3 – Amy Wan (topic TBD)
12/17- Peda-Pollyanna (an exchange of effective assignments and activities)

For more information on our topics and speakers, sign up for our mailing list:
COMPRHET-L@gc.listserv.cuny.edu or e-mail us at gc.comprhet@gmail.com


Jewish Connection Group

The Jewish Connection Group was started in fall 2009 by a Biology doctoral student at Brooklyn College. She wanted to develop an organization where Jewish graduate students could come together and share their culture, non-Jews could experience Jewish culture, and people from the community could share the Jewish experience with graduate students from different backgrounds. She was able to fulfill this goal by contacting Chabad of Midtown to become the sponsor of three to four Sabbath dinners per semester. Sabbath dinners take place at the Graduate Center and are open to everyone. We usually have a very nice crowd of between ten and thirty graduate students and people from the community who meet to eat, drink, and socialize. Chabad of Midtown also provides us with a rabbi who helps develop a wonderful spirit among everyone by leading a few prayers, songs, and insightful discussion about the weekly religious passage. Advertisements for these Sabbath dinners can be found on the bulletin boards located by the elevators on each floor at the Graduate Center. In addition, departments send out regular reminder emails. If you would like to add your email address to our listserv, please send your name and email address to Frances Victory at victory.frances@gmail.com.


GC Poetics Group

The GC Poetics Group is an interdisciplinary collective at the CUNY Graduate Center made up of students and faculty from all departments who are interested in poetry and poetics. In a spectacle-weaned culture of instant gratification, poetry is publicly regarded, at best, as a dead art, and, at worst, a gaud or trinket. But poetry’s marginality can also be envisioned as a strategic advantage, affording the poetic register radical mutability with respect to dominant zones of discourse. The purpose of our group, then, is to play to this advantage: to provide an institutional context in which a variety of poetry events, discussions, and other transgressions can happen, and to foster a diverse intellectual and social community dedicated to creative writing and scholarship, and the imaginative amalgams of both. We are particularly concerned with poetry as a means by which to exacerbate the contradictions inherent in political discourse, and to imagine alternative modes of discursive participation.

Thus, the Poetics Group not only offers a forum for engaging the sundry talents and interests of the many poets and scholars of poetry from across the Graduate Center’s curriculum, but also serves as a way of connecting the institution to other poetry communities in New York City and beyond. While the group is open to all Graduate Center students and faculty, the activities we organize—readings, interviews, panel discussions, performances—are open to the public, and we welcome participation from other CUNY faculty and students, as well as anyone else who is interested in poetry in New York City. After all, poetry intends to make more world, and if poems fail to actualize the possibilities they describe, they nonetheless can instruct us “to be more keenly interested while [we’re] still alive,” as Frank O’Hara wrote of the work of Larry Rivers: “And perhaps this is the most important thing art can say.”

There is typically one Poetics Group event per month, and in addition to bringing writers from a wide range of cultural, linguistic, and educational backgrounds, we also host a student poetry/prose reading at the end of each semester. This September the group will host “Blueprint for Poetry,” a reading and conversation about intoxication, virtuality, and poetic form, with poet Cyrus Console and scholar Michael Clune; in October we’ll welcome University of Georgia professor Jed Rasula to the GC to celebrate the launch of his anthology, Burning City: Poems of Metropolitan Modernity. Looking further down the line, Washington University professor, and translator of John Ashbery, Ignacio Infante will join us in the spring, and the GC’s own Erica Kaufman will talk shop with British poet, performer, and visual artist, Maggie O’Sullivan. More information about our events, past and future, can be found on our blog: http://opencuny.org/poetics/. Our current co-chairs are Leah Souffrant (co-founder), Tonya Foster, Erica Kaufman, Bradley Lubin, Josh Schneiderman, and Kyle Waugh. If you’d like to contact the group, or join our listserv, please write to: gcpoetics@gmail.com.


Postcolonial Studies Group

The Postcolonial Studies Group (PSG) is an interdisciplinary, student-run organization at the CUNY Graduate Center. We stage events loosely related to the field of postcolonial studies/ transnational studies. This field encompasses both the study of the history, cultures, arts and literatures of postcolonial peoples, as well as theories of postcoloniality and of the transnational.

Our past events have included lectures and panels by CUNY and visiting scholars–students and faculty alike–as well as panel discussions, and film screenings. Each event also has a social component, since these events offer an opportunity for those working in various disciplines to come together, network, and consider working together in future.

We are open to GC students, though we also welcome the participation of all CUNY faculty and students, as well as those from other institutions. Our events have always been free of charge, and our only means of support thus far has been our DSC funds.

We maintain an active listserv with over 100 members; our active participants have included students in departments including English, Art History, History, Urban Education, Comparative Lit., Anthropology, Philosophy, Psychology and Theater.

In 2007 we held a summer reading group for the first time, in which students considered a number of short works of postcolonial theory. In the summer of 2008, we expanded this to three month-long groups examining one key text each. Since then, the group has convened for summer sessions, reading three major theoretical texts in the field over the course of three months. We also introduced a monthly Postcolonial Studies Colloquium Series, which will continue its fourth year in the 2012-2013 academic year. Please see our website for more info http://opencuny.org/psg/.  Dates and event info to come!

Anyone who wishes to help organize our events is welcome, though currently the coordinators are CUNY GC English program students Ian Foster and Tracy Riley. For information on how to join our listserv PSG-L please email traceysrily@gmail.com or ianfoster@gmail.com


The Prison Studies Group

The Prison Studies Group is an interdisciplinary group that seeks to engage in and promote critical and scholarly examination of the prison, criminal, and juvenile justice systems—local and global, contemporary and historical. To this end, we coordinate several events every year, including an annual graduate student conference.  We also invite speakers to discuss their work and research, host film screenings, run the “Books through Bars” drop-box in the Mina Reese Library, and provide a space to workshop one another’s research and writing. We hope this year to provide more resources for our members, including bibliographies, an updated contact list of local and national organizations, a book/film lending library, and syllabi and curriculum shares. There has been discussion of a regular reading group, and we have recently begun a current events/issues blog (http://opencuny.org/prisonstudiesgroup/). Through our efforts, we hope to raise awareness and encourage productive scholarship, research, and teaching of mass incarceration and the larger Prison Industrial Complex. Email us to get involved and share your ideas! Join the listserv and find out about our upcoming events: prisonstudiesgroup@gmail.com.


Social and Political Theory Students’ Association

SPTSA (Social and Political Theory Students’ Association), is a fifteen-year-old DSC chartered organization at the Graduate Center, providing an inter-disciplinary forum for research, discussion, and networking relating to scholarly and professional pursuits in social theory. Over the years, SPTSA (pronounced “schpitsah”) has brought together students and faculty from various programs, including but not limited to Comparative Literature, Economics, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, Theater, and the Women’s Studies Certificate Program for a variety of activities ranging from talks and workshops to film screenings, writing groups and wine and cheese events. In the 2012-2013 school year, SPTSA will host or co-host a number of talks and seminars to include visits from Carol Gilligan, Virginia Held and Carol Gould. In addition, SPTSA has been focusing more energy on professional development events over the last few semesters—a commitment that continues this year with a number of workshops directed at political theory PhD students.


Udaan-Indian Students and Researchers Association

A home away from home……

The City University of New York (CUNY) is one of the largest public universities in the United States, and its campus spreads far and wide across our city’s five boroughs. Being so spread out makes it difficult for the students from different CUNY campuses to come together and develop cultural and intellectual interaction.

In 2010 a group of friends came together to form Udaan-ISRA, a chartered organization under the Doctoral Student Council (DSC), to convene Indian students and others at CUNY who are either doctoral students or postdoctoral fellows. For the past two years, Udaan-ISRA has been actively organizing cultural events each semester (Utsav and Navrang) to share our rich Indian culture among friends. During these semester activities we prepare and serve lots of yummy Indian food, and host music, dance performances and celebrate Indian festivals. To enjoy the summer sunshine, we also organize recess events like trips to cricket tournaments and outdoor picnics for our members.

Udaan-ISRA values its members (friends) and their participation in the various organized events. We keep our members posted of our upcoming activities during our bi-annual meetings and through email, our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/isra.cuny) and our website http://opencuny.org/isra/. Udaan-ISRA membership is free and easy. Just send an email to cuny.isra@gmail.com or sign up on the Udaan-ISRA page at the  DSC website,  http://cunydsc.org/organizations/udaan-isra.

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