For Graduate Students

I am interested in working with PhD students in the following areas: the environmental humanities, animal studies, science studies, gender studies, new materialism, material feminisms; cultural studies, multicultural American literatures, critical theory, 20th century literatures, environmental film, literature, and theory. I am especially interested in projects that cross disciplines or pursue new methodologies and theories. [A cautionary note for international students and visiting scholars: it is not easy to live in Arlington Texas without a car. For practical advice on visiting click here.]

UPCOMING GRADUATE SEMINARS

SPRING 2015: English 6370: Thinking with Plants, Animals, and Materialities. Thursdays 6-8:50

Eduardo Kohn asks, “Can forests think?”  A vital challenge for the environmental humanities is the call to think with life forms and systems that have traditionally eluded the humanities because they are outside the social, the cultural, and the linguistic, as those domains have been defined.  This interdisciplinary seminar will consider how to think with plants, animals, and inhuman material systems, by examining recent scholarship in animal studies, plant studies, anthropology, and material ecocriticism, as well as works of literature, film, and art. We will discuss how thought, representation, and signification are redefined when we think with creatures and material agencies that are not contained by the human. Question of scale, material agency, biosemiotics, extinction, multispecies ethnography, the ecodelic, and more will most likely make themselves known.  Texts will include: Donna Haraway, When Species Meet; Eduardo Kohn, How Forests Think; Anna Sewell, Black Beauty; Jack London Call of the Wild; Barbara Gowdy, The White Bone; Michael Marder, Plant Thinking: A Philosophy of Vegetal Life, Ruth Ozeki, All Over Creation; Daniel Chamovitz What A Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses; Opermann and Iovino, Material Ecocrticism; Jeffrey J. Cohen, Prismatic Ecologies; Elizabeth Ellsworth and Jamie Kruse, Making the Geologic Now; articles and chapters, by Stacy Alaimo, Jeffery J. Cohen, Claire Colebrook, Richard Doyle, Stephanie LeMenager, and Katherine Yusoff; selected poetry, films, web sites, and art.

GENERAL PROCEDURES FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS:

Current students: check your UTA email for information. Please use my official UTA email address for all inquiries regarding current courses or letters of recommendation: alaimo@uta.edu. Please do not use Facebook for anything professional, especially not requests for recommendation letters, etc.

MA thesis and doctoral dissertation writers: please remember to include an email address and a home address on every thing that you give me. If you are handing in revised versions of a thesis or dissertation chapter be sure to include a summary of the comments you received from all your committee members as well as a detailed summary of the revisions that you made, noting page numbers. Please include a table of contents of the entire dissertation along with every chapter you submit. Always include page numbers and a bibliography with everything you hand in. Electronic copies are preferable, since they save paper. Name your files with your last name first, concluding with a number indicating the revision or version; on the first page include "submited [date]" or "revised [date]." (In other words, please keep things clear and organized for your readers.) Be sure to allow at least two weeks for your committee to read a dissertation chapter, three weeks for an MA thesis, and at least a month for an entire dissertation. When planning your defense remember that you will need time to make required revisions before you defend--do not schedule things too tightly. [Check the graduate school for official deadlines!]

Letters of recommendation: Use Interfolio or a similar dossier service--we cannot write multiple letters. Please allow at least three weeks for someone to write you a letter of recommendation. Be sure to provide your letter writers with relevant examples of your work, information, and deadlines--organized in a clear, logical way. (Make it easy for people to write the best possible letter for you.) Please note that the only time I can write letters of recommendation for graduate programs, law school, fellowships, or the national job market is from September through November 15th. So plan ahead and be organized. Doctoral students going on the national job market in English must submit their requests for letters by August 15th of that year. I am not able to fulfill last-minute requests.

Timeline for the national job market:

All graduate students should be aware that it is extraordinarily difficult to obtain a tenure-track job as an English professor. Be sure to research the academic job market years in advance of your search, making use of the MLA, the MLA joblist, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the AAUP, and UTA faculty as sources of information about preparation for your job search, job market procedures and timelines, and the reality of the academic market. All PhD students should make realistic plans at the start of their graduate work--not at the end. No matter how driven you are to secure a tenure-stream academic position it would be prudent to formulate a back-up plan. Community college jobs are plentiful, for example, and some of them pay more than other academic positions. The brutal academic job market has generated the "alt-ac" track.

Take your scholarly and professional training seriously! All PhD students should attend UTA's English Department Hermanns Lectures, other relevant talks at UTA, and every job talk given by job candidates coming through our department. PhD students should also plan on attending several conferences, publishing two academic articles, and joining the professional organizations in their fields. Serving on departmental and university committees, as well as taking on administrative positions, is also a good idea. Be smart and savvy about trends and hazards in higher education: become an AAUP member, read The Chronicle, and MLA's Profession.

Graduate students interested in the environmental humanities should consider attending the following academic conferences: ASLE (Association for the Study of Literature and Environment), SLSA (Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts), and the newly formed AESS (Association for the Study of Environmental Studies and Sciences). The MLA usually includes panels devoted to literature and environment as well as to science and literature. Graduate students should also read ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, Resilience, Green Letters, Configurations. ASLE has a grad student blog here and a FB page here. Graduate students interested in science studies should attend the SLSA and the 4S conferences. For students interested in sustainability and environmentalism see the AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) website. You may wish to consider a career in the field of sustainability or other environmentally-orented jobs. See Orion's Green Jobs page.For more information about academic programs, events, and other opportunities to get involved in sustainability and environmentalism at UTA click here for the Mavericks Go Green web pages. If you are teaching classes related to sustainability or environmentalism, please be sure to tell the Director of the Environmental and Sustainability Studies (ESS) minor so your courses can be considered for inclusion in the minor. (Currently, the Director would be me.) UTA graduate students and teaching assistants should check with the University Sustainability Committee and the Office of Graduate Studies for fellowships, research, and teaching support related to environmental studies and sustainability. UTA graduate students interested in Critical Theory should contact Dr. Ben Agger and ask to be included on the Center for Theory mailing list, which will keep you informed of talks and other theory-related events on campus.

PREVIOUS GRADUATE SEMINARS

Summer II, 2014: English 6360 Feminist Theory: "Gender, Race, and Sexuality in the Wake of Social Construction.” This introduction to feminist theory, gender theory, feminist science studies, and queer theory will focus both on the importance of social construction to these fields and the recent material turn, which complements and critiques social constructionist theories.  The course will include difference feminism, material feminisms, feminist body theory, postcolonial queer theory, transgender theory, posthumanist theory, biopolitics, disability studies, theories of race --and the many intersections among these fields. Active, engaged, participation in class discussions is essential. Six papers and two presentations will be required.

Summer I: 2013: English 6370: Topics in Literature and Environment. Species: Extinction, Engineering, Ethics. T/R 1:00-5:00. Course Description:
This class will investigate the concept of species, paying particular attention to biodiversity, extinction, and genetic engineering. We will begin with Karl Steel's How to Make a Human: Animals and Violence in the Middle Ages and read a bit of Darwin's work but most of the
class will focus on questions regarding species in the contemporary moment. We will read and discuss two novels, Atwood's Oryx and Crake and Ozeki's All Over Creation; one comic work of nonfiction, Douglas Adams' Last Chance to See; along with poetry, science writing, and theory, including Cary Wolfe'sBefore the Law: Humans and Other Animals in a Biopolitical Frame. We will also examine visual art, bioart, multimedia works, websites and film. Six short papers and two presentations will be required. [NOTE: There will be readings due the first day of class: please check Blackboard and your UTA email account for information.]

Spring 2013: English 6370: Environmental Literature:
Science Fiction and Posthumanism in the Anthropocene
The course begins with a strange, forgotten, German SF novel from
1913, but the rest of the course is devoted to recent science fiction that embodies themes, theories, and problematics pertaining to environmentalism, sustainability, posthumanism, and the anthropocene. The readings will challenge us to rethink the category of "nature"within a world where everything has been transformed by human practices. The readings will also challenge us to reconceptualize "human" life within biopolitical, posthumanist,
new materialist, and other frames. What happens to human identity, desire, ethics, and politics when the "human" merges with nonhuman animals, technologies, aliens, and the material world? And how will, how should, the humanities be transformed to be more relevant to our posthumanist anthropocene era?

Fall 2012: English 5360: Contemporary Critical Theory: New Materialisms: Bodies, Environments, Agencies, Thursdays 6-8:50.New materialist theories are emerging across disciplines, fields, and trans-disciplinary areas, including gender theory, environmental theory, science studies, animal studies, cultural studies, medieval studies, new media theory, and literary studies.  These theories challenge the methods and parameters of the humanities by insisting upon the significance, signifying force, and agencies of material bodies, objects, and systems, and by insisting on interactions between the cultural and the physical.  This course will introduce a range of new materialist theories including material feminisms, posthumanisms, affect theory, actor-network theory, object-oriented ontology, and thing theory, examining the methods, frameworks, and ethical trajectories of what is being called the “nonhuman turn” in contemporary theory.  The course will begin by considering what materiality means within familiar theories such as those by Marx, Foucault, and Deleuze and Guattari (via a lecture and brief excerpts).  We will then read a gender theory classic, Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble, considering both why social construction has been so valuable and why new materialists have insisted that the paradigm needs to be challenged or radically expanded. The bulk of the class will consider a range of new materialist texts, including, Bruno Latour, We Have Never Been Modern, Donna Haraway, When Species Meet, Alaimo and Hekman, Material Feminisms, Nicole Shukin, Animal Capital: Rendering Life in Biopolitical Times; Levi Bryant, The Democracy of Objects; Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, ed., Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Ethics and Objects; Stacy Alaimo, Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self; Bill Brown, A Sense of Things: The Object Matter of American Literature; Mel Chen,Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering and Queer Affects, and essays by Karen Barad, Jane Bennett, Tim Morton, ,Eva Hayward, Iris Van der Tuin and Rick Dolphijn.Scholars currently working with new materialism will visit the course.   Students will be able to tailor their seminar paper to their own fields and interests. [Animal, Vegetable, Mineral  and The Democracy of Objects are available as a paper texts and  online, free:
http://punctumbooks.com/titles/animal-vegetable-mineral-ethics-and-objects/  and
http://openhumanitiespress.org/democracy-of-objects.html]

Spring 2012 The Hermanns Lectures, focusing on Animal Studies and the Posthumanities, will be held Friday March 30th, 2012. Students enrolled in my Animal Studies graduate seminar will have the opportunity to hear some of the leading scholars in the field of animal studies and the environmental humanities. Confirmed speakers include: Allison Hunter, Peggy McCracken, and Cary Wolfe, and Neill Matheson.

Graduate seminar: English 6370: Topics in Literature and Environment: Animal Studies. Thursdays: 6-8:50.This course will introduce the most significant and compelling questions in the emerging interdisciplinary field of Animal Studies by way of theory, literature, film, and art. We will read essential works of philosophy, theory and cultural studies along with a wide range of literature, including "young adult" novels, science fiction, poetry, and novels that take animal perspectives seriously. Readings will include: Linda Kalof and Amy Fitzgerald, The Animals Reader: The Essential Classic and Contemporary Writings; Donna Haraway, Primate Visions: Gender, Race and Nature in the World of Modern Science; Jacques Derrida, The Animal that Therefore I am; Cary Wolfe, What is Posthumanism?; Nicole Shukin, Animal Capital: Rendering Life in Biopolitical Times; Anna Sewell, Black Beauty; Jack London, Call of the Wild; Herman Melville, Moby Dick; Les Murray, Translations from the Natural World; Barbara Gowdy, The White Bone; Eva Hornung, Dog Boy; Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake; Becoming Animal, Contemporary Art in the Animal Kingdom,ed. Nato Thompson. Students will have the opportunity to attend the Hermanns lectures and hear Allison Hunter, Peggy McCracken, Cary Wolfe, and Neill Matheson speak on animal studies! (We will cancel one class period to compensate for attendance at the Hermanns lectures.)

"Introducting Feminist Materialisms" I taught an intensive doctororal course at the InterGender research school, TEMA, Linkoping, Sweden, with Nina Lykke and Cecilia Asberg, Fall 2012. Click here for more information. I also spoke in the Posthumanities Hub.(For other talks, scroll to the bottom of my home page.)