MSU Department of English Graduate Education

(inspiring music) [Zarena Aslami] I think the vision for our department is
around issues of not just inclusion and diversity, but also doing work that is at
the forefront of the questions that I think are in everyone’s mind. [Justus Nieland] Our graduate students need a range of different kinds of mentoring. [Yomaira Figueroa] Because we
are interested in students who are doing transdisciplinary research, that are
doing research across race, sex, gender, and also across geographical and
temporal spaces and periods. [Cody Mejeur] We have so many amazing workshops that you can go to. – Our main goal was to create a collaborative space in which graduate students who are working on issues around feminism, queer theory,
gender studies… could get together and collaborate on issues around research
and teaching. [Briona Jones] Our workshop is aimed at the sort of interdisciplinarity of literature, of race, of pedagogy. [Emery Petchauer] We wanted graduate students particularly to have practice in teaching through race frameworks, and also a space to just
develop our own thinking. [Zarena Aslami] Graduate students get access to faculty that they might not otherwise get access to, and they also get to kind of talk amongst
themselves across cohorts. [Lamar Johnson] I think it makes our department more cutting-edge. It shows the graduate students that we’re here and we’re trying to move
forward coming from a justice oriented standpoint. – By formally having these
kinds of research workshops, it goes a long way in kind of setting aside the
time and the commitment to make sure we’re all in the same room at the same
time. – One of the things that would attract
students to MSU, and one of the things that we are recruiting on, is the
interdisciplinary research strengths of our faculty. – My research actually looks
at Afro-Latinx literature emerging from the Spanish speaking Caribbean and
written in diaspora. [Divya Victor] My scholarship is invested in work that treats historical trauma, whether that is systemic or intersubjected. – I identify primarily as a
modernist, and generally my research is at the intersection of aesthetic
modernism and film studies. – My work lends to contributions to the fields of language and literacy studies, English education, Black Studies and literary studies. – We have historically chosen not to identify ourselves by rigidly defined periods or
national boundaries. -The thing I find most exciting about this department is
how it brings together so many different types of English studies: Literature, film,
television, video games in my case, and it makes a space for all of those things. – I’ve found the students at Michigan
State to be very concerned about our contemporary moment. All of the students
and the faculty are driven to kind of understand the question of what it means
to be human and who gets to be included in that category. I’m really thinking
about decolonial love and decoloniality. The lines between science and fiction,
and how we navigate those lines as both humanists and scientists. – I’ve been
working on a book chapter that looks at queer indie games and how they’re
representing queer experiences using narrative. I think the 21st century graduate student has a clear sense of the social
stakes of their project. – I’m interested in thinking about what narrative is and does, but with a particular focus on social justice. 21st century students are
intellectually flexible. We have students who are aware of the history of
particular disciplines but they don’t feel bound to those disciplines. – I found folks who I wanted to work with whose projects aligned with mine. – The department has given me a lot of ample opportunity to explore my research in
different contexts, which has enriched the kind of project that I’m doing as a
humanist. – I see this department as one that really,
I think, recognizes and respects grad students’ interests, while also
professionalizing them and enabling them to sort of compete, quite frankly, in an
academic market. – We’re going to recruit students based on the kinds of
interdisciplinary work that we do; the kinds of questions that we ask that
cross a range of different disciplines and histories and periods. English is really changing, and I think MSU is one of the places that is changing the most
and the quickest. I’m really excited about being able to kind of foster that,
and being part of a department that is excited about welcoming students that
are doing that work, and hopefully reshaping critical parts of the field. (Inspiring music)

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