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Parents update Spring 2014

Student members of The Literacy Review team pose with Writing Program Director, June Foley, front and center. ©NYU Photo Bureau: Creighton

Gallatin’s Writing Program Fostering Global Literature, Writing and Publishing Careers, and Student Work

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he fourth floor of Gallatin’s 1 Washington Place building is home to the Gallatin Writing Program, a cornerstone of the Gallatin academic experience and one with a broad reach. The program encompasses varied writing courses, an active writing center, notable civic engagement projects, well-attended readings and writing-related events, two vibrant print publications, The Gallatin Review and The Literacy Review, and the online journal Confluence. Now in its twelfth year, the program continues to enlarge its scope under the tutelage of dedicated Writing Program Director June Foley. One of the Writing Program’s main civic engagement projects, Great World Texts (GWT), is a collaboration between Gallatin faculty and undergraduate mentors, New York City high school teachers, and up to 150 high school students who together study a canonical work or contemporary

classic. “Working at my school site,” notes GWT’s student mentor Rose Howell (BA ’14), “I was inspired by how much potential the kids have to be engaged, passionate, thoughtful, and vulnerable. They really are brave when they feel safe and supported.” Professor Jeanette Tran chose Maxine Hong Kingston’s landmark work The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts for GWT during the fall 2013 semester. Gallatin was honored to host Kingston in April 2014 for a reading to which all GWT participating high school students and teachers, as well as the greater Gallatin community, were invited.  Great World Texts itself went global this year— even beyond the emphasis on a “world” text—by setting up the first pilot program outside of New York City on the NYU Buenos Aires Center. There, NYU students mentored Lenguas Vivas High School


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students in a reading of Kingston’s memoir. NYU Buenos Aires Director Anna Kazumi Stahl called it “an experience, with challenges that brought out the most resilient, intelligent, and innovative” aspects of the NYU student mentors. Another newly established program with a global emphasis, Gallatin Global Writers, will feature contemporary international authors and the diverse literary traditions and cultures from which their writing arises. Esteemed Iraqi poet, journalist, and activist Saadi Youssef will be the series’ first speaker in the fall of 2014, and he will be introduced by Gallatin Professor Sinan Antoon, himself an Iraqi poet, as well as a novelist, filmmaker, and translator who has brought Youssef’s poems into English in Nostalgia; My Enemy (Graywolf, 2012).   The inaugural Careers in Writing and Publishing event opened in the fall of 2013 with a talk from veteran Gallatin writing teacher, fiction writer, and speechwriter for former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Professor Steve Rinehart. Rinehart took a rare moment from writing and teaching to speak about the ways in which political speechwriting and ghost writing often intersect. For the spring

“The Gallatin Writing Program provided me with an unparalleled opportunity to learn from extremely talented professionals in the field, expanded my editorial experience, and allowed me to serve the greater community of New York City.” —Jenessa Abrams (BA ’14) 2014 event, Barbara Jones, an executive editor at Henry Holt who teaches The Basics and the Bold: Fundamentals of Editing Fiction and Creative Nonfiction, spoke about the book publishing process. The next event in the series is slated for the fall of 2014, and will focus on science journalism, with a reading and panel discussion moderated by Professor Anne DeWitt, author of Moral Authority, Men of Science, and the Victorian Novel (Cambridge University Press, 2013). Following the reading, students will share their science writing. Gallatin’s creative writers have the opportunity to publish in Gallatin’s publications and, in the fall of 2013, the Students Reading Their Writing series began to provide another forum for students to share their work. The series’ inaugural event highlighted works published in Confluence, Gallatin’s online journal for writing, art, and research that was launched in 2012. “Everyone at Gallatin is doing something different,” says Writing Program Coordinator

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Bees Visit Me A bee perched on my shirt, then another. Blossoms were radiant, shaking the beechnut tree and the orchard—  How did the bees come? My table doesn’t have much: a piece of bread and cheese, but it overflows with French wine . . . Is that what the bees are after? What is strange is that they cling to my shirt, persistent. Do they know that honey, the universe, and the end, are under the shirt? —That pollen is quivering?   —Saadi Youssef From Nostalgia, My Enemy, by Saadi Youssef (Graywolf Press, 2012), translated from the Arabic by Sinan Antoon and Peter Money.

Alison Paty (GAL BA ’12, GSAS MA ’14), “so the Students Reading Their Writing series gets students talking to each other. It’s important professional experience, too. Students have the chance to work with an editor when they have work in The Gallatin Review, and doing readings is, of course, another important aspect of being a professional writer.” The spring 2014’s event was curated by Professor Lara Vapnyar, author of The Scent of Pine (Simon & Schuster, 2014). For the series, Vapnyar introduced a mix of undergraduate and graduate students to present multimedia works they had developed in her course Writing Fiction in the Digital Age. Jenessa Abrams (BA ’14), Editor-in-Chief of The Literacy Review and Prose Editor of The Gallatin Review talks about her Gallatin writing and publishing experiences with gratitude. “The Gallatin Writing Program provided me with an unparalleled opportunity to learn from extremely talented professionals in the field, expanded my editorial experience, and allowed me to serve the greater community of New York City.” Support, mentors, experience, and inspiration: what else could a young writer ask for? For more information on the Writing Program’s upcoming offerings, visit Gallatin’s site and click on Undergraduate > Writing.

Spring 2014


from the desk of the dean

Dear Parents,

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t has been a long, cold winter and we in New York are very glad to see the spring finally here. Those of you who are parents of freshmen from warmer climates have probably heard a lot of distress about the weather this year! We will hope that next year we will have a much warmer and more typical New York winter. This year at Gallatin, we have had a very active Student Council who meet with me often to share student concerns. Over the course of the year, they have organized a series of town hall-style meetings at which I can speak with students. Watching the Student Council at work reminds me ©NYU Photo Bureau: Asselin of how fun it is to work with smart, engaged students, and I encourage you to encourage your students to get involved either in Gallatin clubs or in Gallatin governance! We also have a very active Students Senators Council in the University Senate. This summer, as in past years, Gallatin is sponsoring a number of exciting opportunities in theater, including our Summer Theater Lab for playwrights, a week-long intensive on Shakespeare, a “theatre boot camp” led by the inimitable ensemble group Fiasco Theater, and a chance to work on all aspects of theater from acting to writing to directing with the New Group. Led by the distinguished director and Gallatin alumnus Scott Elliott (BA ’93), the New Group is an edgy and exciting off-Broadway theater company that specializes in contemporary new plays. Currently enrolled students are eligible to sign up for these summer courses. As you will see from the article on our Writing Program, Gallatin has sponsored a series of Careers in Writing events, and we are also working on events that highlight other career opportunities, including the arenas of business and consulting. Next year, we will augment Gallatin-specific student programming in these arenas. Students can also consult with the NYU Wasserman Center for advice on both careers, future jobs, and internships. As always at Gallatin, students’ advisers can help them think through where they will want to be once they finish college. We consider this kind of philosophical and practical meditation an important element of a college education.

Gallatin celebrated films by faculty, students, and alums in the Tribeca Film Festival in April. From L to R: Antonio Santini (BA ‘10) co-director of Mala Mala; Dean Susanne Wofford; two leads from Five Star; and Keith Miller, Gallatin faculty and director of Five Star.

I hope you and your student have a wonderful summer!

Yours,

Susanne Wofford Dean

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m e e t t h e fac u lt y

Understanding the Digitally Mediated Age Professor Paula Chakravartty

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hen it comes to revolutionary politics such as the Arab Spring, is media just another instrument—or can it be truly instrumental in bringing about change? “What do we have to say about this beyond the fact that these were tools that were used?” wonders Associate Professor Paula Chakravartty. Chakravartty joined NYU in the fall of 2013, after teaching at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Her focus is on international relations between media and politics in the Global South, a geographic and conceptual area that includes India, South Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. Chakravartty was born in India, raised in Canada, and also lived in the American Midwest. Chakravartty’s political sense was not so much learned as lived. “Going back and forth from Calcutta to Calgary shaped the way I saw the world,” she says. “When we moved to Canada in the late 1970s, it was a pre-multicultural moment in Canada’s history.” She explains that, for all of Canada’s progressive prestige, discussion about the country’s racial politics at the time was conspicuous in its absence. In light of her personal history, it is not surprising that she is interested in facilitating communication and collaboration. As opposed to a lecture, Gallatin’s signature seminar-style classes are, in her eyes, much more productive for engaging in a dialogue with students. “It’s a real luxury to be able to teach undergraduate students in a seminar setting,” she says. Chakravartty runs her undergraduate level classes, such as Media and Empire and Media and Global Social Movements, like master’s-level courses, and she asks her students to stake a claim in intellectual discourse. While this approach works well with Gallatin students, Chakravartty admits that the methodologies and materials themselves can be a tricky combination: “With this generation of students, you have to combine scholarly work— theory and history—with more contemporary, mediated texts.” It helps that media studies has a high profile today, but the popularity of the field can make it harder to recognize since media, like politics, is ubiquitous and constantly evolving. The rapid pace has interesting implications. “The hyper-mediated, constant stream of information can also lead to an obfuscation of what is actually happening,” she says. “So the urgency for research and writing and some clear thinking is high.” The great power of a digitally mediated age lies in its ever-increasing capacity to transform

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“With this generation of students, you have to combine scholarly work— theory and history—with more contemporary, mediated texts.” the sheer rate and range of collaborative interactions, especially on an international scale. Yet Chakravartty never underestimates the importance of in-person connections and discussions. “Substantive collaborative work, especially research, requires face-to-face meetings,” she says. Chakravartty’s most recent large-scale project, “Infrastructures of Empire,” a two-day workshop on mediated activism and counterrevolutions, was sponsored the Social Science Research Council. It brought together twenty scholars from around the world who visited Gallatin in late April to address media and politics in the context of the Global South. Chakravartty appreciates being a part of Gallatin’s liberal arts, interdisciplinary program where students are very interested in media, but where, she notes, media is not necessarily the center of their work. Chakravartty seems uniquely able to bring both political media and mediated politics into new focus. Says Chakravartty, “My whole approach is to put media in context.” Read more about our faculty at www.gallatin.nyu.edu.

Spring 2014


student life

My Door is Always Open A Profile of Candice Clawson

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was supposed to become a Wall Street power diva,” says Assistant Director of Student Life Candice Clawson. But after a stint working in student life, she went to Columbia’s Teachers College for her master’s, studying Higher and Post-secondary Education, with an emphasis on Educational Policy. The daughter of parents who work in pharmaceuticals, Clawson grew up in Connecticut, but she moved around a great deal before coming to New York. “I’ve lived everywhere and seen a lot, which helps me identify with the students who are just coming here.”

program,” she says, “but I wanted to come and be a part of the big show.” With eighteen Gallatin-specific organizations, four of which formed this year, and over 550 university-wide groups, there’s no shortage of opportunities for students. “We have lots of artists here and groups for artists, like the Gallatin Theatre Troupe and the newly-formed Composers Forum.” There are student-run, Gallatin-funded publications, including EMBODIED, a woman’s fashion magazine, as well as The Journal of Global Affairs, and The Gallatin Research Journal. “Gallatin students have the financial resources from the school and the staff support to realize their ideas,” says Clawson. Financial support for clubs and programs is available through the Gallatin Student Resource Fund. Clawson points to a popular oneday Jazz Concert and Symposium which was made possible by support from this fund. “I Gotta Right

“I’ve lived everywhere and seen a lot, which helps me identify with the students who are just coming here.”

©NYU Photo Bureau

Whether it’s working with first-year students, the Student Council, student organizations, faculty, or as the liaison between Gallatin and the main campus, Clawson is an ace at keeping all of these conversations going. She also sits on several committees that manage student life at all of the NYU schools, and she always keeps her ears open for ideas on how to improve student life at Gallatin. The rapid pace suits Clawson, who came to Gallatin in August 2013 after helping open the first domestic NYU Global site in Washington, DC. The skills she honed there—writing policy and creating the infrastructure for the site—have fed her vision for Gallatin students. “It was a lot of fun to build a new

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to Sing the Blues” was organized by Henry Topper (BA ’15) and featured live music by the Hot Sardines and talks by Professor Michael Dinwiddie and Wall Street Journal jazz critic Will Friedwald. In addition to arranging Town Hall meetings with Dean Wofford, Clawson has facilitated stronger faculty involvement by running regular, intimate “coffee houses,” small salons that create a conversation around a range of issues—from Edward Snowden and the NSA to cultivating sustainability on campus and at home. For the future of Student Life at Gallatin, Clawson plans to streamline the Orientation Leader program, with an emphasis on peer-topeer interaction. She’s also working on better integrating the student clubs with the first-year interdisciplinary seminars. Clawson wants parents to know that the students are well-supported when they come to Gallatin. “We are really committed to giving everyone a place. They have the option to belong. When parents send their children to school in the middle of New York City, they should know there is a safety net here.”

Spring 2014


Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage PAID New York, NY Permit No. 7931

1 Washington Place, New York, NY 10003

NYU Parents Council The NYU Parents Council is an important part of the University’s effort to build and strengthen relationships across the NYU community. The Council meets twice a year with the University administration to discuss critical topics that affect student life. Members also have opportunities to socialize and network with fellow parents, alumni and University leaders. The NYU Parents Council Mission: • To increase philanthropic support for NYU • To offer feedback and inform University leadership from a parent’s perspective • To welcome new parents to the University through Freshman Send-offs, the President’s Reception and regional events These Select Parent Leaders: • Serve as ambassadors for the University • Assist the University in building partnerships • Participate in meetings and other NYU activities For more information, please contact Gallatin’s Director of Development, Maureen Bannon, at maureen.bannon@nyu.edu or at 212-998-6996.

Photos from the Gallatin Arts Festival, student life, and the annual Big Walk. ©NYU Photo Bureau

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Spring 2014


Parents Update Spring 2014