Anticipating Accepted Students Day

In anticipation of Accepted Students Day on March 22nd, I sat down with some seasoned graduate students to gather their advice for how to best prepare for a campus visit. As a first year Ph.D. student and a second year MA student, respectively, Sam Sorenson and Ashley Evans shared the following kernels of wisdom with our future colleagues:

  • “Don’t be shy. Try to interact with everyone to get a realistic feel for the department.” Admittedly, Accepted Students Day can feel overwhelming. You are likely to meet a slew of new people, who will ask you a bombardment of questions about your potential interests, academic experiences, and hopes for graduate school. However, try to chat with as many people as you can, in order to get a better sense of the social fabric of the department. Realistically, you may be spending the next 2-9 years with this group of people, so you want to be sure that your future program is a good fit academically as well as socially.
    • Pro tip: if you feel nervous in crowded spaces, or about introducing yourself to new folks, please feel free to reach out to your Recruitment Representatives (me and Megan Bruening) for help.
  • “Don’t feel confined to one space.” Your graduate experience will certainly bring you beyond the walls of one building. Depending on your schedule (and, let’s face it, the spring weather), consider taking a stroll across Lehigh’s beautiful campus. Your fellow graduate students can also recommend their favorite local coffee shops and restaurants if you want to check out the vibrant South Side community in Bethlehem.This is also a great way to get a sense of the local area when you are deciding where you might want to look for housing.
  • “Be fully present.” With our email and social networks at our fingertips, it’s easy to get caught up on our phones and laptops. However, if you want to get a genuine feel for your potential future classes or collegial relationships, it’s best to remain in the moment and actively listen/ respond to those around you.
  • “You don’t actually have to know exactly what you want to do!” A lot of people are likely going to ask you, “So what century/author do you want to research?” Take it from a late bloomer, you don’t need to have your entire graduate experience mapped out on day one. Arguably, the point of your early graduate studies is to take a variety of courses to figure out what intellectually stimulates you and which professors you might want to work with in the future. Even if you write an MA thesis, your interests may change during the exam process if you choose to pursue a Ph.D. (as I can attest). It can feel uncomfortable to admit that you don’t have everything figured out, but remember that one of the reasons why you wanted to go to graduate school in the first place is because you love to learn new concepts, so give yourself room to enjoy a variety of topics before specializing.


Thank you again to Sam and Ashley for sharing their reflections. If you can think of any other helpful advice for visiting students, please share it in the comments below.

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Film Club Reviews: The Seventh Seal and The World’s End

At first, second, and third glance, these two movies have nothing in common. The first, The Seventh Seal, is a black and white Swedish film from 1957 which uses the black plague as a background for a consideration of death, suffering, and religion. The second, The World’s End, is a fast-paced action movie about drinking, consumer culture, and assimilation. What the films share, though, is an understanding of humanity’s desire to engage in pleasureful activities even as the world seems to be collapsing. They are quest narratives where the end of the quest involves the destruction of the world around them, even if a glimmer of human hope lingers on. Though each film examines very different societies and does so in very different modes, they end up confirming similarly humanist ideals in what makes for the most whiplash-inducing but also thoroughly interesting double feature I’ve yet to discover.



The Seventh Seal is Ingmar Bergman’s entrance into greatness as a director, and no scene proves this more than the terrifying conversation between the returning crusade knight and a woman about to be burned as a witch. Here the knight hopes for a story of her time with the Devil, because if Satan exists so must God, and that means that death and therefore life have meaning. What she gives him is no comfort, though, as her thousand-yard stare goes right through him and the audience, giving her a sense of cold detachment from humanity. “Look into my eyes,” she says, “Well, do you see him?” The knight responds, “I see terror. Nothing else.” That terror is one side of the movie’s coin, and it is indeed horrific. But wait.

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What’s Happening?: March 2017

They say March is the busiest month. Do they? Maybe. Around here it is, apparently. Talks and recruitment day and a conference, oh my! We’ve got something for everyone, so see what part of that something is for you in the following list. Bring a friend! Get your learn on.

Tuesday, March 7 – Job Placement Workshop: CV to Resume

Who: With Lynne D’Angelo-Bello (Associate Director of Grad Student Career Development) and Deep Singh (English department placement person)
When: March 7, 4:10 pm
Where: Drown Hall 209
Faculty and graduate students considering a variety of careers are invited to attend a workshop on converting long-form academic CVs to shorter Resumes. These are often required by “alt-ac” positions and positions with an administrative component. What should and shouldn’t be on a Resume? How can you highlight your skills and experiences to appeal to the requirements of particular positions? We will be working with specific examples from previous students in the program.
Second-year MA students going out on the job market as well as Ph.D. students considering alt-ac positions will likely benefit the most from this workshop. Faculty interested in learning more about how to prepare our students for the alt-ac job market are also more than welcome to attend.
Participants are invited (but not required) to bring their own CVs in for workshopping. We only request that you send us a copy of the CV and the text of the advertisement of the position to which you are thinking of applying in advance so we can have a few copies available for other participants.  (If you want to just come and listen in, that’s fine too.)
If you have any questions or would like to send along materials in advance of the workshop, please send them to Deep at

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On Teaching Resistance

While drafting my English 2 proposal and planning my course last October, I had no idea how painfully relevant the overall theme would be, come spring semester.


My English 2 focuses on the rhetoric of resistance:

“Our section of English 2 will focus on the implications of language and writing in the context of various forms of resistance: self-definition and identity formation, visual rhetoric, and body rhetoric. Students will learn how these forms of resistance operate rhetorically to expose and challenge oppressive power structures with the goal to generate social change. To this end, we will study and research the rhetorical strategies of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, music, and public art. We as a class will learn to reconsider the role of language in many, if not all, aspects of our lives and to navigate the broader community as socially conscious citizen-writers.”

From the beginning, I made it clear that I wasn’t seeking to push a particular agenda, but rather providing a space where we interrogate ideas and different manifestations of resistance. Along with Envision, I’ve required Rhetoric for Radicals: A Handbook for 21st Century ActivistsOne quote from the foundational readings for the second day sums up the ethos of the class: “If we’re going to change the world, then we need to change people’s rhetorical constructions of the world.”

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Drown Recap: Oral History Workshop with Mary Marshall Clark

On February 17th & 18th, scholars from the Lehigh community were treated to an opportunity to participate in a workshop on the theories, methods, and practice of oral history led by acclaimed oral historian Mary Marshall Clark. Clark is the director of the Columbia Center for Oral History Research and Columbia University’s Oral History MA degree program. Her work in the field has been extensive and diverse. Some of the major projects she has conducted have explored the traumatic aftermath of 9/11 among eyewitnesses and immigrants, the experiences of Japanese-Americans interned during WWII, and the history of the Apollo Theatre. Her most recent research examines the global impact of torture and the detention policies at Guantánamo Bay.


Clark began the first day’s meeting by having everyone collect a bit of oral history themselves. Each attendee conducted a fifteen-minute interview with a partner to gain an overview of the life the “narrator”, and several then shared the results of their work. It was really quite astonishing to hear what a broad variety of experiences and backgrounds one might learn about even within a relatively small group. Having gained a taste of what it is like to collect oral history narratives, Clark used the group’s experiences to inform the afternoon’s workshop sessions on theory and practice.

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Literature & Social Justice Keynote

This year, thanks to generous support from the English Department, the Literature and Social Justice Graduate Conference will host its first external keynote speaker: Dr. Kavita Daiya.


Dr. Kavita Daiya is Associate Professor of English and Affiliated Faculty in the Women’s Studies Program and Global Women’s Institute at George Washington University.  In AY 2015-2016, she held the NEH endowed Chair in the Humanities at Albright College, focusing on Global Migration and Asia.  She was Mellon Regional Faculty Fellow at the Penn Humanities Forum at the University of Pennsylvania (2014-2015).  She serves as Associate Editor of the MLA-Allied Association journal “South Asian Review.” She has also been a Research Fellow at the Globalization Project at the University of Chicago.

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Drown Recap: Multimodal Workshop

On January 19th a crowd of instructors gathered for an informative workshop led by assistant professor Dr. Brooke Rollins and featuring presentations by Dr. Amardeep Singh and Dr. Nicole Batchelor. For those unable to attend the event, we here at Drown Unbound have got you covered. While the idea of teaching a multimodal assignment may have seemed daunting at first, a few tips from the workshop presenters put everyone at ease.pexels-photo-121734

The easiest way to think about the multimodal assignment is through the remediation model which asks students to recast an argument from an academic paper into another medium that appeals to a broader audience. The process requires students consider ways of making a public turn.

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Rally Recap: It’s not a Moment, It’s the Movement

Last Tuesday (January 31st) I had the privilege of attending a rally with my friends, colleagues, and students at Lehigh University. The purpose of the rally was to protest President Trump’s recent executive order banning immigration from specific nations and from my perspective, more importantly, to stand in solidarity with all immigrants in our community.16523111_10200814300979773_31524471_o

I had never attended a political rally before; my anxiety disorder makes it difficult for me to be in large crowds of strangers. But I figured there would not be a body-crushing number of people and since many of my colleagues/friends from the English Department were attending I decided to give it a try.

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Film Club Retrospective and Coming Attractions

Another semester begins and that means that reading groups and our own film club are starting up again. I wanted to take some time to reflect on what we did last semester as well as look forward to what we having coming this semester. So let’s go on a trip back and to the future! Get it? It’s a movie reference.

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First, the stats. We watched the following films last semester: Modern Times, Young Frankenstein, High and Low, The Innocents, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Pan’s Labyrinth. Four out of the six films are in black and white, only the last two are in (glorious) color. They’re also the only two movies made in my lifetime. This semester I want to correct that, because there are some amazing color films from the 50s and 60s that use color in really fun and fantastic ways. Jacques Demy, here we come. We’ve got three horror-tinged films, though none of them are truly scary. Just based on our current group population, I’d guess that might continue this semester. Finally, we’ve got three American films and 2 movies with foreign language dialogue. I think that’s probably about right for a club focused on the depth and breadth of cinema history.

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What’s Happening?: January/February 2017

Another semester is upon us and our calendars are filling up with classes and meetings but make sure to leave some room for the great events happening below!

On Friday, January 27 at 12 pm in UC 207, the Women’s Center is hosting a discussion and reflection on the Women’s Marches. Sure to be a valuable and insightful discussion!


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