Guest lectures

July 7: Ursula Heise, "Climate Change and Urban Narrative"


Ursula K. Heise is Chair of the English Department at UCLA and holds the Marcia H. Howard Chair in Literary Studies. Ursula HeiseShe is co-founder and Interim Director of the Lab for Environmental Narrative Strategies (LENS) at UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. Her research and teaching focus on contemporary literature and the environmental humanities; environmental literature, arts, and cultures in the Americas, Germany, Japan, and Spain; literature and science; science fiction; and narrative theory. Her books include, among others, Sense of Place and Sense of Planet: The Environmental Imagination of the Global (Oxford University Press, 2008) and Imagining Extinction: The Cultural Meanings of Endangered Species (University of Chicago Press, 2016), which won the 2017 book prize of the British Society for Literature and Science. She is co-editor of The Routledge Companion to the Environmental Humanities (Routledge, 2017), editor of the series Natures, Cultures, and the Environment with Palgrave, and co-editor of the series Literature and Contemporary Thought with Routledge.  She is also producer and writer of Urban Ark Los Angeles, a documentary created as a collaboration of LENS with the public television station KCET-Link.


July 8: Writer Valeria Luiselli in conversation with Lawrence Venuti


Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City and grew up in South Korea, South Africa and India.Valeria Luiselli An acclaimed writer of both fiction and nonfiction, she is the author of  Sidewalks, Faces in the Crowd, The Story of My Teeth; Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions and Lost Children Archive. She is the recipient of a 2019 MacArthur Fellowship and the winner of DUBLIN Literary Award, two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, The Carnegie Medal, an American Book Award,  and has been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Kirkus Prize, and the Booker Prize. She has been a National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" honoree and the recipient of a Bearing Witness Fellowship from the Art for Justice Fund. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Granta, and McSweeney's, among other publications, and has been translated into more than twenty languages. She is a Writer in Residence at Bard College and lives in New York City.  


July 14: Natalie Melas, "Figures out of Place: Lyric and Human Difference (or, Race) in the Modern Imperial World System"


Natalie Melas teaches Comparative Literature at Cornell University where she is also resident director of the Institute for Comparative Modernities  Her fields of inquiry include French and English Caribbean literature and philosophy, anticolonial thought and aesthetics, the poetics and politics of comparison, Alexandrianism, Primitivism and philosophies of race and time.  She is the author of All the Difference  in the World: Postcoloniality and the Ends of Comparison and co-editor with David Damrosch and Mbongiseni Buthelezi of The Princeton Sourcebook for Comparative Literature.  Her recent endeavors include a project on “Caribbean Environmentality” with a colleague in Architecture, Tao DuFour. Together with documentary film maker Kannan Arunasalam they have recently made a film, “We Love Weself Up Here.”  She is currently completing a study of Aimé Césaire and C.P. Cavafy on the question of race and lyric time from which the topic of her IWL seminar in summer of 2020 and of this lecture is drawn.


June 30: Opening Libraries to the World: Efforts to Create Open-Access Collections and How to Find Them

During the first few months of the global pandemic, a number of publishers and databases provided limited term open access to their items. Using this history as a point of departure, this presentation and workshop/discussion will feature governmental-, cooperative-, and library-based open-access efforts that allow for more equitable and anticolonial access to information seekers and researchers from around the world. The presentation will focus on collections of items that are out of copyright, usually created due to laws stating the right to information or in efforts to decolonize libraries and their collections. The presentation will also focus items that are still under copyright but have been put in collections that are open access, because they are under threat of removal or destruction in other places, and so are made available for the world to see. The focus of the presentation will be on collections pertaining to world literature, which includes not just poetry and prose in original and translations, but also texts associated with posters, music, spoken word, and many other sources.

Dr. Todd Michelson-Ambelang is Senior Academic Librarian for ScandinavianTodd Michelson Humanities and South Asian Studies, and the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Liaison for Public Services at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also serves as a research liaison for the Center for the Humanities and the Institute for Research in the Humanities at UW-Madison. He has an BA in German from Arizona State University, an MA in Scandinavian Linguistics, an MA in Library and Information Studies, as well as a PhD in Scandinavian Philology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focuses on disability and perceptions of outsiders in Medieval Scandinavia. He also works and conducts research on equitable access to materials in US libraries for patrons with disabilities, as well as patrons from around the world.