News and Events

Author David Laskin at Brazos Bookstore

“The Family: A Journey into the Heart of the Twentieth Century"

DATE: Sep 4 2014 7:00 pm

Location: Brazos Bookstore
2421 Bissonnet St
Houston, TX 77005

"In tracing the roots of this family—his own family—Laskin captures the epic sweep of the twentieth century. A modern-day scribe, Laskin honors the traditions, the lives, and the choices of his ancestors: revolutionaries and entrepreneurs, scholars and farmers, tycoons and truck drivers. THE FAMILY is a deeply personal, dramatic, and emotional account of people caught in a cataclysmic time in world history.

A century and a half ago, a Torah scribe and his wife raised six children in a yeshivatown at the western fringe of the Russian empire. Bound by their customs and ancient faith, the pious couple expected their sons and daughter to carry family traditions into future generations. But the social and political crises of our time decreed otherwise.

The torrent of history took the scribe’s family down three very different roads. One branch immigrated to America and founded the fabulously successful Maidenform Bra Company; another went to Palestine as pioneers and participated in the contentious birth of the state of Israel; the third branch remained in Europe and suffered the onslaught of the Nazi occupation.

With cinematic power and beauty, bestselling author David Laskin brings to life the upheavals of the twentieth century through the story of one family, three continents, two world wars, and the rise and fall of nations."


Remembering World War I

Postcards from the Trenches

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Library of Congress Prints and PhotographsDivision
Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

An exhibit commemorating the 100th anniversary of the First World War through the art created by ordinary soldiers in the trenches.

Exhibit runs from October 23, 2014 – February 14, 2015 at the

The Printing Museum
1324 W. Clay St.
Houston, TX 77019
713-522-4652

Co-sponsored by The German and Italian Programs of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages


Defending Their Own in the Cold

Defending Their Own in the Cold

Marc Zimmerman, Professor Emeritus in the World Cultures and Literatures program of MCL and Director of Global CASA/LACASA Books

Defending Their Own in the Cold. The Culturan Turns of U.S. Puerto Ricans (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2011) by Marc Zimmerman was very positively reviewed in CENTRO Journal (Vol. 26:1, 2014) by Richard Perez. The review essay concludes:

"In Zimmerman’s learned text the “everyday and remarkable” inter-animate each other in order to reveal the unremitting cultural production of Puerto Ricans over the last century. Defending Their Own in the Cold, in short, awards the reader with novel hermeneutic understandings of the aesthetic forms and vocabularies created by Puerto Rican artists. The result is the story of a people who have resorted to their imaginations as an enabling mechanism through which to gain political empowerment and social recognition. Zimmerman, in beautifully rendered prose, captures the largesse of this tradition with the empathy of an insider and the expertise of an accomplished theoretician. His text is more than a defense, as the title may imply, but literary, artistic, and social analysis at its very best.” (202)


Poets of the Italian Diaspora

Poets of the Italian Diaspora

Alessandro Carrera, Director of Italian Studies and Graduate Director of WCL, is one of the 80 Italian poets included in the recently published anthology, "Poets of the Italian Diaspora" (Fordham University Press, 2014). For the anthology, the editors have selected 80 Italian poets living and writing outside of Italy, in eleven different countries. Alessandro Carrera is one of the poets representing the United States. A selection of his poems appears with a critical introduction and facing English translation.


Congratulations Dr. Julie Tolliver

Dr. Julie Tolliver, who joins us this year as assistant professor of French and Francophone Studies, has guest-edited, together with Monica Popescu and Cedric Tolliver, a special issue of the Journal of Postcolonial Writing (Volume 50, Number 4, August 2014). The special issue, titled Alternative Solidarities: Black Diasporas and Cultural Alliances During the Cold War, explores the intersection between diaspora studies, postcolonial literary criticism, and Cold War theory.


Congratulations Dr. Bernice Heilbrunn

Bernice Heilbrunn

Jewish Studies lecturer Dr. Bernice Heilbrunn was one of only two foreign scholars invited to lecture at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany in May 2014. Marking the one hundredth anniversary of Goethe University, the symposium focused on Jews' critical role as the university's founders, funders, and distinguished scholars. Heilbrunn's address focused on Jacob H. Schiff, the American Jewish philanthropist and community leader who funded the Chair in Semitic Philology which became the core of Goethe University's Near Eastern and Jewish Studies programs. The well-publicized symposium attracted people in the greater Frankfurt community as well as the community of scholars at the university and received media attention.


New Faculty for Fall 2014

Julie-Françoise Tolliver, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies

Tolliver

Julie-Françoise Tolliver earned her PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Pennsylvania. She has worked as a visiting professor in French and Comparative Literature at Hamilton College and as an instructional assistant professor of French right here at the University of Houston. She spent last year as visiting scholar at McGill University (Montreal), and she re-joins the faculty in MCL as assistant professor of francophone studies. Her current research project reads independence-era francophone literature as constructing a transnational French-language literary solidarity. Related to this work is her co-editing of a special issue of the Journal of Postcolonial Writing (forthcoming fall 2014) entitled Alternative Solidarities: Black Cultural Alliances during the Cold War. Her teaching interests include twentieth- and twenty-first-century francophone literature, culture, and film.

Nelly Noury-Ossia, Ph.D., Instructional Assistant Professor of French

Noury-Ossia

A French native from Paris, Nelly Noury-Ossia earned her Ph.D. in French Studies at Rice University. Prior to her journey to Houston, she also completed a B.S (‘’Maîtrise’’) in British civilization at Paris-Sorbonne University. Her research focus is on twenty-first century Francophone postcolonial studies with a special interest in the Maghreb. She is particularly interested in examining the various ways in which Francophone-Arab women writers and visual artists have expressed their opposition to the manufacturing of an orientalized ‘’Other.’’

Dr. Noury will be editing a special issue on the Algerian woman writer: Assia Djebar, for the CELAAN (Center for the Studies of the Literatures and Arts of North Africa) review in January 2015. At the University of Houston, she is joining the French and Francophone Studies programs in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages.

Duy Lap Nguyen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of World Cultures and Literatures

Duy Lap Nguyen

After completing a one-year Carol G. Lederer Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Pembroke Center at Brown University, Duy Lap Nguyen is starting his appointment as Assistant Professor of World Cultures and Literatures in Fall 2014. Dr. Nguyen earned his Ph.D. in comparative literature at the University of California, Irvine. His current book project explores works by the Vietnamese philosopher, Tran Duc Thao, and develops a reading of Thao's materialist critique of Edmund Husserl's phenomenology. His second project, entitled, The Postcolonial Present: Redemption and Revolution in Twentieth Century Vietnamese Culture and History, examines Vietnamese cinema, literature and mass culture from period of the Vietnam War. Nguyen's publications include, "The Universal Province: A Critique of Provincializing Europe" (Interventions, 2013), "The Commodity Fetish and the Angel of History: Walter Benjamin's Philosophy of History and the Marxian Critique of Political Economy" (Telos, forthcoming), and "Le Capital Amoureux : Imaginary Wealth and Revolution in Jean Genet's Prisoner of Love" (Historical Materialism, 2010).