Graduate student symposium features keynote on the humanities and hope

~ By Jefferson Beavers, communication specialist, Department of English

English faculty and award-winning translator Dr. Steve Adisasmito-Smith will deliver a keynote address entitled “The Humanities: An Evolving Hope” as part of the second annual Students of English Studies Association symposium on Dec. 13 and 14 on campus.

Dr. Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, will deliver the symposium’s opening address, “Foundational Bodies: México and Octavio Paz,” to set the tone of the two-day event’s theme, Humanities in the World Today.

Student panel presentations will be from 10:45 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 13, and from 10:45 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 14, in Peters Business, room 192, inside the University Business Center. Jiménez-Sandoval speaks at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 14 in Peters Business, room 192, and Adisasmito-Smith speaks at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 14 in Alice Peters Auditorium (PB 191).

The symposium is free and open to the community. Parking costs $4 in recommended Lots P5 or P6.

Adisasmito-Smith received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), focusing on Sanskrit, Latin, and American, British and Indian literatures in English. He has recently translated women poets like Vijjaka and Shilabhattarika, writing in Classical Sanskrit. For the keynote address, Adisasmito-Smith will share his recent research and speak on how the humanities can speak to our sense of hope.

Jiménez-Sandoval received his Ph.D. from UC Irvine and a Certificate in Critical Theory from Cornell University. He is the former chair of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures. His research is influenced by deconstructionist and post-colonial theories, and in his opening to the symposium he will give a talk on identity.

The symposium will include more than 20 student presentations, on diverse topics in literature and writing studies including identity and space, utopias, performativity, narrative, raising voice, and more. (See full schedule.)

The Students of English Studies Association, or SESA, is a re-started student organization in its second year. Its mission is to offer graduate students of the Department of English a sense of community, and to encourage undergraduates to explore graduate opportunities in the field of English.

Organizers envision the symposium as an entry into the world of academic conferences, which provides students with the opportunity of presenting scholarly work. Through this annual SESA event, students with a variety of academic interests can share and collaborate with each other, broadening their awareness of the humanities as a whole.

For more information, contact SESA President Megan Evans at or SESA adviser Dr. Ashley Foster.

Graduate student Nicholas Wogan contributed to this report.

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