English Studies symposium focuses on ‘Boundaries Across Bodies’

Dr. Melanie Hernandez

By Jefferson Beavers
Communication Specialist, Department of English


English faculty Dr. Melanie Hernandez will deliver a keynote address entitled “Race, Ephemera, and the Archive” as part of the third annual Students of English Studies Association Symposium on Dec. 12 and 13 on campus.

Dr. Honora Chapman, the interim dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, will deliver the symposium’s opening remarks on Dec. 12 to set the tone of the two-day event’s theme, “Boundaries Across Bodies.”

Student panel presentations will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12, and from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13, in Peters Business, room 194, inside the University Business Center. Chapman speaks at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12 in Peters Business, room 194. Hernandez speaks at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13 in Alice Peters Auditorium (PB 191).

The symposium is free and open to the community. Parking costs $5 in recommended Lots P5 or P6.

Hernandez is an Assistant Professor of English. She earned a Ph.D. in English and a certificate in public scholarship from the University of Washington, a M.A. in English from CSU Dominguez Hills, and a B.A. in psychology from New York University. She specializes in nineteenth-century U.S. literature, with an emphasis on comparative African American and Chicanx Studies. Her ongoing research focuses on strategic racial performance, authenticity politics and social policing, and violent racial satire.

She earned a Provost’s Award for Promising New Faculty for 2019-20.

Prior to teaching, Hernandez led another life in television and radio production. She helped launch the Oxygen network and ABC’s The View, and she says she feels haunted by the indignities of low-level production work for Saturday Night Live!, E! News Daily, The Howard Stern Show, and Eyewitness News. She prefers teaching.

The symposium will include more than 25 graduate and undergraduate student presentations, on diverse topics such as women in literature, Chicanx representations, gender performativity, rhetoric and literacy, and more. (See full schedule.)

The Students of English Studies Association, or SESA, is a student organization in its third year. Its mission is to offer students in the humanities to explore graduate opportunities in the field of English Studies. Organizers envision the symposium as a space for the community to enter into the world of academic conferences, which provides students with the opportunity to present and talk about scholarly work.

For more information, contact SESA President Riley Thomas.

Undergraduate students Liliana Perez and Noel Castillon contributed to this story.

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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