Area Special Events

These events include renowned speakers whose appearance is sponsored by the various areas of inquiry and caucuses represented by the organization.

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American Studies / Pedagogy & Professionalization / CAITY Special Event

Theresa McCarthy, "Land Grab Universities in the Era of 'Reconciliation' and Land Back"


Theresa McCarthy.

While the Truth and Reconciliation Commission further exposed the violent legacies of education for Indigenous peoples in Canada, the response to it has been largely confined to mainstream educational reform. Less attention has been paid to reconciling issues of Indigenous land, even though the acquisition of Indigenous land was the rationale for the Indian Residential School system in the first place. While Indigenous children suffered in residential schools, stolen Indigenous lands and resources built the infrastructure of the Canadian settler state, including its institutions of higher education. Taking this ongoing legacy into account, her talk will examine recent US based Indigenous scholarship on “Land Grab Universities” to consider how we might contextualize this discussion in Canada, as well as in relation to the Grand River Haudenosaunee specifically.

Theresa McCarthy is an Onondaga nation, Beaver clan citizen of Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in Ontario. She is the author of In Divided Unity: Haudenosaunee Reclamation at Grand River which won the 2017 Native American and Indigenous Studies Association’s Best First Book Prize. Theresa is currently a UB Inclusive Excellence Faculty Fellow and she is Co-Chair of the Indigenous Inclusion Sub-Committee of the UB Inclusive Excellence Leadership Council. A longtime advocate for the revitalization of Indigenous languages, Theresa has worked on reinstating Haudenosaunee language courses at UB, and on building relationships with nearby Haudenosaunee communities in support of Indigenous language learning.

This event is organized by the American and Diaspora Studies Area, the Pedagogy and Professionalization Area, and the CAITY Caucus.

Global Anglophone / US Diaspora / Women's & Gender Studies / Diversity Caucus Special Event

Rinaldo Walcott, "Freedom's Revenge; or Towards Liberation"


Rinaldo Walcott.

Beginning with a discussion of Raul Peck’s Exterminate All The Brutes (2021), a documentary series that traces Europe's global expansion and its accompanying ideas, Walcott puts into contention Europe’s expansion as a project of unfreedom rather than one of freedom. Walcott argues for an understanding and idea of freedom as one that ends Euro-American global rule. 

Writing with the backdrop of ongoing coloniality, ecological disaster, carceral practices of all kinds, fascism, and the ever increasingly late modern primitive capitalist accumulation, that taking freedom seriously as a mode of reorganizing the world is freedom’s revenge on Euro-American forms of unfreedom. Freedom’s revenge then is the rebound of Europe’s idea of freedom, but only as it undoes Euro-America as the site where the liberated might be inaugurated globally.

Rinaldo Walcott is Professor of Black Diaspora Cultural Studies in the Women and Gender Studies Institute; and a member of the Graduate Program at the Institute of Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto. Rinaldo is the author of Black Like Who: Writing Black Canada (Insomniac Press, 1997 with a second revised edition in 2003). Rinaldo’s teaching and research is in the area of Black diaspora cultural studies and postcolonial studies with an emphasis on questions of sexuality, gender, nation, citizenship and multiculturalism. His most recent books include: The Long Emancipation: Moving Toward Black Freedom (Duke University Press, 2021); and On Property (Biblioasis, 2021 which was shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award).

This event is organized by the Women's and Gender Studies Caucus, the Diversity Caucus, the British and Global Anglophone Studies Area, and the American and Diaspora Studies Area.

Cultural Studies & Media Studies Special Event

Niagara film poster.

Film Screening: Niagara (1953)

Saturday March 25 at 4:45 pm | LOCATION: Governors Amphitheater, Niagara Falls Convention Center

In celebration of NeMLA’s meeting in Niagara Falls, the Cultural Studies and Media Studies Area will be screening Henry Hathaway’s 1953 thriller Niagara, with leading performances by Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters, and the not-yet-iconic Marilyn Monroe, to mark the film’s 70th anniversary.

"Niagara's Diamond Jubilee" Roundtable

Saturday March 25 at 7 pm | LOCATION: Governors Amphitheater, Niagara Falls Convention Center

In addition, a roundtable focused on the film invites contributions exploring different aspects of the feature. Presentations may focus on the production history of the film, its unusual status as a Technicolor noir, its visuals and music, the leading performances of Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters, and Marilyn Monroe, its representation of the Falls as a breathtaking natural phenomenon or a magnetic tourist attraction, or its enduring cultural significance. The film screening will immediately precede the roundtable.

Italian Studies Special Event

Paola Gambarota, "Resilience and Vulnerability: ‘American Naples,’ 1943-1945"


Paola Gambarota.

Credit: Ian Falco

Resilience is too often asked of the most vulnerable. The longstanding perception of Naples as a resilient city and of the Neapolitans as survivors – of natural catastrophes, foreign occupations, neglect – has been revisited in modern times by Giacomo Leopardi, who made the Vesuvius’ broom a symbol of human resilience and, closer to us, by Elena Ferrante, whose unbreakable heroine Lila functions as a synecdoche of the city. This trope was revived in North American media shortly before the liberation/occupation of Naples (October 1943), to assure the home front that Neapolitans would easily adjust to the occupiers. Churchill did not mince words and spoke openly about the advantages of hitting continental Europe in its “soft underbelly.” How have tales of resilience obscured the harm inflicted on the most vulnerable people and sites during the Allied occupation of Naples? In what ways do images of resilience obstruct, structure, or deform perceptions of lived events and of the past?

Paola Gambarota is Associate Professor of Italian at Rutgers University. Her research interests include modern Italian literature; theories of language and nation; prewar European avant-gardes, and film. She is author of Irresistible Signs: The Genius of Language and Italian National Identity (University of Toronto Press, 2011), which won both the MLA Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Publication Award for a Manuscript in Italian Literary Studies and the American Association of Italian Studies Book Prize, as well as Surrealismo in Germania (Campanotto Editore, 1997). She is completing a third book titled, American Naples: Cross-Cultural Memories of an Occupation, for which she received the American Council of Learned Societies/Burkhardt Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome. She recently published an essay on “The Transnational Origin of Italian Post-War Populism” in the British journal The Italianist (2019).

This event is organized by the Italian Studies Area.

French & Francophone Studies Special Event

Yohann Ripert, "Can Independence Be Sustainable? Negritude’s Resilience after 1960"


Yohann Ripert.

Credit: Grace Song Photography

It is a truism to say that 1960 marks a defining moment in the history of decolonization. What remains less defined is how the rich literary imagination of independence before the pivotal date was transformed into viable political strategies to ensure its sustainability. In the Francophone world, Negritude provided a wide array of imaginative resources to think about freedom from colonial oppression and imperial oversight as early as the interwar period and into the late postwar years. Far from disappearing along with the disappearance of the colonial empire, Negritude quickly became a powerful stage to investigate the resilience of independence after decolonization. Ripert returns to the two immediate post-independence decades to question along with Negritude thinkers: how to transform that historical moment into a sustainable project?

A scholar of Francophone intellectual history, Yohann Ripert is the author of Senghor for the Ages, a new translation of fifteen speeches and essays by Léopold Sédar Senghor (forthcoming with Duke University Press). Working at the crossroads of transatlantic studies, postcolonial literature, and Cold War diplomacy, his next project, Sustainable Independence, theorizes how investments in aesthetic production shape the (un)sustainable development of strategies of decolonization. Currently Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies at Stetson University, Ripert is the Director of the Honors Program and Faculty Advisor in the Center for Community Engagement. He has published in Small Axe, African Studies Review, Lingua Romana, and Éthiopiques. He is also a Juilliard-trained concert pianist and a former translator for the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the United Nations.

This event is organized by the French and Francophone Studies Area.

Hispanophone & Lusophone Studies Special Event

Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro, "Creativity and Passion during Afroresilience Times"


Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro.

Credit: AArt Nation

Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro's lecture will include the discussion of issues related to race in Caribbean and Latinx culture, women's rights, LGBTQ fight for equity, artivist actions and resilience during extreme events in Puerto Rico (hurricanes, earthquakes, pandemic). Her different intersectionalities and experiences open the door to opportunities for dialogue by encouraging conversations about gender, diversity and ethnicity, particularly centering the experience of AfroLatina.

Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro (pronombres elle/ella) is Assistant Professor and Writer-in-Residence at EDP University. Yolanda has been recognized nationally and internationally as one of the most engaged AfroCaribbean authors in the fight against antiracism and in educating against racism to build a more just and equitable society. She received the 2012 and 2015 Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña awards, and the National Award of the Instituto de Literatura Puertorriqueña in 2008. She publishes books that denounce, visibilize and promote the discussion of Afroidentity and sexual diversity in Puerto Rican Culture. She is the founder and director of the Cátedra de Mujeres Negras Ancestrales that responds to the United Nations call to commemorate the International Decade of the Afrodescendants since 2015. Among her works are the short story book Las negras (2012), winner of the National Award Book by the Puerto Rico PEN Club in 2013. Her book Animales de apariencia inofensiva, won the book award in 2015 and her book Ojos de luna the same book award in 2007. 

This event is organized by the Hispanophone and Lusophone Studies Area.

Modern Languages Special Event

Dennis Looney, "Working Advocacy into your Language Program: Examples and Possibilities"


Dennis Looney.

How much are you thinking about advocacy when you step into the classroom? You are clearly an advocate for your language and for your students but do you teach them--does your curriculum allow you to teach them--how to advocate for the value of studying a language and its culture? Is the curriculum of your program designed to appeal to students, today and tomorrow? What is your program/department actually doing to demonstrate the connections between language learning and making global citizens? This talk explores the role advocacy plays in making the language professional’s work as dynamic as it can be. From the course, to the program, to the department, and to the profession itself, how can we make advocacy a mainstay of our vocation? How can we build advocacy into our notion of success for our students and for ourselves as teachers?

Dennis Looney is associate professor in the Department of French and Italian Languages and Literatures and adjunct member in the Department of Classics. His general interest is in history of the classical tradition, with a particular focus on the connection between classical writings and the vernacular literature of medieval and Renaissance Italy. He has published articles on Dante, Petrarch, Ariosto, and Tasso, and a book on the reception of the classics in Ferrara from 1450-1600, Compromising the Classics: Romance Epic Narrative in the Italian Renaissance (Wayne State UP, 1996). His book was nominated the finalist for the Modern Language Association's Marraro Award for best book in Italian Studies, 1996-1998.

This event is organized by the German Studies Area, the French and Francophone Studies Area, the Italian Studies Area, and the Hispanophone and Lusophone Studies Area.