Sunday, June 17, 2012

UTSA Scholars Organize Discussion of "Sweat"

Elizabeth Cali, Allegra Castro, and Erin Ranft
On June 12,  Elizabeth Cali, Allegra Castro, Christina Gutierrez, and Erin Ranft, four emerging scholars all based at the University of Texas at San Antonio, organized a presentation that focused on Zora Neale Hurston's short story "Sweat."  The presentation provided our Fellows with an opportunity to follow along as a group of advanced graduate students applied critical lenses to a common literary work. 

Cali, Castro, and Ranft discussed different approaches to understanding Hurston's work and offered multiple entries into discussing short stories. Cali concentrated on the publishing history of "Sweat" and brought a facsimile of Fire!! -- the magazine where the story originally appeared. Ranft led a discussion about genre, and prompted the Fellows to consider the implications of thinking about Hurston's story as African American literature, Women's literature, American literature, and within the context of other categories.  Castro, who is pursuing research on satire, encouraged the group to seek out instances of "humor with attitude" in "Sweat."

Along with providing us with alternative ways of viewing the story, the presentation offered a model for scholarly interactions and a collaborative knowledge-building activity between undergraduates and graduate students. The presentation may have offered our Fellows with a glimpse of their future selves.

Related: AALCI 2012

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