English Language and Literature
Since joining the University of Chicago faculty in 2010, Hillary Chute quickly established herself as the campus’ resident comics expert. In addition to co-teaching a course on comics and autobiography with famed cartoonist Alison Bechdel, Chute organized a conference through the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, which brought together the world’s leading cartoonists for three days of public conversation.
Patrick Jagoda, Assistant Professor in English Language and Literature, was profiled in the Winter 2013 issue of Grey City. Jagoda, who has been teaching at UChicago since 2010, is affiliated with one of the eighteen inaugural faculty research projects sponsored by the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society. In the interview, Jagoda explains how the project "uses digital storytelling and game design to work through various health issues with youth, especially high-school aged youth...co-creating digital stories that have to do with everything from sexually transmitted infections to sexual violence to gender issues."
Jagoda also describes the importance of viewing video games as types of texts, stating that video games held as much importance as novels did during the late 20th and early 21st century. He also points out how receptive UChicago faculty members have been to his research, saying, "People want to share in the work and experience games that they might not otherwise be playing, or think about how categories central to a discipline such as English, like narrative or aesthetics, might help us think about this new form."
Read the entire interview here.
Paul Durica, PhD candidate in English Language and Literature, was featured in The Chicago Tribune, discussing his company Pocket Guide to Hell and how his engagement with Chicago history has informed his scholarly work (and vice versa). On his motivation for founding Pocket Guide to Hell, which regularly sponsors events such as reenactments of the 1886 Haymarket Riot, Durica explains, "As I was doing research for my dissertation (about tramps, hobos and transients in American literature), I kept coming upon all of this good material that didn't fit into my academic work. I wanted to share what I was learning with the broader public.” On Sunday, March 17, Pocket Guide to Hell will recreate "Bathhouse" John Coughlin and Michael "Hinky Dink" Kenna’s 1908 First Ward Ball at the Hideout (1354 W. Wabansia Ave.) at 8 p.m. According to the article, "Coughlin and Kenna conceived the First Ward Ball as a way of further stuffing their pockets, already bulging with graft, through imposed ticket and liquor sales...by 1908 it attracted 20,000 drunken, yelling, brawling revelers to the Coliseum on South Wabash Avenue. The guests slopped up 10,000 quarts of champagne and 30,000 quarts of beer. It was very messy." Durica will portray Kenna. Learn more about Pocket Guide to Hell here.
On November 7 at the Field Museum, a multidisciplinary panel composed of University of Chicago faculty together with Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory researchers and engineers convened to discuss the topic of time. “Playing with Time” was the sixth in a Joint Speaker Event series organized by the Office of the Vice President for Research and for National Laboratories. Questions discussed by the panel included, “Did humans invent time to help explain everything around us? Was there time before the origin of the universe?” and “How does a virus experience time?”
Patrick Jagoda, Assistant Professor of English, noted the ways humanities fields like literature and new media grapple with the notion of time, such as in the novel Einstein’s Dreams. “Clock time makes ordered schedules possible, but bodily time is shaped by moods, desires and whims,” he said. “Another scheme imagines time as a current of water occasionally displaced by passing breezes.” Video games, he noted, have developed ways to allow users to manipulate time.
The question of time travel fascinated the panel. Joseph Lykken, a particle theorist at Fermilab, explained that travel to the future has been observed with particle accelerators. “Muons (subatomic particles), for example, usually survive for a microsecond, but when we speed them up they can survive a thousand times as long. They have traveled to the future.” For the humanities, time travel may involve fewer subatomic particles and more creativity. Jagoda noted that reading an old book or playing a video game can be an imaginative way to put oneself in another time.