Announcement: Lecture by Rob Nixon on The Anthropocene, Slow Violence and Environmental Justice

The Texas Institute for Literary and Textual Studies (TILTS) is in the midst of a year-long series of lectures, public talks, seminars, and workshops about the environmental humanities.

As part of the series, Dr. Rob Nixon (Princeton University) will be delivering a lecture on the anthropocene, slow violence, and environmental justice on Thursday, January 28, at 6:00pm in CLA 1.302B.

Rob Nixon holds the Thomas A. and Currie C. Barron Family Professorship in Humanities and Environment at Princeton University. He is the author of four books, most recently Dreambirds: the Natural History of a Fantasy and the award-winning Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. Nixon writes frequently for the New York Times. His writing has also appeared in The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, The Guardian, The Nation, London Review of Books, The Village Voice, Slate, Truthout, Huffington Post, Times Literary Supplement, Chronicle of Higher Education, Critical Inquiry, Public Culture and elsewhere.

For more information about the TILTS series of events, click here.


Alumni Voices: Ph.D. alumna Dr. Carly Kocurek named Nayar Prize finalist


Hearty congratulations to Dr. Carly Kocurek, who was named a finalist for the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Nayar Prize, an award “established to encourage and challenge Illinois Tech faculty, staff, and students to develop breakthrough, innovative projects that will, within three years, produce meaningful results with a societal impact.”

Dr. Kocurek, along with fellow IIT faculty members Jennifer Miller, Cynthia Hood, and Matt Bauer, proposed to create a videogame designed to foster language development among young children. They were awarded $100,000 to develop their project, a description of which we’ve pasted below:

Inequalities in early childhood language have a lasting impact on individual success, both in academics and careers. These inequalities inflate social welfare costs and slow economic growth. Our goal is to increase language skills necessary for academic success and subsequent economic success. Our innovation would leverage serious game design to produce a research-driven, high-impact interactive game for children aged 24–36 months. Children who use the interactive game will learn more words and be better prepared to succeed in school.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently revised guidelines on screen use and suggests that media can be used constructively in children after the age of 2. Our game will combine community-based participatory research and cutting-edge understanding of language acquisition and learning. This project draws on perspectives from developmental psychology, linguistics, game design, and computer science, and our team is uniquely poised to combine insights and breakthroughs from a diversity of disciplines. Team members bring with them experience in language learning, serious game development, assessment, and other key areas.

The game will engage both caregivers and children through a playful learning experience that encourages high-quality interaction and engagement. The initial goal is to develop an individual game, but in the long run this will spark widespread development and rigorous testing toward optimizing educational experiences for young children.

Announcement: MALS department and SSW hosts Luis Zayas and Kane Smego


You’re in for a treat this afternoon, everyone: the MALS department and School of Social Work will be hosting School of Social Work Dean Luis Zayas and hip hop/spoken word artist Kane Smego for a conversation about immigration, social justice, marginalized communities, and art from 4:00 – 6:00pm today (Thursday, September 24) in the Santa Rita Suite in the Union (UNB 3.502).

But wait, there’s more: our own Dr. Nicole Guidotti-Hernández will discuss Zayas’s new book, Forgotten Citizens, the most complete picture yet of how immigration policy subverts children’s rights, harms their mental health, and leaves lasting psychological traumas.

For more information, see COLA’s event listing and the poster above.