Hall Center Resident Fellow Christine Bourgeois

Resident Fellows Speaker Series

The Hall Center's Resident Fellows give lunchtime talks about their works-in-progress. These events are public and open to all in the Hall Center's Conference Hall. Lunch is provided, and RSVP is required.

Trace, Vestige, Ruin: Following Footsteps with Ancient Roman Poets

"Emma Scioli"Emma Scioli (Associate Professor, Classics)
MON FEB 19, 12:00 PM
Hall Center Conference Hall
RSVP online by Feb. 12

The ancient Roman poets of the late first century BCE and first century CE — a pivotal period politically and culturally in ancient Rome — were highly innovative yet self-conscious in articulating their relationships to their literary, historical, and material pasts. In this presentation Scioli shares work in progress on the concept of the “trace” in several poems from this period. As a marker of “previousness” that bears relevance for the present, the trace offers both the poets and the characters within their poems a particular kind of token of the past. Her investigation centers on the Latin noun vestigium (“footprint”). According to its context, vestigium can refer to the warm imprint formed by an absent lover’s body, the tumbled down ruins of a destroyed city, and the tracks left by a literary predecessor on the path to fame. By examining these diverse examples, Scioli establishes a “poetics of the trace” used by a variety of authors to foreground confrontations with the past through the mediating presence of the vestigium.


A Strange Freedom: Living Global Citizenship in the Cold War

"Sheyda Jahanbani"Sheyda Jahanbani (Associate Professor, History)
THU MAR 21, 12:00 PM
Hall Center Conference Hall
RSVP online by March 14

On May 19, 1948, Garry Davis, Broadway actor and decorated WWII veteran, walked onto the grounds of the US Embassy in Paris and declared his intention to renounce his US citizenship. For days, embassy staff worked to convince Davis that he was making a mistake. Undeterred, he demanded that they administer the Oath of Renunciation on May 25. He left the embassy that day as, in the words of one French official, “nothing, nothing, nothing.” He was a stateless, paperless non-entity. Within a few weeks, he had also become a trans-Atlantic celebrity. Befriended by Albert Camus, Davis was welcomed into the fold of a world government movement struggling to find its place in the context of the geopolitics of the emerging Cold War. This project uses Davis’s experience at the US Embassy to explore the history of expatriation and, in particular, the changes to US expatriation policy imposed by the Nationality Act of 1940. It offers insight into how the US government came to see Davis’s profile as a “world citizen” and shows how his story coincided with renewed Cold War anxieties about the threat of stateless people to a world of nation-states.


Ibrahim El-Salahi’s Prison Notebook: Resisting Colonial Violence   

Ayah Wakkad (Sias Graduate Fellow, English)
TUE APR 23, 12:00 PM
Hall Center Conference Hall

Ayah Wakkad’s overarching question and thesis revolve around the decolonial education that postcolonial Arabic prison literature provides its readers. Wakkad argues that this literature plays a significant role in uncovering not only the prison of coloniality but also the coloniality of prison through tracing the history of colonial prisons, shedding light on ongoing colonial violence in prisons, teaching resilience and resistance, advocating for social justice and penal reform, and building a culture of consciousness. Through a combination of textual and contextual analysis of Sudanese Modernist artist and writer Ibrahim El-Salahi’s Prison Notebook, Wakkad unpacks forms of colonial violence and decolonial resistance using a decolonial framework that acknowledges “the ongoing impact of colonialism on the colonized” and the importance of “a non-Western solution” for sustainable reform. This talk is a call for more educators to integrate prison literature into their undergraduate classrooms to provide students with what Cornell West calls “deep education.”


Evoking Earthseed: A Future Informed Present

"Deja Beamon"Deja Beamon (Assistant Professor, UMKC Humanities and Social Sciences)
WED APR 10, 12:00 PM
Hall Center Conference Hall
RSVP online by April 3

Evoking Earthseed centers the theoretic, creative, and apocalyptic knowledge produced by the research and writing of Octavia E. Butler. Using archival materials of Butler’s, this project looks toward the Parable series to arrive at different routes to surviving the ends of the world. This is done by taking seriously how a people persevere on the borrowed time of late-stage capitalism. To explore these routes, Beamon has created a course, Black Apocalyptic Futures, that pushes undergraduates to actively build a future through mutual aid design informed by citations in Black Studies. Additionally, she has been researching the role of memory in Black futurity to then question how the Parable series, through its speculative fiction traits, complicates Black memory, embodiment, and mothering. This presentation will include both a short research summary and a summary of her class’s progress so far, with plans to include syllabus design, zines created in community, and previews of mutual aid project designs.

Spring 2024 Speakers


  • Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend Hall Center sponsored events. If you require a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in any of our events, please contact Program Coordinator Eliott Reeder at eliottor@ku.edu.