Sarah Schulman Interview on Truthout Online

In “A New Understanding of Loyalty: An Interview With Author Sarah Schulman,” writer Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore talks to Distinguished Professor at The College of Staten Island, Sarah Schulman. In the piece, recently published on Truthout online, Schulman discusses some of her many published works and some of the history behind them.

View the full interview on the Truthout Web site.



CSI Launches New Special Issue of Women’s Studies Quarterly

Queer Methods is now available.

General co-editors Matt Brim, PhD, Associate Professor of Queer Studies at the College of Staten Island (CSI), and Amin Ghaziani (University of British Columbia) announce the publication of Queer Methods, a special double issue of WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly.

The launch event for the volume was held December 8th at the Bureau of General Services, Queer Division, an independent queer cultural center, bookstore, and event space in New York City.

WSQ, the longest continuously-published women’s studies journal in the U.S., is sponsored by CSI and published by the Feminist Press at the CUNY Graduate Center.

For more information visit the Feminist Press Web site.







Tyehimba Jess Receives Lannan Literary Award

Tyehimba Jess, an Associate Professor in the Department of English, was recently named a Lannan Literary Award recipient for 2016.

Jess is the author of Leadbelly, a winner in the 2004 National Poetry Series. The Library Journal and Black Issues Book Review both named it one of the “Best Poetry Books of 2005.” His other work, Olio, published in 2016, has been called “Encyclopedic, ingenious, and abundant…” in Publisher’s Weekly‘s starred review, and was selected as one of the five best poetry books of 2016.

Jess has been at CSI for seven years and is currently on sabbatical in Chicago for the year, returning in fall 2017.

“Professor Jess is a poet of emotional depth and range. The College community applauds this national recognition. CSI students are fortunate to learn the craft of poetry in his classes and from his books and readings,” noted Nan M. Sussman, PhD, Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The Lannan Literary Awards and Fellowships were established in 1989 to honor both established and emerging writers whose work is of exceptional quality. The awards recognize writers who have made significant contributions to English-language literature.

To view the full list of winners, visit the Lannan Website.





ARC Distinguished CUNY Fellows for 2016-2017

Adding to the impressive pool of recent College of Staten Island (CSI) faculty accolades, Ashley Dawson, PhD and Ava Chin, PhD have received Distinguished Professor Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC) awards from The City University of New York.

Dr. Dawson received the ARC Fellowship for Spring 2017 for a project on urbanization and climate change, and he plans to “look in particular at efforts to make New York City more resilient following Hurricane Sandy.”

Dr. Chin received the ARC Fellowship for Fall 2016 and she plans to work on her latest book project: “a memoir tracing my family’s 19th Century transnational migration from southern China to New York’s Chinatown.”

Both faculty members are in the English Department at CSI and will receive reassigned time to engage in their research and be part of a scholarly community that includes about ten other CUNY faculty plus about ten visiting scholars.

Dr. Ashley Dawson

“I’m really elated to have this time to focus on my research and writing,” noted Dr. Dawson, adding that he will also be beginning a new project focused on struggles to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy, in particular on fights for energy democracy.

Dr. Ava Chin

Dr. Chin said, “It’s a wonderful honor to be a Distinguished CUNY fellow. I have the pleasure of being in a talented cohort of experts in immigration, inequality, and multilingualism, who are from universities around the world, as well as across CUNY. The support for my research has been overwhelming and I am quite grateful. The fellowship came at a critical time in my writing process, especially as I prepare to move to China for my Fulbright. Dr. Chin is also the convener for the faculty and graduate student cluster on immigration.

“Given the competition for these Fellowships, CSI faculty have been remarkably successful,” commented Dr. Nan M. Sussman, Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences.



2015-2016: Dr.  Patricia Brooks and Dr. Christine Tortora.

2014-2015: Dr. Ismael Garcia Colon.



Patricia Smith Participating in Governor’s Island Writing Workshops

On September 10, The Worker Writers School, in collaboration with PEN America, will host a “Fall Open House” on Governor’s Island.

College of Staten Island (CSI) Professor and National Book Award Finalist Patricia Smith will be among the participants offering a series of creative writing mini-workshops.

Professor Smith is a Cave Canem faculty member, a professor of English at CSI, and a faculty member of the Sierra Nevada MFA program.

Read the full announcement on the Best Events web site.



From Staten Island to Iowa: CSI grad awarded Truman Capote Fellowship

CSI graduate Julianne Neely is the recipient of the prestigious Truman Capote Fellowship to study creative writing at the University of Iowa. (Neely family photograph)

STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE – More than 1,000 miles separate Staten Island from Iowa City, home of the celebrated University of Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop,the holy grail of aspiring poets and novelists.

That’s where College of Staten Island graduate Julianne Neely is bound in just a few weeks.

Neely, 23, was awarded a prestigious Truman Capote Fellowship to study literature and write poetry and fiction at UI, leading to a master’s degree in fine arts.

“That’s been a dream of mine since high school,” said Neely, an alumna of St. John Villa Academy, Arrochar. “I have always loved reading, and writing as a way to express myself. I feel it’s something I can do well.”

Neely, a Richmond resident, credits her teachers at Villa — where she was in the scholars’ program and completed Advance Placement courses in literature — for instilling her love of literature and creative writing. She credits her professors at CSI — English Professor Cate Marvin in particular — for nurturing and encouraging her talent.

But her road to Iowa was not to be a straight path.

She enrolled for a year at the University of Delaware before she transferred to CSI, where she majored in cinema studies with a minor in English. After earning her bachelor’s degree from CSI in 2014, Neely landed a job with the Children’s Television Workshop, best known as the creators of “Sesame Street” — where she worked until last month.

Neely, however, kept in touch with her professors at CSI, who encouraged her to apply to graduate programs in creative writing. She applied to several colleges and universities, but was wait-listed, she explained.

“But I hadn’t applied to Iowa, and decided I would give it a shot,” she recalled.

She said that Cate Marvin, her adviser at CSI, told her about the Truman Capote Fellowship, “and encouraged me to apply.”

She had to win over her parents — dad Michael Neely is director of the Staten Island CYO —  who were skeptical at first.

“They were somewhat concerned I might just become another struggling writer, but ultimately they wanted me to do what I enjoy,” Neely explained. “Now they’re very proud and supportive of me.”

Neely said she hopes to one day see her work published as a novel, or collection of short stories or poems.For now, however, she plans “to keep reading and keep writing” while she’s at UI.

Among her favorite literary influences are  T.S. Eliot, Sylvia Plath, Joyce Carol Oates, Franz Kafka, and, of course, Truman Capote.

“When people tell you about working hard, if you’re a writer, the only way to get better is to keep at it. That’s what I want to do.”


This story by Diane C. Lore was published by on July 2, 2016 and is reprinted here with permission.



Two CSI Professors Receive Fulbright Awards

In recognition of their distinguished work in higher education and beyond, Dr. Ava Chin and Dr. Ying Zhu have both received 2016-2017 Fulbright Awards.

Dr. Ava Chin featured in a CUNY advertisement

Dr. Chin, Associate Professor in the Department of English at the College of Staten Island (CSI), will travel to China to lecture on American journalism, focusing on food and popular culture. “I plan to base my advanced magazine writing and food journalism courses on those that I have perfected at CSI,” said Chin, adding that the other purpose of the trip will be to work on her next book project, a memoir about her family roots in China. The experienced mentor also looks forward to working with young writers in China.

Chin won the Provost Research Award, which supported her while she was conducting research as well as applying for fellowships like the Fulbright.

“Under a Fulbright to China, I look forward to bringing my many years of experience in commercial print and digital journalism to a Chinese university, where I could be useful in helping with curriculum development, as well as offering a variety of journalism courses that have been successful to American and East Asian students in New York and Los Angeles. I’m also eager to share my insights on how technology has positively and negatively affected commercial media outlets in the U.S., for better or worse,” Chin commented, adding that she will be traveling to China with her husband and her four-year-old daughter.

Dr. Chin, a Queens native, is the author of the award-winning Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love, and the Perfect Meal and the former Urban Forager columnist for The New York Times (2009-2013). She has written for the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, Saveur, Marie Claire, The Village Voice, and SPIN. A New York Institute for Humanities fellow at New York University, she is an Associate Professor of creative nonfiction and journalism. The Huffington Post named her one of “9 Contemporary Authors You Should Be Reading.”

Chin also represents CUNY mentors in several CUNY advertisements appearing in CUNY Matters and on New York City subways.

Dr. Zhu, who has been awarded a Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship, will be conducting research in China, primarily based in the Shanghai Film Academy, which is affiliated with the Shanghai University, a long-term partner of CSI. Dr. Zhu’s award project is a book called China, Soft Power, and The Great Narrator: A History of China’s Engagement with Hollywood. The work, to be published by The New Press, examines two periods during which Hollywood dominated the Chinese market: one during China’s Republican era and one since 1994 when Hollywood reentered the Chinese market after decades of absence. Dr. Zhu will trace Hollywood’s historical engagement with Chinese audiences, the film industry, and state regulatory agencies while simultaneously sketching out the evolution of Chinese cinema from its infancy under the shadow of imports to its current global economic and cultural ambition.

Dr. Ying Zhu and her daughter Frances

“Treating Sino-Hollywood engagement as a case of political, cultural, and economic rivalry and cooptation, the project examines how economic interest intersects with political posturing and cultural propagation,” Dr. Zhu explained. He considers the Shanghai Film Academy, which is headed by the world-renowned Chinese filmmaker Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine, 1993) a perfect institution for her to work on this historical book project.

Dr. Zhu, a Cinema Studies Professor in the Department of Media Culture at the College of Staten Island-CUNY, has published eight books, including Two Billion Eyes: The Story of China Central Television and Chinese Cinema during the Era of Reform: The Ingenuity of the System. A leading scholar on Chinese cinema and media studies, her writings have appeared in major academic journals, books, and publications such as The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Her works have been translated into Chinese, Dutch, French, Italian, and Spanish.

Zhu is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (2006) and an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship (2008). Her 2003 research monograph, Chinese Cinema during the Era of Reform: The Ingenuity of the System, is considered by critics as a groundbreaking book that initiated the study of Chinese cinema within the framework of political economy. Her 2008 research monograph, Television in Post-Reform China: Serial Drama, Confucian Leadership and the Global Television Market, together with two book volumes in which her work featured prominently—TV China (2009) and TV Drama in China (2008)—pioneered the subfield of Chinese TV drama studies.

Dr. Zhu’s daughter, Frances Hisgen, will also travel to China during the Fulbright tenure. Frances will join Maliya Obama to be part of the Harvard Class of 2021 upon return from China.

 The Fulbright Program aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries, and it is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government.

“We hope that your Fulbright experience will be highly rewarding professionally and personally, and that you will share the knowledge you gain with many others throughout your life,” commented Laura Skandera Trombley, Chair of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

“As a Fulbright grantee, you will join the ranks of distinguished participants in the Program,” noted Trombley, adding that Fulbright alumni have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs, and university presidents, as well as leading journalists, artists, scientists, and teachers. They include 54 Nobel Laureates, 82 Pulitzer Prize winners, 29 MacArthur Fellows, 16 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients, and thousands of leaders across the private, public, and non-profit sectors. Since its beginnings in 1946, more than 360,000 “Fulbrighters” have participated in the program.