The Department of English

Ya Booked it!

ruben espinosa

What is "Ya Booked it!"?

Ya Booked It! is designed to help all of us in the English Department re-connect and rebuild some of the community feeling that we lost during the earlier parts of the pandemic. We’ll be holding a number of events during the semester, and the Ya Booked It! program will let you track how many you’ve come to and make you eligible for some fun perks (graduating seniors who attend at least three events, for instance, will receive something special to wear at graduation). If you decide to participate, along with getting to know your fellow English majors, you’ll receive a cool little stamp notebook to document the things you’ve done.

Spring 2023 Events

Panel on Anitsemitism

Jed Wyrick, Heather Altfeld, Asa Mittman, Joshua Moss, Jeffrey Veidlinger

Thursday, February 9th | 5:00-6:45 pm | ARTS 111

antisemitism panel

Join us for a community panel and discussion about antisemitism. Antisemitic statements are on the rise among celebrities, online, and even in our classrooms. Such speech correlates with a rise in violent incidents here in Chico and throughout the country. This panel will look at the long history of antisemitism, explore some of the ways it shows up in contemporary American society, and examine strategies for creating a safe and welcoming environment for Jews and people of all backgrounds. 

Hopper Visiting Artist

Helen Lee - Ghost Words

Thursday, February 9th | 5:30 p.m. | Ayres 106

helen lee

Helen Lee is an artist, designer, and educator. She holds an MFA in Glass from RISD and a BSAD in Architecture from MIT. Her work examines the morphological nature of language through a material-specific practice. Lee’s work is in the collections of Minnesota Museum of American Art, Corning Museum of Glass, Chrysler Museum Glass Studio, and Toyama City Institute of Glass Art. Recent exhibitions include: Through a Glass Darkly at Delaware Contemporary; Translucency: the Tallinn Applied Art Triennial at the Kai Art Center in Estonia, and Momentum | Intersection at Toledo Museum of Art. Lee has taught at Rhode Island School of Design, California College of Art, Pilchuck Glass School, Haystack Mountain School of Craft, Ox-Bow School of Art, China Academy of Art, Toyama City Institute of Glass Art, and the MIT Glass Lab. She is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and serves as the Director of GEEX, the Glass Education Exchange.

The Cowden Memorial Lecture: Dr. Jefferson Cowie— “Freedom’s Dominion: A Saga of White Resistance to Federal Power”

Thursday, February 16th | 7:30 p.m. | ARTS 150 Recital Hall

jefferson cowie

This year’s Joanna Dunlap Cowden Memorial Lecture is by Jefferson Cowie, the James G. Stahlman Professor of History at Vanderbilt University.  Professor Cowie is a leading social and political historian who focuses on how class, inequality, and labor shape American politics and culture.    

Professor Cowie’s talk draws from his most recent book, Freedom’s Dominion:  A Saga of White Resistance to Federal Power, which focuses on Barbour County, Alabama, home of segregationist governor and presidential candidate George Wallace.  The book is local history, as Jeff Shesol puts it in his New York Times review, “in the way that Gettysburg was a local battle or the Montgomery bus boycott was a local protest.”  Shesol continues:  “The book recounts four peak periods in the conflict between white Alabamians and the federal government: the wild rush, in the early 19th century, to seize and settle lands that belonged to the Creek Nation; Reconstruction; the reassertion of white supremacy under Jim Crow; and the attempts of Wallace and others to nullify the civil rights reforms of the 1950s and 1960s. Throughout, as Cowie reveals, white Southerners portrayed the oppression of Black people and Native Americans not as a repudiation of freedom, but its precondition, its very foundation.” 

University Film Series: Black Orpheus (Orfeu Negro)

Monday, February 20th | 6:00 p.m. |107 minutes

Ayres 106 | Introduction by Dr. Hannah Burdette (Languages and Cultures)

black orpheus

Just in time for 2023 Carnaval! Black Orpheus, a French, Brazilian, and Italian co-production, retells the Greek myth of Eurydice and Orpheus and their doomed love, but transplants the story in the favelas of 1950s Rio de Janeiro. A winner of nearly all the major awards during its award season. The film is also renowned for introducing Brazilian samba and bossa nova to the rest of the world through its amazing soundtrack and score.

This film would be of particular interest to those working in Latin American cinema and culture; arthouse cinema; Portuguese; bossa nova, samba, and Brazilian music; sociology; mythology; intersectionality; class studies and socioeconomics; gender studies; urban development; and critical race studies.

Writer's Voice

Yesika Salgado, Poetry

Thursday, February 23rd | 7:00 p.m. | Chico Women's Club (592 E. 3rd St.)

yesika salgado

Yesika Salgado is a Los Angeles-based Salvadoran poet who writes about her family, culture, city, and fat body.

She is a two-time National Poetry Slam finalist, Long Beach Slam Champion, and recipient of the 2020 International Latino Book Award in Poetry. Her work has been taught in the curricula of the most prestigious universities in the nation and continues to gain traction as a staple of modern poetry taught in schools.

Yesika’s work has been celebrated and featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Teen Vogue, Univision, HBO, CNN, NPR, TEDx, Spotify, Sundance Film Festival, and many more. She has successfully partnered and created with Planned Parenthood, Voto Latino, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, CARECEN, LA County Public Library, Los Angeles Public Library, and countless community centers and organizations in California. 

This event is co-sponsored by Butte College English & Writer's Voice.

Hummanities Center: Dr. Jessica A. Schwartz— “Radiation Songs, Global Harmony, & Formations of Abolition”

Thursday, February 23rd | 5:30 p.m. | PAC 134 Rowland Taylor

jessica schwartz

On March 1, 1954, the US military detonated “Castle Bravo,” its most powerful nuclear bomb, at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Two days later, the US military evacuated the Marshallese to a nearby atoll where they became part of a classified study, without their consent, on the effects of radiation on humans. This talk draws from Jessica A. Schwartz’s recently published book, Radiation Sounds: Marshallese Music and Nuclear Silences (Duke UP 2021) to delve into the musical consequences of US nuclear weapons testing and radiological testing in the Marshall Islands. It outlines seventy-five years of Marshallese music developed in response to US nuclear militarism on their homeland. Unpacking “radiation songs” that amplify the impacts of “insensible” radiation on humans and nonhumans, Schwartz shows how Marshallese singing draws on religious, cultural, and political practices to make heard the deleterious effects of US nuclear violence that have often been silenced across levelsfrom the governmental to the corporeal. Placing the aural and sensorial in understanding nuclear testing’s long-term effects, Schwartz offers new modes of understanding the relationships between the voice, sound, and militarism through decolonizing challenges to the imposition of harmony and possibilities for (global) abolition.

EGSC Symposium

Friday, February 24th | 5:00 p.m. | ARTS 150 Recital Hall


The EGSC Symposium is a scholastic forum where English graduate and undergraduate students from any CSU can present their creative manuscripts or their research and writing in the fields of literature and composition. The EGSC Symposium is a dynamic, creative event that facilitates scholarly discourse and is helpful for students who seek to further their education after Chico by adding to their professional resume.


Wednesday - Saturday, March 1st-4th  | 7:30 p.m.

Saturday - Sunday, March 4th-5th  | 2:00 p.m.

PAC 135 Wismer Theatre


“Puffs” follows a group of new students during their seven increasingly eventful years at a certain School of Magic and Magic. Those with and without a love for all things Harry will enjoy this unapologetic and inventive play that tells a familiar story in a fresh and new way. Follow three unlikely Puffs just trying to make it at a magic school that proves to be very dangerous for children.  “Puffs” is not authorized, sanctioned, licensed, or endorsed by J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any person or company associated with the Harry Potter books, films or play. 

Book in Common Panel: Teaching Graphic Novels

Wednesday, March 1st | 5:00 p.m.

PAC 134 Rowland Taylor

book in common

Nathan Heggins Bryant

Jason Nice

Laura Nice

John Traver 

University Film Series: Boat People

Monday, March 6th | 6:00 p.m.

Ayres 106 | Introduction by Dr. William Nitzky. (Anthropology)

boat people

Still one of the few films about the Vietnam War and its aftermath not made by US, French, or Vietnamese filmmakers, Ann Hui’s Boat People serves as a searing indictment of social conditions following the end of the war. It was the first Hong Kong film to be made in Communist China, and its success—nominated for 12 Hong Kong Film Awards and winning five, including Best Picture and Best Director—helped usher in the Hong Kong New Wave film movement. It is still a decidedly controversial film, too, in its treatment of the Vietnam War and its political message, generating criticism from across the political spectrum.

This film would be of particular interest to those working in arthouse and independent cinema; Asian cinema and history; refugee narratives; Vietnam War studies; sociology; anthropology; political science; and international relations. 

Book in Common: Thi Bui

Monday, April 5th | 7:30 p.m. | Laxson Auditorium

thi bui

Artist and author Thi Bui will speak about her debut graphic novel memoir, The Best We Could Do. It is an intimate look at one family's journey from their war-torn home in Vietnam to their new lives in America. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves. With haunting, poetic writing and breathtaking art, she examines the strength of family, the importance of identity, and the meaning of home.

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