Events-Department of English - Carnegie Mellon University

Upcoming Events

Cèilidh 2015: English Department Social Mixer

Date and Time: Thursday, October 8, 4:30pm-6:30pm

Location: Baker Hall Terrace, weather permitting. The event will move to the Baker Hall Coffee Lounge if there is inclement weather.

If you are an English major or are interested in meeting some of our many successful alumni, then please join us for an evening of interesting stories and great company! Register here.

Rhetoric Colloquium Series with Karen Tracy: "Discourse, Identity, and Social Change in the Marriage Equality Debates"

Karen Tracy is a Professor and Department Chair in the Department of Communication at the University of Colorado, Boulder Date and Time: Thursday, November 5, 4:30pm – 6:30pm

Location: Baker Hall 255B, the Swank Room

This event is free!

Next up in our Rhetoric Colloquium Series is a talk by Karen Tracy, who is Professor and Department Chair in the Department of Communication at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

In this talk titled, "Discourse, Identity, and Social Change in the Marriage Equality Debates," Karen examines the identity-work of judges and attorneys in state supreme courts, and citizens and legislators in judicial committee hearings of state legislatures as they debated the legality of existing marriage laws. She makes visible how the court and legislative talk constructed (1) the identities of speakers, (2) the identities of the spoken-to parties, and (3) the identities of the spoken-about parties. Spanning ten years, beginning with the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of sodomy laws in 2003 and ending in 2013 when the U.S. Supreme Court declared the federal government’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, Karen explores how social change was accomplished through and reflected in these law-making and law-interpreting discourses. She describes the different discourse devices that did identity-work in these law-linked contexts and then focus in on the story-telling citizen testifiers did.  

Karen shows that across the decade, public discourse that treated same-sex partnership as “homosexuals’ lifestyle choices”  came to be discredited and replaced by a discourse of “gays and lesbians as a discriminated-against category of citizen.” This discourse change reflected the change going on in the larger society and was a significant contributor to its occurrence.

Karen Tracy is Professor and Chair of Communication at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She was elected a Distinguished Scholar at the National Communication Association in 2010 and a Fellow in the International Communication Association in 2013. Tracy is a discourse analyst who studies and teaches about institutional talk, particularly in justice, academic, and governance sites. She is the author of Colloquium: Dilemmas of Academic Discourse (1997), Challenges of Ordinary Democracy (2010, Penn State University Press), a 35-month case study of the meetings of a school board and its community, Everyday Talk, Building and Reflecting Identities (2002, 2013), and 100+ journal articles, book chapters, and conference proceedings. Her current research focuses on analyzing the dispute about marriage rights during oral argument in state supreme courts and public hearings of legislative bodies. Tracy has been professionally involved in a variety of leadership roles in communication associations as well as the language/discourse and argument communities.

Learn more about Karen here.
The Rhetoric Colloquium Series brings one to two nationally or internationally scholars  to speak about their work with students and faculty in the department each semester. Speakers are often keyed to classes that are offered that semester.

Posner Center Exhibit by LCS Ph.D. Student Matthew Lambert

Date and Time: 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM, M-F, Posner Center

Location: Posner Center

This past semester's Posner Center intern was Literary and Cultural Studies Ph.D. student, Matthew Lambert. Lambert has spent the semester researching inside Carnegie Mellon's Posner Memorial Collection. Lambert and the Posner Center bring you their exhibit, "Washington Irving: Sketches of an Emerging Author and Nation."

"I think visitors will be able to rediscover Irving’s importance as an early American writer and historical figure, and see certain similarities between the values and uncertainties of his day and ours," says Lambert.

The exhibit will run through the summer and most likely through the fall. Posner Center exhibits are open Monday through Friday from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m., except holidays and during designated VIP events.