Achievements

With its more than one hundred fellows to date, the ISI has hosted some of the most active and successful of our colleagues on campus. In many cases their projects, under development in an ISI seminar, have come to fruition in scholarly or creative arenas. While we do not claim credit for all successes or special recognitions, we are proud to list some of the achievements of our ISI community here.

ISI 'Dissent' fellow, Malcolm Sen, interviewed by the Chicago Review of Books

In May of 2017, the Chicago Review of Books published an interview with current ISI ‘Dissent’ fellow  Malcolm Sen (English) about the role of literature in our collective understanding of climate change, and specifically about the importance of climate change fiction (“cli-fi”) and its social and artistic relevance. 

A message from Stephen Clingman

As I contemplate stepping down as Director of the ISI at the end of June, it’s amazing to think that in our two incarnations (ISHA/ISI), we have been under way since 2001. In that time we have hosted close to 170 fellows in our faculty seminars. We have had a run of successful residencies with such figures as Caryl Phillips, Jean and John Comaroff, and (most recently) Daniel Kanstroom. We have held lectures, workshops and community meetings, and cosponsored significant events across campus. We have hosted national and international symposia on Chinua Achebe and James Foley.

For me it has been an honor, a pleasure, and a privilege to be part of it all, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I am grateful to a succession of Provosts and Deans for funding us. I am grateful to an extraordinary run of graduate assistants whose help has been invaluable over the years. I am deeply grateful to the members of the ISHA and ISI boards, who have been a collegial and intellectual family in this project. And I am grateful to everyone in the ISI community for your generosity, energy, friendship, tolerance and enthusiasm in our collective inquiries and engagement. I have learned an enormous amount from our exchanges; it has been a thrill to get to know you.

John Kingston has been with us from the start, and I know that with him at the helm, the ISI will be in the best of hands. I look forward to seeing the institute’s sustained programs and new directions over the next phase of its existence. Here’s to a brilliant and enriching future, ISI!

A message from John Kingston

I look forward both with enthusiasm and more than a little modesty to becoming the second Director of the Interdisciplinary Studies Institute. The source of my enthusiasm is obvious: ISI has organized, funded, and otherwise promoted many of the most interesting and significant events that have taken place on this campus since its inception as ISHA more than fifteen years ago.

The source of my modesty is equally obvious: the principal source of ISI's success has been Stephen Clingman's thorough understanding of the enormous scholarly and creative riches and opportunities offered by this campus, its faculty, and its students. I've been fortunate to be a member of ISHA's and then ISI's board long enough to have learned at least a little of how Stephen has used that understanding to draw effectively on the talents of UMass's faculty and students to accomplish all that ISI has. I look forward to maintaining all the activities that ISI has organized, funded, and promoted during Stephen's directorship, and to working toward substantially expanding the scope of the Institute's activities. Finally, watch this space for information about an event to honor Stephen early in the fall.

ISI Assistant Amanda Waugh Lagji Accepts Tenure Track Position at Pitzer College

Amanda Waugh Lagji, ISI Assistant since Spring semester of 2012, successfully defended her dissertation titled, “Waiting for Now: Postcolonial Fiction and Colonial Time” on March 29, and will join the faculty of Pitzer College as an Assistant Professor of English and World Literature for the 2017-18 academic year. In March, Amanda won the 2017 Graduate Student Caucus Essay Award for the Northeast Modern Language Association.

We would like to thank Amanda for her many considerable contributions to the Institute over the past five years, and wish her all good fortune as she moves out to California to begin her career at Pitzer!

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