Events and Opportunities
The English program is committed to fostering a lively and intellectually stimulating campus community. Studying English at Texas A&M University-San Antonio means not only challenging and invigorating courses, but also having plenty of opportunities for on-campus cultural events and extracurricular activities. Below are some of the annual and regular events sponsored by the English Program and our official student organization, the Literature Club. Be sure to also review our calendar for upcoming events found at the bottom of this page—hope to see you at an event soon!
Banned Books Week
The last full week of September marks Banned Books Week, a nation-wide event sponsored by the American Library Association, among several other organizations, and endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Banned Books Week celebrates free expression and the protections against censorship provided by the First Amendment. During this week, the English program—in cooperation with the university library and the Literature Club—recognizes Banned Books Week with a public reading on campus. Students are encouraged to read passages from their favorite banned, contested, or controversial books, and listen to others do the same.
April is Poetry Month! This month-long celebration of poetry was started in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets and has since been a way to spotlight the importance of poetry. The English program at Texas A&M University-San Antonio finds several ways to recognize Poetry Month, including creative writing workshops and public readings of poetry on campus. Be sure to join us at a reading to recite your favorite poem or even a poem of your own!
Students and faculty recite poetry on campus as part of Poetry Month 2014.
Students and faculty in the English program love both the plays of Shakespeare and birthday parties, so the Bard’s birthday on April 23 is a very special day for us. We like to share the fun by having a public celebration on campus, complete with performances from Shakespeare’s classic plays, recitations of his most famous monologues and sonnets, and of course cake!
Vagina Monologues Performance
Eve Ensler wrote her episodic play The Vagina Monologues in 1996 to encourage public dialogue and understanding of women’s rights, bodies, and sexuality, as well as to help end violence against women. Since 2010, the English program, the Literature Club, and the Women’s Studies program at Texas A&M University-San Antonio have joined Ensler’s project by performing The Vagina Monologues in the spring semester. All parts are performed by female-identifying students and faculty, and the production is directed by English faculty member Dr. Ann Bliss. Performances raise money for a local women’s shelter. This show can’t be missed!
Dr. Ann Bliss and the cast of 2015’s production of Vagina Monologues.
The English program and Literature Club have co-sponsored several themed film series. These on-campus screenings are followed by lively and fun discussions. Featured films are diverse, ranging from the documentary Rebel (2013), about the Cuban woman Loreta Janeta Velázquez who claimed to have fought on the side of the Confederacy in the American Civil War, to the Blaxploitation classic Blacula (1972) and Orson Welles’s adaptation of Othello (1952), among many others. The themes of the film series frequently coincide with the film-centered courses regularly offered by the English program.
Packed house for one of the English Program and Literature Club’s film screenings.
Students and faculty discuss the documentary Precious Knowledge (2011), after a screening.
We in the English program love to write! Not only do we write about literature in the classroom, but we also write literature ourselves. Our courses occasionally incorporate creative assignments—from short stories and creative nonfiction to visual arts projects—and the English program and the Literature Club sponsor frequent creative writing workshops. These workshops are led by experienced writers such as acclaimed San Antonio poet Rod Stryker, who led our very successful spring 2015 workshop.
San Antonio poet Rod Stryker leads a creative writing workshop in spring 2015.
The student research symposium is a two-day event recognizing the outstanding scholarly accomplishments of Texas A&M University-San Antonio Students. This annual event is an opportunity to showcase student research, scholarship, and creative activity. Over the years the English program has been well-represented at the symposium, with several undergraduate and graduate students presenting their work.
Students are also encouraged to share their research at the Texas A&M University-San Antonio English Graduate and Undergraduate Conference-click here for more information!
English M.A. student Nicole Frisbey presents her paper, “The Geopolitics of Caribbean Tourism in James Bond Novels & Films” at the 2015 Student Research Symposium
English M.A. students Aaron Patiño, Teresa Ruiz, and Lila Espinoza present their research as part of a roundtable on “trash cinema” at the 2015 Student Research Symposium.