SJSU Center for Literary Arts Presents MacArthur Genius Awardee Viet Thanh Nguyen

Viet Thanh Nguyen

Viet Thanh Nguyen

In its most ambitious annual program yet, the Center for Literary Arts at San José State University brings to Silicon Valley three 2016 Pulitzer Prize-winning writers. For $100, patrons of the arts, be they paupers or kings, can hear, meet and converse with all three of the 2016 recipients of the nation’s most prestigious literary awards in fiction, autobiography, and poetry.

Our first speaker for the season, Viet Thanh Nguyen, was named a 2017 MacArthur Genius for his work in nonfiction and fiction. Nguyen, who won the Pulitzer for fiction for The Sympathizer, a story of espionage during the Vietnam War, grew up in San Jose in the 1970s and 1980s as a refugee. His parents founded one of the city’s first Vietnamese groceries. The Sympathizer’s nameless main character, a communist spy, expresses a Vietnamese perspective on the war, American politics, and Hollywood’s treatment of the Vietnamese people. Nguyen has become an international literary star, writing fiction and nonfiction about the war and the global diaspora of Vietnamese people. He recently appeared in Elle France magazine. His story, “I’d Love You To Want Me,” from his new short-story collection The Refugees, appeared in Russian Esquire. In conversation with San Francisco writer Andrew Lam, himself a Vietnamese refugee, Nguyen speaks at 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Hammer Theatre Center, 101 Paseo de San Antonio Walk, Downtown San Jose.

California surfer and international political journalist William Finnegan, author of the autobiography Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, described himself as a young man as “general prick,” in a December 2015 interview. He was so fanatical about surfing, he said, that he had no time or interest to give to girlfriends, even those he loved. Finnegan, currently a staff writer for The New Yorker, spent nearly four years beginning in 1978 surfing the world’s beaches, then decades fermenting his autobiography, even as he earned national writing and journalism awards covering politics and wars in South Africa, Mozambique and Mexico as well as U.S. immigration and what it’s like to be an American teenager. William Finnegan speaks in conversation with author Steve Kettmann and reads at 7 p.m. Nov. 8 at Cafe Stritch, 374 S. 1st St., San Jose.

Historian, memoirist and poet Peter Balakian has researched and written extensively about the genocide against Armenian subjects of the Ottoman Empire during World War I. The mass murder, including forced marches and concentration camps, claimed at least 1.5 million lives, including members of his family. His grandmother and aunts fled on foot. Growing up in suburban New Jersey after World War II, his family’s history “wasn’t spoken about. It was not discussed,” Balakian told the PBS Newshour on May 30, 2016, after winning his prize. He began writing poetry as a college student and to explore his family’s heritage in the mid-1970s. San José State University President Mary Papazian, who holds a doctoral degree in English and is also Armenian, will interview the poet. Peter Balakian, author of Ozone Journal, appears at 7 p.m. April 12 at the
Hammer Theatre Center.

Tickets for each event may also be purchased individually, with student discounts available. Visit www.litart.org  for details.

Science Students Share Research on May 5

Student Research Day Flier

Student Research Day Flier

Undergraduate and graduate students from the College of Science will present findings from research they have conducted with faculty members as part of Student Research Day on May 5, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., on the Ground Level of Duncan Hall. Students from all disciplines in the college will display posters about their research and will be available to discuss their work with visitors.

The event is one of several planned as part of a week-long Inauguration Celebration for San Jose State University’s 30th President, Mary A. Papazian, who will be inaugurated on May 4, at 9:30 a.m. on Tower Lawn. The week’s activities also include two film screenings that relate to our president’s strong cultural heritage but also tie into San Jose State University’s legacy of social justice in times of turmoil. “They Shall Not Perish: The Story of Near East Relief” will be shown on April 30, at 3 p.m., in the Diaz-Compean Student Union Theater. “The Promise,” starring Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale, will be shown on May 2, at 7:30 p.m., at Century Oakridge 20, in San Jose.

In addition to the screenings, activities will include a guest lecture, musical concerts, poetry readings and the Innovation to Inspiration Gala. Visit the Inauguration website to see the full list of activities and events planned from April 21 through May 5.

 

Final University Scholars Series Lecture Features Rachael French April 26

Early Career Investigator Award Winners Rachael French, left, and Miranda Worthen pose for a photograph at San Jose State University on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. (Photo: James Tensuan, '15 Journalism)

Early Career Investigator Award Winner Rachael French, left, will present her work at the final University Scholars Series of the semester on April 26. Also pictured is Miranda Worthen, who was also honored with the ECIA in February. (Photo: James Tensuan, ’15 Journalism)

Associate Professor Rachael French, recipient of a 2017 Early Career Investigator Award, will present the final lecture in the University Scholars Series on Wednesday, April 26, from noon to 1 p.m., in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, Room 225/229. Dr. French, who has brought in more than $1.2 million in external funding to support her research, will discuss the work she is conducting in her Drosophila Genetics lab. She and her student researchers are studying the impact of fruit fly development when eggs are laid in an alcohol-rich environment. Her goal is that her research may someday help in treatment of fetal alcohol syndrome in humans. Financial backing for her studies, which started during her post-doctoral days at UC-San Francisco, comes from the National Institutes for Health and the National Science Foundation. Her research is aided by three graduate students and six undergraduate SJSU students.

The University Scholars Series is supported by the University Library, the Spartan Bookstore, Faculty Affairs, the Office of Research and the Office of the Provost.

Hospitality Management Department to Host Beers Around the World Tradeshow

Tradeshow flier

Tradeshow flier

Students in the Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management Department will be hosting the spring 2017 Beers Around the World Tradeshow on April 27, from 6-9:30 p.m. at the Glasshouse, 2 South Market St., in San Jose. The event is open to SJSU faculty and staff, 21 and older. The once-a-semester event allows students enrolled in a meetings and event management course to gain practical planning experience while students in a Beer Appreciation course share what they’ve learned about beer and food pairings, as well as the history and culture of a particular beer-making region. Tickets are $25 for 12 tastings, $15 for five tastings or $10 for admission only (no tastings).

RSVP and purchase tickets online through April 20.

Show Your Spartan Spirit at Feb. 25 Interdivisional Competition

Event flier

Event flier

SJSU staff and faculty are invited to attend the second annual interdivisional competition Feb. 25 at the Spartan Women’s Basketball game against Boise State, in the SJSU Event Center. Doors open at 1 p.m. and the game starts at 2 p.m. RSVP online.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Andy Feinstein and Vice President for Student Affairs Reggie Blaylock launched the event last year when they competed to see which division could fill more seats in the stands during a women’s basketball game. Faculty and staff, along with their families, were invited to attend. The pair provided a meal and lots of entertainment throughout the evening, including a free throw competition, a cheer off and a relay race. At the end of the evening, Academic Affairs was crowned victorious for the evening’s competition and Provost Feinstein accepted a trophy on behalf of the division. This year’s event promises even more fierce competition as invitations have been extended to include University Advancement and Administration and Finance colleagues – all four divisions will compete to take home the trophy and the title of most Spartan Spirit.