On April 19th, Dr. Jakubiak’s New Dimensions to World Literature class will go on a trip to New York City to see a panel of writers at PEN World Voices Festival. The panel, called Cry, The Beloved Country, consists of authors from around the world: Ryszard Krynicki from Poland, Serhiy Zhadan from Ukraine, Marcos Aguinis from Argentina, Ngugi wa Thiong’o from Kenya, Hwang Sok Yong from Korea, and Negar Djavadi from Iran/France. The panel’s web-page writes, ” No matter their origin, writers across the globe encapsulate the spirit of resistance by giving a voice to the oppressed. In an evening of solidarity and community, writers from seven countries share their stories of pain, rage, and suffering while living under oppressive regimes. Hear the voices of the unheard; join us in celebrating these moments of resistance.”
The class has already studied some of the work of the renowned Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o, a novelist and theorist of post-colonial literature. Ngugi will discuss the role of literature in autocratic regimes with his fellow panel members. This experience will give the students, all BSE majors, an opportunity to broaden their knowledge of world literatures and interact with the authors of books they have studied and may choose to teach in the future.
In addition to attending PEN World Voices festival, the group will take a guided tour of the new Tenement Museum of Immigration on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, which will give the students a hands-on lesson on the history of American Immigration. The tenements housed over 15,000 working class immigrants from over 20 nations while the tenements served as residences, according to the Tenement Museum’s website. The museum wishes to preserve the history of immigration and enhance appreciation for the role immigration has played and continues to play in shaping America’s evolving national identity.