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Celebrating Lesley Stern's New BookBook Cover

Diary of a Detour

October 9, 2020
1:00 p.m. PDT
YouTube Stream:

Lesley Stern (Professor Emerita, Visual Arts UCSD) will read from her book followed by a discussion with poet Eileen Myles, film critic Girish Shambu, Ben Doller (Writing Program, Literature Department UCSD) and Lisa Cartwright (Visual Arts and Science Studies UCSD). With a special introduction by Donna Haraway (Distinguished Professor Emerita, UC Santa Cruz).

Diary of a Detour is a memoir of living with a chronic form of cancer, but it detours frequently into other genres and cross-disciplinary landscapes. With illustrations by Amy Adler (Visual Arts UCSD).

"Diary of a Detour is wonderful on so many levels. Besides being an extraordinary writer, Lesley Stern is emotionally and intellectually sophisticated in such subtle and deep ways." - Donna Haraway

"A mixture of the mundane and the medical, the ordinary and the extraordinary." - Kirkus Reviews

"It's the most pleasurable cancer book imaginable. I was riveted." - Eileen Myles

For a description of the book and to read the introduction:

Lesley Stern is the author of Dead and Alive: The Body as Cinematic Thing, The Smoking Book (which, as Publishers Weekly puts it, “links more than 50 often stunning and always intriguing pieces in a mélange of genres, including fiction, memoir, history and criticism”) and The Scorsese Connection, and co-editor of Falling For You: Essays on Cinema and Performance. Her work moves between a number of disciplinary locations and spans both theory and production: although her reputation was established in the fields of film theory and history, she is also known for her fictocritical writing. Stern was born and raised in Zimbabwe, and she has taught in a number of universities around the globe (including at the University of Zimbabwe; Glasgow University; La Trobe and Murdoch Universities; The University of New South Wales; and University of California, Irvine) before moving to UCSD in 2000. She has published extensively in the areas of film, performance, photography, cultural history, postcolonialism, feminism and gardening/ecocriticism; her essays have appeared in journals such as Screen, M/F, Camera Obscura, Film Reader, Image Forum, Trafic, Emergences, and Critical Inquiry. Stern’s recent projects include a further work of ficto-criticism, Diary of a Detour, and a book, Gardening in a Strange Land, on notions of native and exotic, foreign and domestic, migration and immigration.

Girish Shambu teaches at Canisius College in Buffalo, and is a film blogger. He is the author of The New Cinephilia, a book about Internet film culture, and an editor at Film Quarterly.

Ben Doller has taught in the MFA programs at George Mason University, Boise State, and West Virginia University and is vice-editor and designer for 1913 Press. The author of four books of poetry, and two collaborative books, his work has been published widely in journals and anthologies including New Republic, Volt, Fence, Boston Review, and Satellite Convulsions (Tin House). His writing, research, and teaching interests include genre intersections, experimental writing, the politics of form, performance and sound poetries, typography and graphic design, and small press publishing.

Eileen Myles came to New York from Boston in 1974 to be a poet, subsequently a novelist, public talker and art journalist. Their twenty-two books include For Now, an essay/talk about writing from Yale Press (forthcoming, fall 20) evolution (poems), Afterglow (a dog memoir), a 2017 re-issue of Cool for You, I Must Be Living Twice/new and selected poems, and Chelsea Girls. They showed their photographs in 2019 at Bridget Donahue, NYC. Eileen is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, an Andy Warhol/Creative Capital Arts Writers grant, four Lambda Book Awards, the Shelley Prize from the PSA, and a poetry award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. In 2016, Myles received a Creative Capital grant and the Clark Prize for excellence in art writing. In 2019 they received an award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. They live in New York and Marfa, TX.

Donna Haraway is Distinguished Professor Emerita in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California Santa Cruz. She earned her PhD in Biology at Yale in 1972 and writes and teaches in science and technology studies, feminist theory, and multispecies studies. She has served as thesis adviser for over 60 doctoral students in several disciplinary and interdisciplinary areas. At UCSC, she is an active participant in the Science and Justice Research Center and Center for Creative Ecologies.

Attending to the intersection of biology with culture and politics, Haraway’s work explores the string figures composed by science fact, science fiction, speculative feminism, speculative fabulation, science and technology studies, and multispecies worlding. Her books include Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene; Manifestly Haraway (2016); When Species Meet (2008); The Companion Species Manifesto (2003); The Haraway Reader (2004); Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium (1997, 2nd ed 2018); Simians, Cyborgs, and Women (1991); Primate Visions (1989); and Crystals, Fabrics, and Fields (1976, 2004). A feature-length film made by Fabrizio Terravova, titled Donna Haraway: Story Telling for Earthly Survival, ( 2016, available as a DVD). With Adele Clarke she co-edited Making Kin Not Population (Prickly Paradigm Press, 2018), which addresses questions of human numbers, feminist anti-racist reproductive and environmental justice, and multispecies flourishing.

Known for her writing about visual culture and the body in feminist science and technology studies and working at the intersections of art and medical history and critical theory, Lisa Cartwright is the author of books including Screening the Body: Tracing Medicine’s Visual Culture and Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture (co-author Marita Sturken). Recent essays consider the landscape photography of photographers including Catherine Opie, the history of film technology, and the visual cultures of viruses. A native New Yorker, Cartwright was trained in film and critical theory at the Whitney Program and at NYU Tisch School of the Arts before receiving her PhD in American Studies from Yale and joining the faculty at the University of Rochester, where she helped to launch the Ph.D. Program in Visual and Cultural Studies. Cartwright is currently Professor of Visual Arts with additional appointments in the Department of Communication and the graduate Science Studies Program and an affiliation with the program in Critical Gender Studies. She directs the Catalyst Lab, an initiative that supports collaborations across art, science and technology with emphases in feminist and critical theory and in experimental documentary practice. The lab is home to the online journal Catalyst: Feminism, Theory and Technoscience and supports collaboration with the FemTechNet, a international network of feminist scholars, artists, and teachers of technology, science, feminism, and digital media.