Lang Summer Learning Communities are composed of a faculty member and a small group of Lang students who come together to study and explore a topic of interest. 

If interested in learning more please email the faculty contact below.

Evan Rapport |

Lang Music Room

Listening club, bi-weekly sessions led by different full-time faculty members and guest alumni on a particular piece or recording.

David Bering-Porter |

Uncanny Networks will explore the intersections of technology, culture, and power that are converging in our present moment under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. Uncanny networks highlights those points of contact that were once familiar and have been, under the new conditions brought about by the pandemic, made strange; we will explore issues around the Zoom videoconferencing platform, AI and Identity, Surveillance, and Neoliberalism, with the fundamental understanding that all of these topics come together in the uncanny networks that are the objects of our study. This learning community will take the form of a guided set of readings aimed to facilitate some independent research on the part of each of the student participants. As the faculty facilitator, my role will be to guide the independent research of each of the students around a common set of readings and bring those together in synthesis through a series of group discussions. The culmination of this learning community would be to put together a podcast or series of recorded presentations from myself and each of the students that we would then compile into an audio presentation (exact platform and format to be decided on as a group).

Nathan Fitch |

The new found human connection through space, and how during a time of isolation, we still have the ability to look together under one sky. This is a form of escapism that doesn’t lead the person to a new reality, but one that is enjoyed and perceived by all, giving us a form of connection in a time that is so distant.

Al Hallak |

A culture and Media study that examines how we perceive the media and arts in relation to our emotional and psychological state.

Sarah Montague

Radio and audio are forms mostly associated with doing rather than critiquing, but what makes great sound work great is exactly the same as what makes great novels, plays, dances, songs, symphonies or paintings great. It’s the coming together of a unique imaginative concept–by individual artists or teams of creators–with a technical structure and craft that transforms it. In this group, we’ll listen to some radio/audio master works, unpack them, and see if, by summer’s end, we can imagine one of our own.

Leo Zausen |

How has the COVID-19 pandemic revealed entangled immunological relations of biological, cultural and metaphorical viruses of the “body politic”? This working group will explore tripartite connections between (1) polis contagion, (2) contagion virus and (3) virus emergency. By looking at the connective tissue between these contemporary and deeply-modern events, this group will analyze the COVID-19 pandemic and its legal, political and immunological responses. We will deploy comparative analysis of prior pandemics, and the unique advent of COVID-19 virality across networks and bodies alike. We will also track a multivalent symptomology of human and nonhuman agents, of which under COVID-19, the distance between is becoming increasing porous and proximate. Scholarship will be read from medical humanities, science journalism, network studies, literary studies (metaphor and analogy), political theory, race studies and queer theory from both the West and the East in looking to isolate certain foundational sovereign responses to “crisis.” Through four itinerant synchronous sessions, the group will rely on seminar based discussion, close reading, and group interpretation of the below texts.


Healing from systemic and gendered violence

Jonathan Liebson |

Short-Short Fiction: A Craft Class & Mini-Workshop

Some call it “flash fiction”; others see it as a hybrid of poetry and prose. In this mini-workshop, we’ll both read and write experimental fiction that tells a whole story in anywhere from a couple of paragraphs to roughly three pages. In group sessions we’ll examine short-shorts from such writers as Amy Hempel, Mavis Gallant, Dave Eggers, Lydia Davis, and Ernest Hemingway, looking at the narrative techniques of voice, lyricism, character, irony, etc. At the same time, we’ll complete writing exercises, both in-class and take-home, to generate our own work. In the last session or two, we’ll have group workshops to offer feedback on student writing.

Rebecca Reilly |

Writing through the pandemic: a continuation and expansion of our long memoir-project begun in Radical Memoir last semester. Chronicling our lives and the vast changes around us to bear witness and remain present during this extraordinary time. A creative writing project with multimedia and multi genre aspects will be created.

Alexandra Délano-Alonso |

This seminar explores what it means to connect Global Studies to the world beyond the classroom, considering different career paths. Class activities will include resumes, cover letters, interview preparation, and alumni guest speakers. The goal is to support students in making connections between their experiences in and out of classroom, understand
the range of options available for students to build on their skills and knowledge, and
the challenges and opportunities of putting ideas and ideals into practice in this particularly difficult context.


Our community’s focus will be the changes instigated by the COVID-19 pandemic with regards to foreign policy and the dynamics of international relations, such as the role of intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) during a crisis that invokes a tension between political and economic competition and the need for global cooperation. The readings outlined by the syllabus, and the subsequent Zoom discussions, will allow us to (1) explore relevant scholarship in these fields from the recent past to establish a solid framework for our research and (2) integrate emerging data and scholarship on current foreign policy and international relations into our work. These broad topics will be distilled in various ways according to the specific regional and topical interests of each participant, whose research will in turn contribute to our collective study of the myriad effects of the pandemic through our weekly presentations and discussions. These individual focuses will include the shifting responses to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the pandemic’s implications for democratic institutions and political movements, the role of the cultural sector, the impacts on national security and the evolving implications for supply chains and consumption patterns.

Emma Park |

This course explores Marxist, feminist, and ecological critiques of capitalism as an institutionalized social and environmental order.

Liesl Schillinger Liesls@Newschool.Edu

“Lit with Lang: Love Among the Ruins”

This summer book club will explore great literature, old and new (two books, two novellas) that will help students interpret our current challenging times. I would like to have at least a dozen students in the club, not just 5. Proposed titles are: “Death in Venice” (1911-cholera and an unhealthy passion); “Severance” (2018-an existential zombie plague); “The Devil in the Flesh” (1923-war, typhus and forbidden love); and “Exit West” (2017 war, martial law and the refugee crisis). Depending on student wishes, Camus’s “The Plague” (1947) may be added or subbed in for one title.

Angela Carr |

No Time Like the Present: Poetry In the “Pause.” 

How does our altered experience of time in the present, due to COVID-19, affect identity, globally? The future is in abeyance: what are the effects of its suspension? We propose to read our own contemporary experience of time through the lens of queer temporality theory and other non-linear writings on time. In particular, we will read queer poet Etel Adnan’s recent, award-winning book, Time (Nightboat Books 2019) alongside theoretical writings on queer temporality by various literary scholars. We will also examine the time stamp in poetry, in the tradition of queer poet Frank O’Hara’s writing (Lunch Poems) and, more recently, Stacy Szymaszek’s A Year From Today. Then, we will discuss the relevance, in the pause, of time-based duration and constraint writing, in the tradition of Bernadette Mayer. Finally, time permitting, we will read Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett, and discuss the notion of stalled time. Throughout the summer, students will be encouraged to write poetry that is their own interpretation of the pause, “downtime,” or a related temporal concept. Our learning community will culminate with the production of a student authored chapbook that showcases their poetry/creative writing.

Jessica Gross |

“Pen Pals” will explore the epistolary novel.

Emma Lieber |

Psychoanalysis and (Dis)Embodiment. This working group seeks to address the experience of having a body in a contemporary moment in which the body–all bodies; some much more than others–is under profound assault, and in which bodily experience has become increasingly mediated by technology. Our proposal is that psychoanalysis can help us work through the social and subjective questions that we are now so urgently facing. In doing so, we hope to better navigate a rapidly changing world: a world in which the experience of having a body is increasingly distressing. How can we take ownership of our own bodies, recognizing both their radical freedom and their radical responsibility?

Elaine Savory |

How we employ language (written and oral)  to respond to two major intersecting events in NYC in 2020- COVID and civil unrest following the George Floyd murder.

A.W. Strouse |

Surveillance Capitalism and Anarchic Play 

This community came together around interests in political humor—especially satirical writing, stand-up comedy, and puppetry. We will read texts that provide insight into technologies of surveillance capitalism (like Zoom). And we will read texts that provide background on activist forms of play (e.g. puppetry, circus, and satire). These readings will inform our community projects. We will plan and workshop playful responses to the current crisis, especially in order to create fun, subversive strategies for the virtual community.

Mayra Cotta |

The modern state represents an epochal shift that transforms political institutions and ideas at the end of the 16th century, just as the creation of the individual around the same time shakes up moral philosophy and its implications to polity. Both these processes unfolding at the same time and mutually informing one another create the necessity for the elaboration of the relationship between the individual and the state. The comprehension of Politics itself is therefore completely reoriented under the appearance of the individual and the state, and the tensions, connections and frictions between these two innovations in the works of Hobbes, Kant, Hegel and Marx will be analysed in the study group. Rarely, students have the opportunity to do a close reading of canonical texts during the semester and they often rely on their professors’ interpretations of the material. The canons however remain central for critical theory and to any production of knowledge committed to social transformation. We must understand the theoretical and philosophical basis that have built the world we live in if we are committed to transform it. The idea of this workshop is to provide students with this opportunity to do so.

Christopher Kelley |

Hindu/Buddhist meditation and occidental alchemical magic in the context of Experimental Film.


We will be exploring the cinema and poetry of the night — films and genres set in and about nighttime. We’ll be doing reading and viewing on topics like the poetics of the moon, science fiction genre tropes, and how global warming is driving people in hot climates towards nocturnal life. The students will complete short filming assignments to complement the readings. We’ll go over practical considerations of shooting in low light, and consider how night opens up space for encounters and vulnerabilities not afforded by the day.

Caveh Zahedi |

A shot-by-shot analysis of David Lynch’s Lost Highway as well as a line-by-line analysis of David Foster Wallace’s seminal story on the making of Lost Highway.

Joe E. Jeffreys |

Drag Performance in the Time of COVID 19