3/22/21

In solidarity with the bereaved families, with Asian & Asian American communities around the world, and with all those who are committed to fighting racism, the English Department adds its collective voice to condemn the murders of predominantly Asian American women workers that were perpetrated in Atlanta by a white gunman on March 16, 2021.

We affirm the words of Georgia state representative Bee Nguyen that these shootings lie at the “intersection of gender-based violence, misogyny and xenophobia.” This latest act of violence is not an isolated incident, but part of ongoing patterns and policies of violence against Asians and Asian Americans that have permeated US culture and institutions for generations and are rooted in settler colonial white supremacy.

While the last four years, and in particular the past administration’s response to the pandemic, likely exacerbated the recent rise in anti-Asian violence, we would be shortsighted in our work as scholars committed to calling out injustice if we failed to acknowledging the destructive impact of local policing and federal practices, including immigration and deportation policies, as well as the longstanding impact of US military incursions throughout Asia over the past century.

Although we recognize the limited impact that any statement such as this can have, we commit ourselves through our ongoing research, our teaching, our public statements, and our roles in the stewardship of the institution to challenge the perpetuation of violent, racist injustices. We do so in solidarity with the continuing anti-racist work of Asian American and other BIPOC communities and their organizations.

9/30/20

Dear English students,

As the Department Chair, I write in support of the UC Cops Off Campus Coalition’s day of statewide action on 10/1. In the wake of organizing for a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), many of our Black, Brown, and Indigenous students have also faced the global health pandemic, ecological crisis, and the continued threat of racialized police violence. We must acknowledge that policing disproportionately violates Black, Brown, Indigenous, queer, trans, and poor peoples and immigrants and ultimately renders all members of campus and its surrounding communities less safe. I am committed to a public university that advances racial justice by ending such forms of harm, and I support students working towards this vision.

The Department of English will not retaliate against undergraduate or graduate students who join the abolition events happening statewide on 10/1 or beyond for exercising their first amendment rights. Further, the department oppose(s) any threat of retaliation that may come from the administration, and stand beside our students in the struggle for racial justice and a more livable university environment for all.

I am disappointed that the university has not yet taken substantive action to provide alternatives to policing in the face of incontrovertible evidence regarding the racialized harm it perpetuates. I call on the UC Riverside administration to substantively respond to the calls for divestment from police and policing on our campus.

In solidarity,

David Lloyd

Chair of English

Remembering Edwin Eigner

Edwin Eigner, a longtime member of the UCR English Department, co-founder of the UCR Creative Writing Program, and for many years a leader of the Dickens Project, has died.  A scholar of nineteenth-century English and American literature, he wrote books on Dickens, Stevenson, the metaphysical novel, and Victorian criticism of the novel.  In retirement, he was a playwright and actor on the San Diego stage. In 2011, the New Yorker published a memorable account of the Dickens Project, “Dickens in Eden” (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/08/29/dickens-in-eden).
 
Ed was a beloved and wise department chair and department member, who innovated changes that are still happily in evidence today. He will be missed and remembered.
 
Those  wishing to contact Ed’s daughter, Nancy Rivera, can write to her at 3960 Coyote Canyon, Soquel, CA 95073.

Statement of Solidarity by the English Department

The English department joins in the grief and outrage expressed in this past week’s protests and mourns the deaths of George Floyd in Minnesota, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, Nina Pop in Missouri, Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Sean Reed in Indiana, Tony McDade in Florida from police brutality and antiblackness. That outrage is compounded by the crisis of systemic racism in health care, housing and employment that has led to great disparities in the impact of COVID-19 that heavily impact Black communities.

UC Riverside, and the University of California system, builds its brand by acknowledging that our university occupies Indigenous land, advertising the diversity of our undergraduates, numbers of first-generation students, the percentage of students who qualify for public grants, and retention rates for Black students. We call on our leadership not to retreat from a direct engagement with the day-to-day realities of Black students, staff, and faculty. This hypocrisy hurts our community and undermines the university’s national reputation as an institution committed to justice.

We stand with the coalition of student organizations that issued a call-to-action to the campus community, and a series of demands to campus leadership. We add our voice to those of our students, in solidarity, to challenge our leadership to offer a meaningful response.

Letters to Students

These letters were written by English department faculty to their students at the end of spring quarter 2020. They are in random order and only one minor edit has been made. – Susan Zieger