The Speech/Acts reading group will meet over six Saturday afternoons in the fall; we will discuss syllabus texts and explore what they illuminate and provoke. The group will meet in a satellite outpost for The Racial Imaginary Institute (TRII), founded by Claudia Rankine, installed in the first-floor galleries at ICA. All are welcome to join the reading group; you are also welcome to use and adapt this syllabus as a tool for encountering Speech/Acts in your own classroom or study group, or to use it on your own.
On Saturday, October 7 from 1 to 4PM, we will discuss Franklinstein by Susan Landers and Janey’s Arcadia by Rachel Zolf. Franklinstein is a hybrid genre collection of poetry and prose that tells the story of one Philadelphia neighborhood, Germantown—a historic, beloved place, wrestling with legacies of colonialism, racism, and capitalism. Drawing from interviews, historical research, and two divergent but quintessential American texts (The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans), Landers’ Franklinstein is a monster readers have not encountered before.
Janey’s Arcadia—Rachel Zolf’s fifth book—assembles a pirate score of error-ridden historical and current documents—missionary narratives, immigration pamphlets, settler writings—to decry the ongoing violence of Canadian colonialism. It stars Janey Settler-Invader, a foul-mouthed mutant slouching toward the Red River Colony, along with a host of cacophonous, carnivalesque appropriations.
The reading group is organized by Meg Onli (ICA), Julia Bloch (Creative Writing Program), and Davy Knittle and Amber Rose Johnson (Penn English).