I am proud to say that I gave the first conference paper of my career at Representing Animals, held April 13-15, 2000, when the Center was still known as the Center for Twentieth Century Studies. I was still a doctoral student in Communications at the University of California, San Diego (and I bought my first suit for the occasion). Representing Animals was a formative moment in my professional development, and both the dissertation that grew out of that paper, and the book that grew out of the dissertation (Watching Wildlife, University of Minnesota Press, 2006) were informed and bettered by that experience. But perhaps more importantly, the then-still nascent field of critical animals studies was energized at this conference by the participants’ intellectual rigor and interdisciplinary diversity—not to mention our front row seats for a talk by Jane Goodall, who started her appearance with a goosebumps-producing imitation of a chimpanzee call. I am forever grateful to conference organizers Nigel Rothfels and Andrew Isenberg for including me.
Cynthia Chris, College of Staten Island, City University of New York
I will never forget my experience at C21, it was the most stimulating experience in my academic career. The opportunity to share my work with other colleagues in a regular formally and informally way was extraordinary. I learn tons from them and they helped me refine my own work. I was able to go deeper in my research about poetry by poets with African roots in Jamaica and Colombia. I feel absolutely grateful for that opportunity and I hope the Center continue being that space for many in the future.
Maria del Pilar Melgarejo, Southern Methodist University
I’m so grateful that I was able to work at the Center for 21st Century Studies as a Project Assistant when I was in grad school. Not only did it help me out financially, especially given the terrible debt many of my peers face, but I made lasting friendships with other stuff and learned a vast amount in my two years there from the various speakers we had and publications we put out. Plus, the place knows how to throw a damn good party!
Renee Pasciak, UWM alumnus