On December 1, 2022, the Department of English and Humanities (DEH) at the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) held the Fall 2022 Graduate Student Seminar on its permanent campus at Mohammadpur. Each term, DEH seeks recommendations from course teachers for students who have written outstanding research papers as part of their coursework the previous semester. Through this seminar, DEH inspires students to participate in a culture of knowledge exchange and research dissemination. The Graduate Seminar was being held in person for the first time. There were five presenters at this Seminar.
Rezaul Islam Riyadh (MA 221) from the Applied Linguistics and TESOL track spoke on “Critical Perspectives on Materials and Materials Development.” His paper showed the lack of authenticity in the textbook, English for Today, and how it is dominated by the western cultural elements, which, in most cases, are not relatable to Bangladeshi culture.
Khondker Shahad Muktadir (MA 222) from the Literature and Cultural Studies track presented his paper on “Could The Black Coat Have Been Written in Bangladesh?” The Black Coat (2013) is a novel by Bangladeshi-Canadian author Neamat Imam. Muktadir’s contention was that had the author been in Bangladesh, it would have been difficult for him to publish the novel on the social construction of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Sanjida Akter (MA 222), also from the Literature and Cultural Studies track, in her paper, “Globalization and Labor: A Feminist Perspective,” demonstrated how globalization enables a modern form of slavery and how Bangladeshi women are affected by it, both at home and abroad. She highlighted the paradox of the concept of the “new woman” or “golden girls” in Bangladesh.
Saima Alam (MA 222) of Applied Linguistics and TESOL, in her paper, “How I Grew Up with L2: Some Reflections” shared her traumatic experiences of learning English as a second language. She talked about how, because of the rigidity of the teachers and their application of the behaviorist theory of language acquisition by B.F. Skinner and the Grammar Translation Method in the classroom, she became a robot without getting any opportunity for creative thinking.
Md. Abrar Shahriar Nafis (MA 221) from the Literature and Creative Writing track gave an experimental presentation through his paper, “Writing, Rewriting, and the Occasional Moment of Euphoria,” where he interacted with the audience using a painting with contrasting colors, a poem written by him, and a blank page.
The event was attended by students and faculty members of ULAB. Arifa Ghani Rahman, Associate Professor and Head, Department of English and Humanities, in thanking the course teachers for mentoring the students, said, “We want to encourage this culture of knowledge sharing and of research. We want our students to begin the practice here so that they can move on to presenting their work on bigger platforms with confidence.” Professor Shamsad Mortuza, Special Advisor (BOT), who was also present at the Seminar, suggested that the presenters take their papers to international conferences where they would receive feedback from global audiences. Incorporating the feedback can help them prepare their papers for publication. The Seminar ended with a vote of thanks from the MA Coordinator, Nadia Rahman, who was also responsible for organizing the program.
Report by Mst. Manjuma Ferdoushi (222055012)