Annual Conference

Each year, the UMass English Graduate Organization hosts a day-long conference featuring academic panels, creative presentations, round-table discussions, and a reception. The conference has grown from a smaller, department-based showcase of graduate student work and interests to a larger, interdisciplinary conference bringing together graduate students from outside departments and universities.

Call For Papers:

Close Encounters: Remapping Discipline through Genre

March 29, 2014
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Submissions deadline: January 20, 2014

In the humanities, we often treat genre as a codifying term that contains or bounds a body of texts on the basis of perceived kinship, thus separating those texts from others. But how might reseeing genres in Wai Chee Dimock’s terms—as strategically constructed “fields of knowledge”—reveal or produce encounters across disciplines, especially sites of collusion, crossover, and translation? If generic boundaries are permeable rather than fixed, this view can assist in remapping academic spaces, allowing ostensibly disparate texts,(sub)disciplines, and/or cultures to encounter one another and yield new scholarship. Far from treating genres as inert categories, this view seeks to interrogate the organizing principles at work across the humanities.

The English Graduate Organization of the University of Massachusetts Amherst invites submissions to our 6th annual interdisciplinary conference on the theme of (re)mapping discipline through genre. For example, we invite submissions that consider the following questions:

● In what ways is genre tied not only to forms of text, but also to national identity and/or time period? What makes a text “close to” or “distant from” another? How might rethinking geographic or temporal scale point toward ways of reading that interrogate traditional notions of region and periodization?
● What texts demand that we re map traditional generic divisions, and what new or underrepresented forms remain to be mapped, whether within or against preestablished categories? For example, if shifting definitions of “text” include performance, shared practice, and other aspects of visual culture, how do such texts enter into (or alter) genre systems?
● Given the increasing digitization of archives and our growing ability to cross reference texts and visual media, how do digital resources influence our academic work, particularly in ways that produce, reinforce, or destabilize genres/categories? In what ways do these innovations demand new digital
literacies throughout the academy—for scholars, teachers, and/or students?
● How might generic designations be complicit in, or resistant to, dominant cultural discourses? What are the political stakes of mapping disciplines and/or genres, especially in light of canonization (or texts otherwise deemed “foundational”) in a given academic context? How does specialization
function as a site of enclosure or exclusion, and in what ways can the academy resist discursive

While the concept of genre is often grounded in literary studies, we advocate an inclusive and expansive interpretation of the term; we especially invite submissions from interdisciplinary, creative, and cross-genre projects. Topics include but are not limited to:

literary studies
American studies
canon formation
databases and archives
new formalisms
translation studies
historical studies
rhetoric and composition
digital humanities
education, literacy, and pedagogy
knowledge distribution and circulation
pop culture / material culture
media and cultural studies
visual culture / art history
performance studies / performing arts
creative writing
postcolonial and transnational studies
indigenous and native studies
world systems
movement, migration, diaspora
biological and physical sciences
science/ humanities crossovers
gender and sexuality studies
disability studies
affect theory
trauma studies


Deadline: January 20, 2014

We accept three different types of submissions:

1. Individual papers/projects: please submit an abstract of no more than 350 words. Include your name, paper title, institution, and email address.
2. Panels: please submit a 1000-word proposal for an entire panel of presentations (3-4 presenters). Included in this proposal should be abstracts of 200-300 words for all presentations, the title of the panel, and information for each presenter (name, paper title, institution, and email address). If you are forming your own panel, you have the option of providing your own chair.
3. Performances and creative presentations/panels: we welcome submission of creative works, including creative writing, visual art, and dramatic performance. Please include a brief description of your project, as well as your name, project title, institution, and email address.

A list of previous conferences:
2013: Citizenship and Its Discontents: Belonging in a Global World [CFP]
2012: Forces at Play: Bodies, Power, and Spaces
2011: Real Worlds: (dis)Locating Realities
2010: Caught in the Act: Performance and Performativity
2009: Locating Public(s)
2006: Re-Imagining the Discipline
2004: Recent Studies in English

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