5th Annual University of Florida English Graduate Organization Conference
October 27-29, 2005
Keynote Speaker: Judith "Jack" Halberstam
Theory * Activism* Creativity: Navigating Textual Politics
A recent New York Times article on the 2004 MLA Convention suggests modern scholars of literature have reduced the loftier study of accepted canonical texts into a chic preoccupation with popular media that is little more than masturbatory fantasy couched in a catchy title. Marginalizing various schools of theoretical thought, namely feminist, queer, postcolonial, radical race, among others, this article conveys to the public at large that contemporary humanities studies are informed by nothing more than "trendy" leftist political theories that have no lasting importance.
Not surprisingly, navigating the textual politics of studies within the humanities can often be fraught with myriad tensions for scholars both in and outside of the university. Indeed, skeptical attitudes toward politically informed schools of thought and investments in texts that fall outside of the traditional canon are still evident within the university system itself. These tensions therefore raise a number of questions about how and where theory, activism, and creativity intersect in our current moment. For example, how do we interpret and teach the literature of the past while navigating within and beyond the vacuum of tradition? How can texts be "activist" when modern theory often decentralizes meaning? Can we no longer talk about authors' politics in connection with their process of creative production? How do we continue to reinforce the relevancy of various politicized strains of theory (feminist, queer, postcolonial, radical race, Marxist, etc.) in the midst of critiques that they become formulaic and redundant ways of "reading" texts? How do literature and different forms of media affect cultural and political change outside of the university?
This conference seeks to interrogate and navigate these fissures and overlaps between creative, activist, and theoretical work. We welcome panels, papers, and creative presentations by graduate students, faculty, independent scholars, and activists, which include but are not limited to the following issues:
literary criticism and activist theory
reading and teaching popular media, comics, film, fanzines, animation, etc.
diversifying canons and/or questioning canonicity
"intellectual" vs. "mainstream" publics and the question of address
politics and textual production
merging theory and activism
academic writing as creative
personal narrative as academic writing--transgressing theoretical conventions
the personal/autobiographical and the theoretical (testimonio)
feminist and GLBTQ research and publication
women's studies, masculinity studies, postcolonial studies and interdisciplinary research
field-specific activism, including the role of professional organizations
listservs, blogs, MOOs, and activist cyberspaces
the role of activism in the classroom
the role of the activist on campus
the market: practicality, tenure, research
The deadline for proposals is September 1, 2005. Proposals must include your name, e-mail address, mailing address, telephone number, institutional affiliation, technology requests, presentation title, and 300-word abstract. Presentations will be limited to 20 minutes. Please submit your proposals to Andrea Wood (contact information provided below).
Electronic submissions are preferred, but not required. Please send electronic submissions to Andrea Wood (e-mail address follows) via plain-text email. In other words, copy-and-paste your abstract into your email client and send it that way. Panel proposals are also welcomed and encouraged.
For any further information please check out the conference website (web address shown below).
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