[Pre]Occupations: Working, Seizing, Dwelling (Saturday, April 16th, 2011)
The 5th Annual Graduate Student Conference hosted by the Department of English at the University of Rhode Island
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Timothy Brennan, Professor of English, Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature, and American Studies at The University of Minnesota, and author of several books, including Secular Devotion: Afro-Latin Music and Imperial Jazz (2008), Wars of Position: The Cultural Politics of Left and Right (2006), and At Home in the World: Cosmopolitanism Now (1997).
The Latin root of “occupation”—occupare—accounts for the word’s aggressive, militaristic sense: to seize or to capture. While “occupation” still retains this meaning, it also comes to signify one’s profession, the office that one holds, or the work that one does within or on a culture, a nation, or a world. But this word also has a material dimension—an abode, a building, a dwelling—as well as a ruminative sense—an abiding, a dwelling, a letting be. These dimensions or senses demonstrate the agility of “occupation,” but to them we also add something else: that occupations often precede us, sweeping us into a being or becoming preoccupied. This year we hope that our title [Pre]Occupations captures these competing and collaborating dimensions, opening a field of exciting and exigent problematics: What history or histories might one claim? What periods seize one’s interest? What miracles, joys, sadnesses, or violences [pre]occupy a reader, a worker, or a citizen? What labors does one undergo in order to live? What perpetual efforts does one attempt in order to make a present, a home, or a dwelling? What wars of nations or ideas, what occupations, what trespasses belabor the self and/or the other? What does it mean to be at work in a world or on a world?
We invite graduate students to submit paper or panel proposals that attend to these (or related) questions. In addition, we encourage submissions from a variety of fields—history, film, cultural studies, philosophy, languages, literature, political science, rhetoric/composition, communications, psychology, sociology, anthropology, women’s studies, library and information studies, and visual studies (though not limited to these fields).
Possible topics and areas of interest include, but are not limited to:
• Labor (class, production, commodification, capital)
• Historiography and the archive
• Postcolonial studies (imperialism, resistance, ethnography, post-independence shifts, mimicry)
• The relationship of work, leisure, and play
• Desire and pleasure (Freud, Lacan, Foucault, Deleuze)
• Rhetoric and composition (literacy, writing technologies, multicultural rhetorics)
• The work of form (style, narratology, prosody, genre)
• Pedagogy (learning, apprenticeship, preparation, contra didacticism, professionalization)
• Politics of prepositions (working for, on, toward, between, in, etc.)
• Subject formation (self-fashioning, interpellation)
• War and peace (militarism, treaties, reparation, diplomacy, international governance)
• Body and/as machine (prostheses, cyborg theory, disability/impairment studies)
• [Pre]occupied minds (trauma studies, philosophies of the mind, neurological studies, cognition)
• Publics (world-building, intersubjectivities, virtual/online publics, individual/communal)
• Organizations of space, place, time (architecture, archaeology, genealogy, city planning)
• The author and authorship (death of the author, author-function, intentionality, biography)
• Meditation, imagination, rumination
• Diaspora, migration, immigration, citizenship
• Politics and/or organization of difference (race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, religion, etc.)
• Specialization, periodization, canonization
Submit abstracts of 250 words (for individual proposals) or 400 words (for panel proposals) to email@example.com by February 20th, 2011. Please include your full name, contact information, and institutional affiliation. Individual presentations should be no longer than 15 minutes. For more information, please see www.uri.edu/gradconf.
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