2014 EGSA Graduate Student Symposium

2014 EGSA Symposium 

Call for Papers


What Comes After the Conference Paper: A Series of Ignite Talks on “Post-ing”

Panel Organizer: Leigha McReynolds

This panel solicits proposals for Ignite talks which derive their inspiration from the symposium topic, “Post-ing: What Comes After.” Ignite talks, named after the event for which they were developed, are five minutes long and accompanied by exactly 20 slides. Each slide is featured for 15 seconds and then automatically advanced. Successful abstract submissions will explain how the subject of the Ignite talk contributes to or reflects on the symposium theme and how this specific format will be conducive to the development of these ideas. The hope is that this panel will generate a Q&A that discusses not only the content presented but the relationship between content and form. Anywhere from six to twelve abstracts can be accepted. Panel participants will have the voluntary opportunity to workshop and practice their presentations with their fellow panelists prior to the date of the symposium.

Please submit a brief abstract of no more than 250 words to Leigha McReynolds at ([email protected])
by November 30, 2013

Harrowing Transformations

Panel Organizers: Haylie Swenson and Alan Montroso


In Planet Earth’s harrowing video of the Cordyceps fungi colonizing the body of an insect host, an ant, already parasited by the fungus, dies, while its corpse erupts into the fruiting body of the Cordyceps. The camera lingers over this transformation in long shots that emphasize both the architectural beauty of the Cordyceps and the destruction done to its host as insect transforms into fungus. We are reassured, however, that these violent acts of becoming serve a purpose: to regulate the populations of various species of insect.  In spite of the narrative’s attempt to rationalize and aestheticize a harrowing transformation, the violence of this process lingers and leaves us with only questions: How might narratives of transformation and becoming challenge our beliefs about a stable and harmonious universe? Are the processes by which we aestheticize breaks and ruptures determined by humanistic ways of thinking? By investigating what comes after transformational processes, can we achieve a posthuman ethics appropriate for an unstable universe and a planet in the throes of ecological catastrophe?


In an effort to address the questions above, we invite speakers from all disciplines to investigate narratives of transformation from an ecological and/or posthuman orientation. Possible examples include medieval werewolf tales, post-apocalyptic narratives, contemporary alien invasion fantasies, as well as the literature(s) of ecotheory and stories of ecological balance (like Planet Earth), which often frame transformations as harmonious and holistic even when they are predicated on violence.


Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words to Haylie Swenson ([email protected]) or Alan Montroso ([email protected]) with the subject line “Harrowing Transformations abstract” by November 30, 2013.  


 Panel Organizer: Maia Gil'Adi

In Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity Jose Esteban Muñoz demarcates “queerness” as a potentiality, “a certain mode of nonbeing that is eminent, a thing that is present but actually existing in the present tense.” Therefore the queer is a “not yet here” and yet “future bound;” a promise of what is to come. In the same vein, postfeminism is also marked by being both retro- and neo-. Its intercontextuality brings us to the limits of what we think we know and pushes us beyond these limits, destabilizing our sense of gender, sexuality and the body.


This panel wishes to explore representations of gender, sexuality, queerness and postfeminism in literature and popular culture. What are the implications of “post-ing” such notions? How might postfeminism or post-queerness modify our interpretations of such cultural productions? Is queerness or postfeminism altered by a hope of utopia? How does the promise of the future expose the disjunctions within the ideals of postfeminism or queerness?


Work on posthuman gender and sexuality, digital and biotech bodies more generally is also welcome.


Please submit a brief abstract of no more than 250 words to Maia Gil’Adi ([email protected]) by November 30, 2013.

“The Time Is Out of Joint”:  Post-Temporal

Panel Organizers: Patrick Thomas Henry and Shyama Rajendran


In 2011, we consistently look to tomorrow for something “new,” whether it be the release of the next blockbuster film, a new version of the iPhone, or the season’s latest fashion. Our understanding of the new is consistently bound up with its imminence, while our understanding of the old is that to which we can never return. The “new” has become inextricable from time, leading us to use the idea of newness, or modernity, to demarcate progress. While not all claims to newness are claims to modernity, understanding modernity as a measure of progress implies newness. Understanding ourselves as modern is how we envision ourselves as progressing, and how we understand history as the past; for this reason, we look at time as linear. Margreta de Grazia describes the divide between the “medieval” and the “modern” as a “massive value judgment, determining what matters and what does not” (453). De Grazia’s pithy analysis of the transition from what was once a cyclical recurrence of modernity into an “epochal monolith” echoes the question asked by many: what does it mean to be “modern,” and how did the value attached to the concept gain such immense importance? (454).  Time is always understood as a forward momentum, leading to the desire to disavow what has already passed, while trying to preserve it, in order to assert the present as new.


De Grazia’s position on temporality is echoed across literary periods and theoretical paradigms, ranging from queer theory, Marxism, object oriented ontology, disability studies, and others.  This panel, therefore, seeks submissions that explore alternative understandings of temporality and explorations of what “post-” means in relation to time.  Further, we seek submissions that transgress the boundaries between literary periods and cultures as they have been institutionally demarcated in order to offer alternative modes of temporality.  In doing so, these submissions should pressure the narratives of modernization and progress implicit in the discussion of periodization. 


Send abstracts of 300-400 words to both Patrick Thomas Henry ([email protected]) and Shyama Rajendran ([email protected]) with “Post-Temporal” as the subject by November 30, 2013.

Losing Sight of Race: Past, Present, Future

Panel Organizers: Justin Mann and Molly Lewis


In the 1992 edition of their canonical text Racial Formation in the US, Omi and Winant explain that, “[d]espite exhortations both sincere and hypocritical, it is not possible or even desirable to be ‘color-blind.’”  Yet overwhelmingly twenty years later, aspirations to color-blindness have proliferated in American culture.  Despite discussions of President Barack Obama’s problematic blackness and Kanye West’s famously aphoristic accusation that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” Americans’ persistent protestations of equal opportunity reveal the following affective investment in race-neutrality: the hope for a post-racial world. 

This compulsion towards post-raciality exposes, then, that race is reality with a robust past, present, and future, its manifestations historically bound and culturally contingent. However, much contemporary scholarship and popular culture representations show the desire for post-raciality to be a constant throughout history. This panel hopes to address then such representations and will explore the long history of race and its potential futures as respectively “remembered” and “imagined” in contemporary discourse. Ultimately, in this panel we ask: what is so important about losing sight of race? We encourage submissions across disciplines and temporalities exploring colorblind aspirations that gloss racial realities, that might draw on but are not limited to: critical race theory, queer of color critique, postcolonialism, indigeneity, historicity, legal studies, film studies, utopian/dystopian literature, American cultural studies, and political theory.

Please submit abstracts of 250 words or less to Justin Mann ([email protected]) or Molly Lewis ([email protected]) with the subject line “Losing Sight of Race abstract” by November 30, 2013.