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Skip Navigation Search Text Select Search Scope Search This Site Just This Site Search SBU Website SBU Website Search Current Grad StudentsCurrent Ed Students Search Search Text Search Site Site College of Arts & Sciences English Department Home About About Us Leadership Contact Us Undergraduate Undergraduate Program Choosing English The Major Minors English Minor Film and Screen Studies (FSS) STEM in Literature and Culture (SLC) Theatre Arts (THR) Combined BA/MA Program Honors Program Accelerated College Education (ACE) Undergraduate Life Honors Society Resources Courses Current Undergraduate Courses Past Undergraduate Courses Graduate Graduate Programs MA Program Combined BA/MA Program PhD Program Graduate Life Graduate English Society (GES) GradCon Funding & Reimbursement Opportunities Prizes & Awards Spotlight & Achievements Courses Current Graduate Courses Past Graduate Courses Teacher Ed Program Description Faculty Application Information MAT Information People Faculty Staff Graduate Students Undergraduate Alumni Graduate Alumni Alumni Careers Support Us HomeGraduate ProgramsGraduate LifeGradCon Annual English Graduate Conference (GradCon) The graduate students in the Department of English at Stony Brook University have held an annual conference for thirty-three years, making it the longest-running graduate student conference in the country. The event includes an open call for papers for graduate students around the US to come to Stony Brook to present their current research. Normally held on our main campus, our conference is currently entirely virtual. It is organized into sets of concurrent panels with peer moderators and faculty respondents, enabling student presenters to interact with professors and students both in the English department and other Humanities departments and programs. We also offer a best paper prize. By engaging other departments within the Humanities and students from graduate programs across the East Coast, we also hope to expand this to an outreach opportunity. This year, our theme is "Pay(ing) Attention: Narratives of Notoriety and Fame." The conference will be held in person and feature a keynote presentation by Professor Will Scheibel of Syracuse University.  With  this year's theme, we aim to foster a more interdisciplinary environment, as well as an active exchange of ideas between departments. You can find the CFP below, as well as more detailed information about the program and registration on our website: https://sbuenglishgradcon.hcommons.org/.   Gradcon 2023 - Attention While attention is aspirational for some, it can be destructive for others. The practice of attending suggests the purposeful direction of the mind in an effort to attract, call, draw, arrest, or fix the object of attention. Narratives of seeking, evading, obtaining, rejecting, and desiring attention are pervasive in the study of literature, gender and sexuality, race, history, sociology, psychology, media, communications, philosophy, ecology, disability, class, art, and more. From Winston’s interactions with the surveillance state and subaltern resistance in George Orwell’s 1984 to the flourishing of a viral social media lexicon of terms and hashtags — Karens, OK Boomers, #FreeBritney, #Metoo — bids for visibility have resulted in fame, notoriety, infamy, or, when such bids fail, anonymity.  How can scholarship in the fields mentioned above help us contend with these multifaceted narratives of attention? This conference welcomes presentations that interrogate positive, negative, and ambivalent associations of what it means to give or elicit attention. What does it mean to pay or be paid attention? What happens when we pay attention to something new? What happens when we stop paying attention? What effects result from one being aware or unaware of the attention one receives? How do/can/should we think about the relationship between the observer and the observed? What characteristics, actions, and ideas have garnered attention in various contexts? How do we define fame? How have online personas and personal “brands” changed the way we seek and receive attention? How do we define privacy? Is privacy a privilege, a right, or something else? How can one preserve privacy in the information age?   How do channels of communication influence attention getting and attention spans? Who wants attention? Who does not want attention? Who gets it, and who does not?  We invite abstracts for papers that explore the tensions and contradictions within narratives of attention, fame, notoriety, and privacy. Presentations are welcome from but not limited to the fields of literature, critical studies, art, history, film, theatre, music, philosophy, and the humanities broadly.  Keynote: Will Scheibel, Syracuse University Date: February 17, 2023 Location: Stony Brook University (Main Campus) Gradcon 2022 - Memory Memory is often hazy, complex and difficult to define or describe. Yet memory is ever shaping our pasts, presents and futures on individual and collective levels. From Barbra Streisand’s performance of the hit song from the musical Cats to the device you are reading this CFP on, memory is embedded in everything that we do and encounter.  Narratives of mythic or even imagined pasts may serve as the basis for exclusionary rhetoric and policies, creating new, often violent memories, particularly in times of heightened political and social tensions related to race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and disability, to name a few. However, attending to memories—be they collective or personal, partial, recovered, or obscured—has become an essential part of rerouting/rerooting prevailing mythologies and inspiring change. Memory allows for grappling with the past, and offers paths to alternative futures that imagine a more inclusive and sanguine time to come.  How can literature, philosophy, film, television, media, and the arts help us to confront the different  concerns and dimensions of memory? This virtual conference welcomes presentations that interrogate contours, definitions, and experiences of memory. How does memory shape the world and our relationships with it? What are memory’s mediums and conditions, its costs and its risks? What are the ethics of memory? How do memories and time interact, and how do we differentiate between past, present, and future? What influence do former dreams or ideas of the future have on culture? What are the ways that individuals and communities embody memory (or forgetting)? How are collective memories shaped and understood?  What histories can be crafted from memory and how might memories resist history? To what extent has technology shifted or altered the way we interact with memory? We invite abstracts for papers that explore memory, forgetting, and futurity in all of their formulations and proposed reformulations: cultural, social, individual, cognitive, technological, political, and beyond. Presentations are welcome from but not limited to the fields of literature, critical studies, art, history, film, music, philosophy, and the humanities broadly. Keynote: Edgar Garcia, University of Chicago Date: February 24-25, 2022 Location: Online   Gradcon 2021 - Altered States As individuals and collective bodies, we are in the process of confronting “new normals”: a transformed world, a shifting sense of reality, an altered state. The experience of transition and change invites us to rethink, to better understand, how we conceptualize the states in which we live and the alterations that they undergo. While recent events have highlighted alterations to political and physical bodies, examining histories and representations of change and movement can help us to recontextualize and more fully comprehend transformations of minds, bodies, social and political norms, environments, and texts. At this conference, we welcome presentations that consider how alterations open up possibilities and present challenges. How do transformations expose what we might previously have taken for granted? How do they bring to light new avenues for further change? Is it possible to move between states without altering them or being altered in the process? What contingencies, challenges, and possibilities does this kind of movement allow? Do we live in a continual state of flux or do forms of permanence exist? How are change and alteration represented in and through literary texts?  We invite abstracts for papers that explore states and changes in a variety of forms: alterations that are physical, psychic, spiritual, political, environmental, and social; and “states” that are natural, national, narrative, embodied, and linguistic. Keynote: Rebecca Krinke, University of Minnesota Date: February 25-26, 2021 Location: Online   Gradcon 2020 - Re-Imagining Space "The space in which we live, which draws us out of ourselves, in which the erosion of our lives, our time and our history occurs, the space that claws and gnaws at us, is also, in itself, a heterogeneous space." - Michel Foucault, “Of Other Spaces” Since the spatial turn of the early 1990s, literary criticism has increasingly recognized the important role that space plays in shaping the way we experience the world. Humans have historically assumed the power to dictate what space means, and, far from benign, this imposition has led to the systematic justification of imperialist, fascist, sexist, extractionist, racist, and other hegemonic enterprises. By discursively constructing space as passive, empty, and “up for grabs,” people have routinely justified the conquest of space and claimed the right to determine who can access which places and in what manner. The need to understand, explore, and re-imagine space is as pressing as ever. For example, rising nationalist movements demonstrate the ways in which marginalized bodies are policed within political spheres. The global climate crisis draws attention to humanity’s scale of influence on the environment. Digital frontiers, both created and colonized, bear utopian and dystopian potential for imagining virtual spaces. Canonical and pedagogical spaces in the academy are being reconfigured as scholars have been challenged to rethink their boundaries. How can texts, literary and otherwise, help us to question ideological boundaries and re-imagine space to explore various states of social flux? How does literature have the potential to open up space in a way that legitimizes fluid states of identity? How can we reconceptualize space to allow for a multiplicity of perspectives? We invite abstracts for papers that explore space - both how we configure it and how it configures us - in all of its formulations and proposed reformulations. Keynote: Matthew Hart, Columbia University Date: Februrary 28, 2020 Location: Stony Brook University (Main Campus) Gradcon 2019 - Disrupting the Canon: High Culture, Low Brow, and the Space In Between What is the difference between exemplary art and pop culture trash? How are these distinctions determined? And who is allowed to determine them? Categories of high and low brow pervade every form of media we consume: the Booker Prize winner vs the most recent Nora Roberts romance, the arthouse film vs the popcorn superhero flick, the graphic novel vs the comic book, the HBO prestige drama vs to the network sitcom, The Witcher Series vs Madden NFL. The perceived difference between these categories determines their cultural capital, influencing not only what we read, watch, and play, but also how we judge the media consumption habits of others. We confess to “guilty pleasures,” a term that admits to enjoying a novel, television show, or genre, while still indicating that we discern its inferior quality. Moreover, the categories of high and low affect not only what we consume, but how we consume it, what is worthy of our time and attention, what we study, and what we teach.   But these categories are socially constructed and can evolve over time. Yesterday’s bawdy performance at the Globe is today’s critically-acclaimed Elizabethan drama. So why and how does such cultural evolution occur? This conference seeks to interrogate the distinction of high, middle, and low brow texts as well as their political, social, historical, and educational implications. How are categories of cultural prestige used to maintain social, racial, gendered, class, and linguistic power structures? How does canon formation reproduce and reinforce cultural hierarchies and hegemonic values? Whose voices are amplified by the labels of “art” and “literature,” and whose are excluded and thereby silenced?  We invite abstracts that provide critical analysis of texts considered to be beneath the academy, as well as those that explore or even disrupt how we conceptualize art, culture, and canonicity.  Keynote: Jonathan W. Gray, John Jay College of Criminal Justice Date: March 1st, 2019 Location: Stony Brook University (Main Campus)   Gradcon 2018 - Literature as Activism Literature is a social act. Our encounters with literature, history, philosophy, and even science are informed by the world in which these encounters take place. No matter what text we choose, we are constantly and actively reading with a critical eye toward the present, trying to make sense of that present by excavating the cultural archives of the past. Such readings are precipitated in part by the fact that works of literature, history, philosophy and the like are steeped in and respond to their own sociopolitical context. And as the authors of the past found themselves working through the issues, concerns and anxieties that dominated their particular historical moment, we as readers in the present make use of their texts for the same purpose of sense-making. Our choice of text is also a social act, as evidenced by the resurgence in readership of texts such as 1984, The Handmaid’s Tale, and The Man in the High Castle. Something about the present moment has led readers across the world to seek in these and other texts a way to understand, and therefore to live and act in, the world around them. But this fascination with the social implications of literature is by no means unique to our time or place. Indeed, a text’s popularity at any given moment around the world stems from the text’s ability to speak and respond to the pressing issues of the time in which it was produced. Works of literature have the potential to not only influence the public consciousness but also bring about meaningful social reform. And as these texts become part of our cultural memory, everything that we read shapes the way in which we view, and thus act on, the world around us. As academics, we cannot and should not solely read and write for our own community, but rather consider ways in which our own work can shape or effect change in the broader social and cultural landscape. Many of us have made the decision to bring the outside world both into the classroom and into our scholarship in the hope that our work will transcend the academe. One possible starting point to effecting change is the sharing of ideas, practices, methodologies, and experiences. We invite proposals that interrogate our present moment or other unique sociohistorical conjunctures through readings of texts including but not limited to works of fiction, history and philosophy within a variety of media, namely literature, television and film. We also welcome pedagogical approaches to reading and writing as social acts. We are looking for critical interpretations not just of contemporary texts but also of novel approaches to classical/canonical works of varying genres that seek to help us better understand the current conjuncture and those that came before it. By using literature to make sense of past and present, we might then be able to make changes and influence what comes next. Keynote: Lisa Duggan, NYU Date: February 23, 2018Location: Stony Brook University (Main Campus) Gradcon 2017 - Approaching Variation: Between Readers and Reception We read, like we walk, habitually. Both activities are organized through daily practice, embedded in texts and their environments, and so seem to be backgrounded as we focus on the objects aimed at rather than their trajectories. Reflection through literary criticism also often sees through reading and its environments to its results. Many writers, such as Rebecca Solnit and Tim Ingold, have proposed that the stereotypical idea that reading is a passive activity should be upended through recourse to a renewed study of the active reception of literary images. Ingold wonders: “Perhaps it is the very notion of the image that has to be rethought, away from the idea that images represent, on another plane, the forms of things in the world to the idea that they are place holders for these things, which travellers watch out for, and from which they take their direction. Could it be that images do not stand for things but rather help you find them?” With this focus in mind, we invite proposals for papers and panels that query the act of reading, broadly. This includes historical and speculative studies of individual texts’ reception, in addition to theoretical, interdisciplinary, and cultural research. Why does reading still matter today? What does reading mean in the contemporary context of multiplying media? How do we define reading between narrative and poetry? Keynote: James Phelan, Ohio State University Date: February 24, 2018Location: Stony Brook University (Main Campus) Gradcon 2016 - Speaking Text(s): Communication in the Humanities This call-for-papers is an attempt at communicating an idea, which is just one of many ways we seek to explore the role of communication in both the object(s) of our studies and the studies themselves. The history of literature is filled with communication (and its gaps): stories wherein information cannot be transmitted until someone physically travels across the world to do so, oral narratives communicating cultural information, letters (if not lost) allowing for the interaction of distant characters, mediating characters driving plots by controlling the system and content of communication, computer networks allowing not only for direct communication between people but also open-ended communication of vast amounts of assorted data, and so on. In other senses, our affective states communicate internal thoughts and sensations, people's relationships to the natural world communicate environmental attitudes, and the reception of texts and events communicates values and cultural biases of the imagination. We look forward to reading abstracts attempting to communicate new, critical ideas spanning all periods of texts (literary or cultural) and all forms of communication. Because our theme speaks to different discourses across various fields, we also welcome interdisciplinary projects.  Keynote: Glen A. Mazis, Penn State Harrisburg Date: March 5, 2016Location: Stony Brook Manhattan Gradcon 2015 - The Nature of the Humanities The theme this year, the intersection of nature and the humanities, primarily addresses our contemporary global dilemma, though we also welcome topics tackling the issue or concept of "nature" more broadly. Critical analysis of nature commemorates natural landscapes, habitats, and settings currently imperiled; warns of future climate change; critiques our dependence on non-renewable resources; and contemplates how consumer capitalism taxes our planet. Nature-focused humanities projects need not be confined to works concerned with or set in the countryside; urban concerns (overpopulation, poor living conditions, pollution, etc.) often seemingly far removed from rural texts and topics tend to stem from, or dovetail with, broader environmental issues. We look forward to reading abstracts that consider questions such as how we inhabit physical spaces, how literature and the arts impact or reflect that relationship, or how the humanities may point towards solutions to pressing environmental concerns. Keynote: Ken Hiltner, UC Santa Barbara Date: February 7, 2018Location: Stony Brook Manhattan Gradcon 2014 - Bonds This year's theme, "bonds," speaks to a number of important issues in our lives as both students and citizens. Bonds refer to issues of togetherness (representations of marriage, nationalism, and community), economics (financial bonds as well as larger concerns of economic critique in literature and other media), and our sense of responsibility and community in our profession as aspiring educators. We strongly encourage graduate students of all levels  PhD, MA, and MAT  to submit proposals. Keynote: Eleanor Courtemanche, University of Illinois Date: March 1, 2014Location:  Stony Brook Manhattan   Graduate Programs Graduate Programs MA Program Combined BA & MA Program PhD Program See pagescourses Current Graduate Courses Past Graduate Courses See pagesgraduate life Graduate Life Graduate English Society (GES) GradCon Funding & Reimbursement Opportunities Prizes & Awards Spotlight & Achievements Graduate Programs Graduate Programs MA Program Combined BA & MA Program PhD Program See pagescourses Current Graduate Courses Past Graduate Courses See pagesgraduate life Graduate Life Graduate English Society (GES) GradCon Funding & Reimbursement Opportunities Prizes & Awards Spotlight & Achievements Twitteryoutubeprint Department of EnglishStony Brook UniversityHumanities BuildingStony Brook, NY 11794-5350 Discrimination Sexual Misconduct Accessibility Barrier ©Admin Login2023Stony Brook University

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