CFP: [Graduate] Liminal Literature: Borders and Genre

full name / name of organization: 
Eric Vivier
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"Liminal Literature: Borders and Genre"

University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison Conference in Language and Literature (MADLIT)
English Dept. Graduate Student Conference
February 26-28, 2009

The fifth annual University of Wisconsin-Madison Literature Conference
(MadLit) invites paper and panel proposals for this year's topic, "Liminal
Literature: Borders and Genre."

The goal of this conference is to interrogate and critique the role of
borders in literary and cultural studies. We invite papers that consider
the idea of the border from formal, social, temporal, and/or geographic
perspectives. Borders inform the way we think about genre, periodization,
gender, race, nationality, geographies, disciplines, and social forms, but
how do we account for things that cross, defy, or problematize borders â€"
the liminal, the hybrid, the transgressive? How do troubling texts break
down, reinforce, or reform borders?

Keynote Speaker: David Wittenberg

This year's keynote speaker will be David Wittenberg, Associate Professor
of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Iowa. He is the
author of Philosophy, Revision, Critique: Rereading Practices in Heidegger,
Nietzsche, and Emerson (Stanford University Press, 2001). His research and
teaching interests include 19th and 20th century literary theory and
philosophy, American literature, architectural design and theory, and
cultural studies. He is simultaneously working on two new book projects.
The first is about the history and theory of time travel narratives,
tentatively entitled Time Travel: The Philosophy of Popular Culture; it
analyzes works from modernist and postmodernist literature, popular fiction
and film, physics, historiography, and psychology. The second book
project, cautiously entitled Big Culture, is a critique of very large
objects and images in contemporary culture and space, as well as a theory
of the aesthetics of quantity; it explores such sizeable phenomena as
skyscrapers, Hollywood films, philosophical systems, disasters, pop stars,
military machines, and Las Vegas hotels.

We seek proposals for 15-20 min. presentations and three-person panels on
any aspect of the way borders affect genre, periodization, geographies,
disciplines, gender, and material culture:

➢ What texts (or even authors) have been marginalized, overlooked, or
(mis)interpreted because they exist at a thresholdâ€"generic, temporal,
geographic, etc.? What texts have benefited from this status?
➢ How are generic categories formedâ€"or deformed?
➢ What are the consequences of texts that exist between genres or on the
threshold of genres?
➢ What are the consequences or limits of categorization? Are categories â€"
generic, historical, material, economic, racial, etc. â€" productive?
➢ What kinds of borders (regional, gender, race, period, nationality,
economic, disciplinary, etc.) influence generic borders?
➢ Are genres transhistorical? Are genders transhistorical? Are spaces
➢ What does transhistorical research reveal? What does it suggest about the
limitations of periodization?
➢ What does it mean to be trans-gendered?
➢ How does one define places in relation to each other or in isolation? Can
places â€" or spaces â€" exist without borders? Is the presence of borders all
that is necessary to turn a space into a place?
➢ How do textsâ€"or objects within texts â€" cross borders, and what
implications do these crossing have?
➢ What are the consequences of analytical approaches that cross
disciplinary borders? What are the benefits of problematizing disciplinary
borders within the humanities?

Please submit a 250-word abstract to Eric Vivier at by
January 15th, 2008. We will announce accepted papers by January 31.

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Received on Thu Nov 20 2008 - 11:35:45 EST