MEMORY REMAINS. Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference, March 31 - April 1, 2012

full name / name of organization: 
Northeastern University English Graduate Student Association

Northeastern University English Graduate Student Association Call for Papers


March 31 - April 1, 2012

We invite submissions for our sixth annual conference, Memory Remains. Our conference seeks to explore the integral role that memory and its remains play in our daily lives—both in public and private constructions of self and reality, as well as individual and communal narratives. In many ways, Memory Remains examines the transitory and the seemingly permanent. Memory is both there and not there; it occupies the borders of ontology, reaching into our sensory and bodily awareness. In short, we rely on our capacity to remember to draw conclusions about both ourselves and others; and yet memory is, at its base, unreliable, biased, and transient. Our conference invites the interrogation of memory and its products, remains, from across a number of different intellectual fields. We encourage an examination of why memory might be important to the Humanities and Social Sciences, even as we ask for a critical engagement with its impermanent and complicated structure.

Memory's remains are left over after a moment or an event's conclusion: ruins in former Colonial spaces, ephemera in archives, remnants of student writing, practiced or rehearsed personal narratives. Ours is a bold pronouncement that argues for the haunting quality, but also the resilience of memory and its fundamental role in shaping human identity. We welcome submissions across an array of disciplines—literary studies, composition studies, narratology, anthropology, philosophy, rhetoric, cinema studies, psychology, sociology, geography, political science, history, the visual arts, or even biology and neuroscience—as well as methodologies.

You may submit panel proposals, for three participants, of 750 words or individual abstracts of 250 words to by no later than December 16, 2011. Please include your name(s) and university affiliation(s).

Call for Art: We are also seeking original artwork, in any medium, for a conference-sponsored art exhibit that explores this year's theme. Works of art will be displayed through the conference event. Art submissions should include an image of the work, the title, media and dimensions, and artist's contact information. Send submissions to by no later than December 16, 2011.
A partial list of questions that presenters might consider:

  • Is memory crucial to identity – national, personal, communal?
  • How do memory remains become part of myth?
  • How do the remains of trauma interact with memory?
  • How is memory, and its remains, characterized in novels and poetry?
  • Is visual memory important to narrative construction?
  • What is the legacy of memory remains in postcolonial spaces?
  • Why do we memorize?
  • Why do we archive?
  • How do we record and preserve our memories? What remains do we typically use?
  • Does collective memory exist and, if so, how does it influence a community?
  • What is the role of authenticity in memory?
  • What are earlier (perhaps classical) literary, historical, and rhetorical figurations of memory?
  • How has technology changed humanity's relationship to internal memory, through externalizing the storage of its remains?
  • What is the role of memory in the college writing classroom, and its pedagogy?
  • How does memory "haunt" people, spaces, and official/unofficial histories?
  • What are the haunting remains of memory?
  • How does memory, and its repression or suppression, guide the rhetoric of war and violence?
  • What are the political and legal stakes of memory remains?

We urge scholars to comb through their own memory recesses for intellectual questions related to the construction, deployment, and absence of memory and its remains.