Shifting Tides Anxious Borders

deadline for submissions: 
February 4, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Shifting Tides, Anxious Borders A Graduate Student Conference (10th Annual) in Transnational American Studies Department of English, Binghamton University

Shifting Tides, Anxious Borders

A Graduate Student Conference (10th Annual) in Transnational American Studies

Department of English, Binghamton University

Date: April 13, 2019 (Saturday); Venue: Downtown Center, Binghamton University



Keynote: Caroline Levine (Professor, Department of English, Cornell University)


Minor(ity) Texts: Formalizing Resistance


Literary and cultural studies pivot on diverse and constantly evolving textual forms. Canonical texts often emerge from the affluent academy, state-of-the-art studios and technologically advanced research centers. Non-canonical, and therefore minor, texts germinate outside the monopolizing publication and production networks. Self-produced through improvised equipment and published through social media sites, these minor texts may include diverse formalistic categories like written and oral literature, film/documentary, music, photography, and visual and performing arts. Identity-expressions of minorities also qualify to be minor texts when they represent minority cultures, ethnicities, tribes and subaltern groups battling slavery, racism, oppressive immigration policies, totalitarian state-systems and imperial formations. The minor(ity) aesthetic expressions tend to overwrite the nation and embody what Peter Hitchcock calls “a transnational chronotope” that critiques time/space and local/global coordinates in literature (The Long Space: Transnationalism and Postcolonial Form 2010). To mobilize form beyond the literary and aesthetic realms, Caroline Levine connects “social and literary forms” and commends “affordances of form” for “a generalizable understanding of political power” (Forms: Whole, Rhythm, Hierarchy, Network 2015). Aarthi Vadde describes minor texts as “devalued and unappreciated forms of creativity,” and argues that their formalistic “amputation and incompletion” redefine “the work of art” and imagine a deprovincialization of “modernist internationalism” (The Chimeras of Form: Modernist Internationalism Beyond Europe 2016).


Engaging the theoretical interventions on form and text, the theme of this year’s Shifting Tides, Anxious Borders (STAB) conference, “Minor(ity) Texts: Formalizing Resistance,”spotlights the shifting formalities of a text, and anxious textualities of a form. We seek scholarly, critical and creative papers from a range of historical and geographical backgrounds, reflecting what formalistic considerations characterize a minor text. What textual expressions do non-traditional art forms—vehicular, digital and sonic art, for example—produce? How do spatial texts—public spectacles, road-layouts, traffic-patterns, architectonic-structures—counter/reinforce the state power? Relatedly, how do archival texts—surveys, maps, aerial views, satellite images—instrumentalize governmentality and confront cultural imaginary? In a different setting, how do the climatic crises, global warming and non-human agencies trans-form the anthropocentric inscription of texts? How does apparent illegibility of various minor(ity) texts translate into legible resistance? How does a dialogue between the texts subjected to an implicit/explicit censorship, normativity and genre-rules, and the ones which escape the scrutiny of authoritarian institutions, formalize new resistant imaginaries?


Topics may include but are not limited to:


  • Slavery Literature and its Emancipatory Forms
  • Subaltern Texts and Forms of Representation
  • Migration/Immigration Narratives and Legal Formations
  • Cartographic Texts and Geopolitical Imaginaries
  • Digital Texts as Imagined Forms
  • Textual Forms and their Resistant Potential
  • Film, Video and Streaming: Production and Circulation of Art Forms
  • Climate and Anthropocene in the Minor(ity) Forms
  • Imagining the Forms of Resistance
  • Politics and Cultures of Form

Please email your proposals to by February 4th, 2019th. The paper proposals should be 250-words. The panel proposals should include the names and email addresses of three participants, with individual paper abstracts and a 150-words abstract uniting them. Questions? Email: