Lenses: Ways of Seeing, Reading, and Knowing - The Acacia Group Annual Graduate Conference

deadline for submissions: 
January 18, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
The Acacia Group, California State University, Fullerton

Conference Dates: March 22—23, 2019

In a broad but profound sense, everyone is a reader. Similarly, it could be said that the work of scholarship is essentially the study, practice, and teaching of modes of reading—not just the reading of literal texts, but of people, objects, places, events, and cultures. But reading is far from a simple process. Every day reveals new evidence, from the personal to the global level, of failures to read attentively and accurately, ethically and effectively. These misreadings are made all the more dangerous in a time of unsettling technological changes and political upheaval. Therefore, it is critical that we constantly examine and re-evaluate our interpretive frameworks. Reflection may reveal the need to revise our readings and mend the lenses we use to perceive our world.

For this year’s conference, we are looking for academic presentations from both graduates and undergraduates that will explore what it means to be a reader, and to read well, in our present moment. We invite papers that will help us consider issues related to perception and interpretation. The following suggested topics and questions are just a sampling of potential avenues for fruitful inquiry:

  • Affective and ethical dimensions of seeing, reading, and interpretation
  • Characters who read (books, other characters, surroundings)
  • Conspiracy theories and the hermeneutic of suspicion: How do we read events around us?
  • Critical theories as ways of seeing; applying critical lenses to texts, cultures, and events
  • Digital reading: How is reading transformed or complicated by rapid technological changes?
  • Epistemology: How does our understanding of knowledge affect the way we interpret?
  • Identity: How does reading inform our perception of self?
  • Media studies: How do we read visual and plastic arts that are based on literal perception?
  • Pedagogy as teaching modes of perception
  • Writing as a way of seeing

Submitting Abstracts

For academic presentations, please send a 200 to 300 word abstract as a .doc or .pdf attachment to theacaciagroup.csuf@gmail.com by January 18th, 2019. In your email, please include your name, institution, and academic standing (undergraduate, graduate, doctoral student, or independent scholar). Please include a brief bio of up to 50 words. Each presentation will be given up to 12 minutes. If your abstract is accepted, you will be asked to confirm your commitment to attend the conference and, ten days before the conference, to email a draft or outline of your presentation to your assigned cohort members.

The Format of the Conference

The Acacia Group is the graduate student club of the English department at California State University, Fullerton. Acacia specializes in enriching the professional development of the department’s MA students. This year the club has adopted a twin emphasis on pedagogy, particularly to assist composition instructors in our TA program. Each spring the club hosts a conference for the department’s graduate and undergraduate students, and for emerging scholars nationwide, to showcase their research and gain conferencing experience in a welcoming environment. To make our conference an even more practical resource for graduate students and emerging scholars, we will be (1) organizing writing cohorts, (2) publishing a follow-up journal, and (3) hosting faculty roundtables.

  1. The conference panels will be doubling as writing cohorts. Ten days before the panel, participants will be expected to email drafts or outlines of their presentations to the other members of their assigned panel/cohort, and to familiarize themselves with each other’s presentations in advance of the conference. During the panel, this preparation will help facilitate the constructive feedback each participant receives from fellow panelists, the panel chair, and other attendees.
  2. One month after the conference, the Acacia Group will publish an online journal containing papers that are revised versions of the presentations. Participants are not required to revise and submit their work to the journal. We understand that participants may wish to submit their work elsewhere or spend more time revising. However, those who would like to make use of this publishing opportunity will be asked to implement the feedback received at the conference and produce a polished written version of the presentation. These revised versions will be due for submission to the journal two weeks after the conference.
  3. Finally, we are planning to hold faculty roundtables on topics relevant to the next generation of scholars.

The intent of all three of these modifications to the standard conference format is to give beginning scholars opportunities for collaboration, publishing, and professional development in general. We hope that the form, as well as the content of the conference, will be uniquely suited to the needs and aspirations of our participants.

Contact Acacia President Robert Brown at robertandrewbrown@csu.fullerton.edu with any questions or for additional information.