Transgressing Boundaries, Enacting Difference, April 3, 2010

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Miami English Graduate and Adjunct Association
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Transgressing Boundaries, Enacting Difference, April 3, 2010

Gamal Abdel Nasser proclaims, "The age of isolation is gone. And gone are the days in which barbed wire served as demarcation lines, separating and isolating countries from one another. No country can escape looking beyond its boundaries to find the source of the currents which influence how it can live with others." Nasser positions boundary as material, psychological, and ideological constraint, and yet he demonstrates the instability of the boundary to enact division. The boundary is more of a possibility for fluid openness, but not without physical and psychic lived encounter.
Scholars and educators often encounter boundaries and borders—physical, psychological, intellectual, and disciplinary. How do we respond, re-act, counteract—with what methods and through what outreach efforts? Gloria Anzaldúa writes that "Borders are set up to define the places that are safe and unsafe, to distinguish us from them. A border is a dividing line, a narrow strip along a steep edge...Los atravesados live here… those who cross over, pass over, or go through the confines of the normal" (Borderlands/La Frontera, 25). In her hands, transgressing boundaries becomes a way to reconstruct and negotiate identity. In ''Teaching to Transgress'', bell hooks distinguishes between "education as the practice of freedom and education that merely strives to reinforce domination." hooks locates the classroom as a potential site for productive disruption, for spontaneous shifts, for re-invention - all of which classify serious intellectual/academic engagement.
As an action, a verb, to transgress might mean to reshape, challenge, question, and cross literal and imagined boundaries, to talk-back to histories, philosophies, scholarships, to locate counter-histories. Through its subversive and resistant inclination, transgession(s) can enact social and individual mobility, raise awareness to issues of access, and open possibilities for listening across difference. However, transgression without an emphasis on enacting or listening for difference can function as a means of withdrawal. In this interdisciplinary symposium, we invite you to contribute different definitions of transgressing, to pull from a number of diverse sites of study in order to examine not only theoretical acts of transgressing boundaries and enacting difference, but also your own localized transgressing and enacting that perhaps remain unrecognized, untheorized.
We invite you to join the discussion of Transgressing Boundaries, Enacting Difference at our seventh annual symposium, which will be held April 3, 2010, at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. We view this symposium as a site for cross-disciplinary discussions that explore opportunities for and implications of reshaping boundaries between individuals, disciplines, cultures, and nations, between the acceptable, the unacceptable, and the ignored. We welcome individual and panel proposals from all departments as well as from persons and or groups not affiliated with any academic institution. Along with proposals for traditional academic paper presentations, we encourage proposals for non-traditional presentations including performances, multimedia displays, discussion formats, interactive sessions, poster presentations, artwork, and video or photography installations.
What are the consequences of transgressing? What does researching to transgress entail? What boundaries still need transgressing? Is there a need for other terms/concepts? In a time of financial cuts, can transgressing work as a creative method for sustainability? How does transgressing work beyond the classroom and pedagogy? Across disciplines, methods, and locations? What does transgressing look like and entail in a 21st century, global[ized] academy/world?

Possible Threads of Discussion:
Academic Divisions - Schools and Departments
Gender, sexuality, and identity politics
Pedagogies and their Histories
Theories of embodiment
Healthcare and medicine
Rhetorics of rehabilitation
Religious reforms and inter-faith issues
Activism and political reforms
Philosophy and ethics
Gerontology as opening boundaries
Computational and statistical sciences
Population studies
Research methodology - qualitative and quantitative studies
Metropole and carnival, Center and periphery
Digital Rhetorics
Multimodal Composition
Globalization, transnationalism, nationhood
Comparative rhetoric and literature
Educational policy, curricular reform, and pedagogy
National Identity and Ethnicity
Ecocriticism and Environmental Studies

To submit Proposals, visit the symposium website:
E-mail completed forms to or mail a hard copy of your proposal by February 15, 2010.
If mailing, please send to the following address: Dominic Ashby, English Department, 356 Bachelor Hall, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio 45056
Official acceptance invitations will be sent to presenters electronically by March 1, 2010

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