NINETEENTH-CENTURY BRITISH LITERATURE: Open Topic
This is an open topic. However, this year's conference theme is the following:
"Sources of Inspiration"
Water, as we scholars know, is the source of all life and frequently its destruction, the mythic, symbolic repository of all generative activity and its erasure. Hot Springs, Arkansas, flows with water, the world famous natural hot water springs for which it is named, as well as some 300 miles of shoreline around the city via Lakes Catherine and Hamilton. Nearby are 700 miles of unspoiled shoreline on Lake Ouachita. It is fitting, then, for scholars to come to Hot Springs, designated "City of the Arts," to consider the nature of inspiration and creation at a true wellspring. Creativity comes from the undoing of what is and the doing of what has not been done before. It washes away what is known and replaces it with what may only have been imagined. Just so in literary and language studies, we erase, undo, remake, re-imagine. In a time when our departments in institutions of higher learning are challenged to respond to enormous social and technological change, to re-configure ourselves to deal with distance learning and the delivery of online education, to deal with shifting canons, to establish consortiums for best use of resources, to demonstrate accountability and respect for civility, how do those of us who are the ultimate creative communicators respond? What inspirations have come to us?