Savagism and Civilization- Friday October 14, 2011

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University of Oklahoma: Student Association of Graduate English Studies and Native American Studies
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"Savagism" and Civilization

"In plain truth, these men are very savage in comparison of us; of necessity, they must either be absolutely so or else we are savages; for there is a vast difference between their manners and ours." - Michel Montaigne, "Of Cannibals"

Montaigne's quote is an astute remark on the binary of savagism and civilization, revealing that it stems from a need to articulate difference in order to preserve one's conception of the "civilized" self. Historically, the classifications of savagism and civilization have provided a foundation to justify, reinforce and perpetuate imperialistic enterprises, begging the question as to who is really "savage" and who is "civilized." More broadly, the theme of this conference speaks to the privileged status held by such dualistic (and more often than not, antagonistic) methodologies in Western academic institutions.

The possible approaches to this topic continue to afford many exciting opportunities for scholarly work, both in pop cultural representations and otherwise. We welcome broad interpretations of our conference theme, with the understanding that innovation often resists categorization. Possible paper topics and panels include, but are not limited to, the following:

American Literature
Colonial/Postcolonial Theory
Creative Works
Cultural Encounters
Gender/Queer Theory
Ideas of Nationhood
Indigenous Studies
Local/Regional Political Initiatives
Music Studies
Pop Culture
Travel Literature
Visual Art

Keynote speakers for this conference include Dr. Amanda Cobb-Greetham and Dr. Joshua Nelson. Dr. Cobb-Greetham is an associate professor at Oklahoma State University, and currently serves as the Director of the Chickasaw Nation's Division of History and Culture and is the editor of American Indian Quarterly. Dr. Nelson is an assistant professor of English at the University of Oklahoma.

Please send an abstract not exceeding 250 words to no later than Friday July 22, 2011.