Waste: An Interdisciplinary Conference (March 30-31, 2012)

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The University at Albany English Graduate Student Organization
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The University at Albany English Graduate Student Organization presents its 10th annual graduate conference:


March 30-31, 2012

There are as many ways to conceptualize waste as there are ways in which waste permeates our world. It is ubiquitous; it figures into existence at every level. The history of waste is a history of equivocation, affirmation, disavowal, subsistence, persistence, inconvenience, differentiation, destruction, and decay. From the pragmatics of city sanitation to the logistics of disaster relief, from the remainders of mathematical equations to the emotive excesses of sentimental novels, the problem of "what remains" is central to the practice of academic inquiry.

For our 10th Annual Conference, we invite graduate students in any discipline to consider the challenges and productive yields of waste. Presentations are expected to be approximately 15 to 20 minutes. For research or critical presentations, please submit a 250-word abstract to egsoalbany@gmail.com by February 1.

We also invite graduate student artists to submit proposals. The conference will offer an opportunity for creative writers, visual artists, photographers, sound artists, digital artists, and any students actively engaged in other creative media to present and discuss how their work deals with waste. In what ways is waste encountered in the artistic process? How do you materially, thematically, or conceptually address waste? Presentations are expected to be approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Please email a small sample of your creative work (.mp3, .jpeg, .tif, .avi, .mp4, or .doc files) as well as a 250 word description of your proposed presentation to egsoalbany@gmail.com by February 1. Video projectors, computers, speakers, and other technologies can be arranged to supplement presentations.

Possible avenues for exploration may include:

-ruins and fragments, relics, monuments, artifacts
-ecology, environmentalism, conservation, recycling, reusing, eco-terrorism
-surplus value, wasted labor; toxic assets, ponzi schemes, hostile takeovers
-mathematical remainders, repeating series, infinite decimals, fractals
-the nonhuman and things; nature and matter
-bio-waste: feces, vomit, phlegm, bile, pus, dismemberment; evolution and vestigiality
-theological waste and apocalypses
-natural catastrophes, plagues, and "acts of God"
-historical and political devastation: industrialization, war, terrorism, genocide, post-colonialism
-bad tastes: camp, kitsch, porn, pop, sentimentality, pulps, and other aesthetics of "trash"
-editing and revision: new editions, unfinished works, and translations; cast-offs of canon formation and literary leftovers
-aural matter: noise, static, feedback
-figures of waste (grave-diggers, collectors, corpses, cadavers, and the undead); ruined women, prodigal sons, wayward youths and other literary archetypes
-collage, bricolage, detournement, found art, sampling, palimpsest, and other artistic recyclings
-differentiating waste: garbage, trash, refuse, debris, rubbish, jetsam and flotsam, leftovers
-waste sites: heaps, landfills, dumps, attics/basements, catacombs, battlefields, abandoned areas, fallout zones