Borders and Beyond: Considering Communities (Oct. 11-13, 2012) --- Abstracts Due Sept. 15th

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University of Florida English Graduate Organization
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2012 University of Florida English Graduate Organization Conference
Borders and Beyond: Considering Communities
October 11-13, 2012 at the University of Florida

Keynote Speaker: Kristina Busse (University of South Alabama)
Guest Speaker: Catherine Tosenberger (University of Winnipeg)

Call for Papers

Community is a concept that transcends boundaries between physical spaces, individuals, and academic disciplines. Communities can exist in geographical space, yet they can also be discursively constituted. As Benedict Anderson famously argues in Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism, "Communities are to be distinguished, not by their falsity or genuineness, but in the style in which they are imagined" (6). Extending beyond nationhood and mapped spaces, communities arise through socially and politically negotiated identities and through material practices of inscription and writing.

Frequently, scholars tie community to discussions of identificatory categories such as race, nationality, gender / sexuality, and religion. Much scholarship concerns itself with problematizing such categories and performing readings that subvert monolithic or hegemonic forms of identity. Does the formation of a community necessarily involve processes of exclusion and marginalization? Are there ways to imagine viable forms of inclusive community that resist such exclusionary practices? What insights do cultural texts provide into this project? What relationship do representations of communities have on the lived material conditions of humans and non-humans?

We welcome explorations into these and other questions that arise when considering the concept of community. We encourage submissions from graduate students working from a variety of focal points, including but not limited to literary studies, rhetoric and composition, cultural studies, women's and gender studies, postcolonial studies, critical theory, film studies, comics and visual rhetoric, and creative writing.

Possible topics might include, but are not limited to:

● Globalism / regionalism
● The effects of neoliberalism and / or consumer culture on community and group identity
● Protest culture (e.g. The Occupy movement)
● Fandom and participatory culture
● Social networks and digital communities
● Gaming and gaming culture
● Children's culture
● The university (and other communities of institutional spaces)
● Human relationships with non-human and other-than-human life forms
● Gender / sexuality (e.g. women's groups, gay pride, macho culture)
● Race / ethnicity
● Religion / spirituality
● Political communities
● Familial spaces

Please submit a 250-word abstract for a 20-minute presentation along with contact information to by September 15, 2012. Please indicate any a/v requirements (DVD player and data projection available). Authors of accepted papers will be notified the week of September 23rd. For questions concerning the conference, please contact us at For information on previous conferences, please check out our web site: