In the Interstices: Liminal Spaces, Liminal Selves

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Coastal Plains Graduate Liberal Arts Conference
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University of Houston, TX

Friday, Feb 28th and Saturday, Mar 1st, 2014

"The attributes of liminality or of liminal personae… are necessarily ambiguous, since this condition and these persons elude or slip through the network of classifications that normally locate states and positions in cultural space. Liminal entities are neither here nor there; they are betwixt and between the positions assigned and arrayed by law, custom, convention, and ceremon[y]…. Thus, liminality is frequently likened to death, to being in the womb, to invisibility, to darkness, to bisexuality, to the wilderness, and to an eclipse of the sun or moon." -Victor Turner

Liminality is a state of being on the threshold, of being "both" and "neither," of hovering between two different planes of existence, of straddling the line between inside and outside. Liminal people are tricksters, shape-shifters, border-crossers, part of society and yet held apart. Yet, as Gloria Anzuldua states, "…we cross into each other's worlds all the time. We live in each other's pockets, occupy each other's territories, live in close proximity and in intimacy with each other… We are mutually complicitous – us and them, white and colored, straight and queer, Christian and Jew, self and Other, oppressor and oppressed." Contemporary identity relies on such ambiguity and hybridity. Indeed, as Anzaldua concludes, "the future belongs to those who cultivate cultural sensitivities to differences and who use these abilities to forge a hybrid consciousness that transcends the 'us' vs. 'them' mentality." We are thus always already living in liminal spaces, constructing liminal selves, existing "betwixt" and "between," containing the "both" and the "neither."

The Coastal Plains Graduate Liberal Arts Conference welcomes papers, panels, presentations, and workshops on the theme of liminality, in the areas of language and literature, rhetoric/composition, pedagogy, history, cultural studies, area studies, film, art/art history, folklore, and other areas of humanities and liberal arts. We are seeking work that enters the discussion of current scholarship and offers an original angle, approach, or application.

Please send your 200-400 word proposal to by Dec 1, 2013. Include your name, university affiliation, type of presentation, and tech equipment needs. Full panel proposals are welcome. If submitting an individual proposal, please include a brief list of relevant keywords, key texts, and/or key theories you are employing, so that we may organize panels in a more effective and coherent manner.

Possible topics might include:
• moments of change or transition in literary or historical periods
• analysis of characters or texts that inhabit liminal spaces or perform liminal identities
• interdisciplinary or hybridized texts, theories, pedagogies, etc.
• the rhetorics, languages, and cultures of liminal/hybridized groups along lines of immigration, social class, race, and gender, etc.
• area studies focused on interstitial places or communities
• multi/bilingual spaces, pedagogies, etc.
• adaptation and/or translation
• liminality as an effect/symptom of globalization and transnationalism
• multimodal, transformative, or genre-crossing works
• culture vs. subculture boundaries
• cultural/social borderlands including but not limited to issues of race, gender, class, sexuality, religion, and politics

If you are accepted to present at the conference, you will be invited to submit completed papers of publishable academic depth based upon your presentation to the graduate literary journal, Plaza: Dialogues in Language and Literature, for consideration. []