Traversing the Transnational April 10-12, 2014

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University of Tulsa English Graduate Student Association
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Call for Papers
Traversing the Transnational
2014 University of Tulsa English Graduate Student Conference
April 10 – April 12, 2014

The prevalence of transatlantic and transnational perspectives throughout contemporary literary studies is a testament to the evolving continual erosion of national boundaries, identities, and cultures in our increasingly global society. As recent economic crises attest, limiting socio-economic cause and effect to specific national origins grows increasingly difficult as sovereign nations-states transcend (and transgress?) traditional geopolitical borders under the guise of "globalization" and "transnationalism." Considered both threatening and essential to the formation of American literary culture, the transnationalist perspective has received increased attention throughout the past decade. Situated within American Studies, the transnationalist scholar investigates the dynamic cultural energies running through and from the United States. Extending the transnationalist perspective to other literary cultures produces similar academic results; a transnationalist de-centers foundational criticism, challenging long perceived notions of literary truth, authority, and authenticity.

While Paul Gilroy's The Black Atlantic was published twenty years ago, contemporary literary studies remain in a struggle with nation-based understandings of subjectivity, identity, and literary histories. Nearly ten years ago Shelley Fisher Fishkin told the American Studies Association that the transnationalist perspective will place more emphasis "on the nation as a participant of global flow of people, ideas, texts and products." The importance of the nation is maintained even as national boundaries are exposed as a product of specific temporality and ideology, creating a reliance on the prowess of the nation to form subjects while simultaneously de-centering nationalism as an ideological apparatus responsible for literary and cultural production.

The University of Tulsa's 2014 English Graduate Student Conference continues the investigation promoted by Fishkin, Janice Radway, Paul Gilroy, Paul Giles, and several other notable scholars into the effect transnationalism has on literary and cultural studies. Of particular interest is the paradoxical relationship between nation-states and identity formation; how do authors, readers, and literary cultures react against the very national ideologies which not only permeate literature, but also statically remain as social formations which affect individual subjectivity? Even as scholars and critics decry national exceptionalism as empty rhetoric, the abstract notions of nationalism are required to provide the foundation for reactionary criticism. Does the "transnational-diaspora complex," as defined by Donald Pease, strengthen or weaken nationalist ideologies? These are a few of the questions the University of Tulsa's 2014 English Graduate Student Conference will address, among others. We welcome myriad literary and cultural interests, and we hope this topic contributes to the larger debate among the humanities over the importance of a transnationalist perspective in our increasingly globalized society. We invite paper abstracts and complete panel proposals on all aspects of transnational literature throughout all genres of study. Proposals may consider the following:

Revising Nationalist Discourse through Literature
Identifying and/or Dissembling Geopolitical Boundaries
Literary Construction of Transnationalist Identities
Nationalism as an Ideological Apparatus
Transnational Influences on the American Renaissance
National and Regional Identities of Authors and/or Texts
Mapping Transatlantic Modernism and other Literary Movements
The Influence of American Exceptionalism on the American Literary Canon
Governmental Influence on the Formation of Subjectivity
Global Influences on Regional and National Economies or Social Formations
Texts Transcendent of Geopolitical/National Boundaries
Underlying International Contexts/Influences in American Literature
Literature Concerned with Oceanic Influences/Geographies
Literature's Navigation through Nationalism
Transnational Authors
Diaspora in Literature and other Texts
Influence of Race Across National Boundaries

Please submit abstracts and proposals (no more than 350 words) to

Deadline for proposals and abstracts: January 15, 2014

Conference fees: $10 Current EGSA Member / $15 Non-EGSA Member

Please direct all questions/inquiries to Stewart Habig, 2014 EGSA Conference Director