Trespassing(s) - March 7-8, 2014 - Submission Deadline Jan. 17

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UMD Graduate English Organization
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Call for Papers: 7th Annual Graduate English Organization Conference


Department of English
University of Maryland, College Park
March 7-8, 2014

In everyday life, the phrase "NO TRESPASSING" most often asserts the integrity of private property against intrusion. Such warnings mark legal, political, and cultural boundaries around
zones that have particular expectations of action and even consciousness. What is acceptable in one site may be labeled taboo or criminalized in another. Of course, the concept of trespassing is not limited to issues of property rights and law; the idea of transgression against norms appears in virtually all fields of inquiry. This conference will focus on ideas of "trespassing" as a category of physical, conceptual, or representational acts; we hope to explore both the motivations for and experiences of trespassing as well as the structures of thought and power that define it. To trespass is inherently a violating act, and some trespasses are perhaps only cast as
villainy. On the other hand, to trespass can also be to perform resistance against injustice. Even so, as Fredric Jameson notes in The Political Unconscious, "it is commonplace that
transgressions, presupposing the laws or norms or taboos against which they function, thereby end up precisely reconfirming such laws."

Questions that our participants might address are: How do acts come to be defined as transgressive? How do historical definitions of trespassing influence today's? How do we navigate or reorient entrenched definitions of trespass, or combat persistently undesirable violations? Who are those that can trespass; who can be trespassed against? How can acts of trespassing be turned against hegemony? "Is trespassing limited to the crossing or blurring of established legal or moral boundaries? Is the negative idea of trespass essential to the positive construction of social, political, legal, or geographical zones? How does trespassing become innovation, or vice versa? What is changing or has changed about the relationships between transgression and corporate or political entities? What happens to trespassing in our era of purported deterritorialization? How do nonhumans—animals, plants, natural objects, artificial objects, etc.—experience or engage in trespassing? How does trespass become impossible; when and where is the possibility or proclivity towards transgression absent?

We invite submissions that engage with any aspect of the conference theme, broadly construed.

Topics of potential essays can include, but are not limited to:

● Law and Literature, Art, and Culture

● Affect and Trespassing

● Property, Privacy, and Subjectivity

● Bodies and Borders: Immigration, Tourism, Exchange

● Reading/Writing against the Academic Grain

● "Breaking Bad": Becoming/Being a Transgressive Subject

● Villains and Villainy

● Transgression and Redemption

● Innovation in Science and Technology

● "Matter Out of Place"

● Experimental Literature and Art

● Banned Books

● Original Sin: Founding Culture and History in Transgression

● War, International Law, and Representation

● Civil/Uncivil Disobedience

● Frontier Fantasies: Trespassing without Consequence

The conference committee invites proposals for fifteen-minute papers from a broad range of disciplines and theoretical backgrounds. Panel submissions (3-4 participants) are highly
encouraged. Please limit individual abstracts to 300 words and panel abstracts to 500 words. And please include three keywords at the end of the abstract to assist panel formation. The conference committee will present an award for the best conference paper selected from a pool of papers submitted for consideration at least 3-4 weeks before the conference date.

Abstracts are due January 17, 2014 and should be e-mailed to

We are committed to ensuring access and inclusion during the event for all attendees and participants. Please contact the conference committee with any concerns, questions, or specific