CFP: Contours of Captivity (9/1/06; EGO, 11/2/06-11/3/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Horacio Sierra
contact email: 

The Sixth Annual English Graduate Organization (EGO) Interdisciplinary
*Contours of Captivity: Resignifying Expressions of Power*
November 2-3, 2006, at the University of Florida in Gainesville
Keynote Speaker: Marianne Hirsch, Columbia University

In early 2005, the image of an allegedly-captured American solider was
posted on a militant website. Dressed in desert camouflage fatigues, the
solider appeared to be at the mercy of captors but was quickly exposed
as the "Cody" action figure from Dragon Models USA Inc. Removing this
image from the weight of its national and political specificity, one
sees that toys exist which allow people to play realistically at war
while being safe from actual conflict. Even so, this computer-based
image also shows how forms of technology work together to produce new
arenas of fear and imaginative control. Apart from simply stretching our
credulity, this picture reminds us of historical images of war while
simultaneously gesturing toward our own entertainment practices.
Moreover, the way in which this picture was received reminds us how we
are captivated by media transmissions even as we perceive of and define
others as captives.

In this conference, then, we will explore captivity--one of war's
constituent parts--and confinement--one of culture's chief means of
control. Throughout this conference, we seek a range of
interdisciplinary approaches to the material and will consider the
broadest definitions of these terms. To do so, we invite presentations
addressing anything from present-day or historical wars, slavery,
imprisonment, and debilitating work practices to narratives of captivity
or confinement in literature, film, video games, and other media to the
control and dissemination of information via journalism, government
agencies, and blogs. During the conference, we hope to consider how
captivity and confinement work together to ensure societal control as
well as how they work as instruments of physical control while also
being promoted as forms of entertainment in either writing, film, or
games. In so doing, we hope to illustrate the ongoing relevance of
literary and cultural study to understanding mundane and extraordinary
forms of physical and ideological control.

Possible research areas include but are not limited to:

*Political, Religious, and Cultural Captive's Stories*
Agency, resistance, and freedom in captivity narratives or slave narratives
Calvinism and the economics of redemption
Postcolonial narratives in resistance to empire
Biographical and autobiographical accounts from incarcerated inmates

*Memory, Empathy, and Interpretations of Experience*
Internment, ethnicity, and national memory
Endurance of political captivities in the public imagination
Forgiveness, fear, or vengeance in response to captivity
Examinations of the Stockholm Syndrome

*Real and Fictional Horrors in Multiple Media*
Graphic representations, the spectacle, and limits of the gaze
The Truth of the news in newspapers, journals, and blogs
Fantasy and sci-fi stories of war, captivity, or alien abduction
Confining and captive elements of video games
Images of the captive, pain, and punishment in horror movies

*Binding Fictional Narratives*
Captivity, heroism, and issues of normativity in fairy tales
Confinement, discipline, and agency in the domestic novel
Bodice rippers, bondage, and the body
Imagination of confining or captive worlds in comics

*Economic Macro and Micro Crushes*
Globalization of the economy and the captivity of debtor nations
Economics in the recurrence of slavery, kidnapping, and piracy
Sweatshops, migrant labor, or the sex trade
Economics, paid labor, and the expansion of the prison system

*Social and Cultural Boundaries*
Definitional barriers of language
Pedagogical approaches to confinement and agency in the classroom
Passing/In and Out - public perceptions of race and sexual identity
Transgender definitions of confinement and the body

We invite individual paper and panel topic submissions from graduate
students and faculty members. Proposals should be 500 words or less, and
the deadline for submissions is September 1, 2006. To submit
electronically (preferred), please go to the conference submissions page
at and follow the
instructions. To submit in hardcopy format, please mail abstracts to

Ramona Caponegro
"Contours of Captivity" Submissions Coordinator
Department of English
The University of Florida
P.O. Box 117310
Gainesville, FL 32611-7310

For more information on the conference, please click the "Annual EGO
Conference" link on our organization website at

Conference coordinators:
Melissa L. Mellon ( and Leeann Hunter
(, EGO Co-Presidents

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Received on Tue Jul 18 2006 - 18:16:09 EDT