CFP: [Graduate] Boundaries Crossed: English in the Age of Interdisciplinary Studies (GRAD)

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Sara Beam
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Boundaries Crossed: English in the Age of Interdisciplinary Studies
An English Graduate Student Conference
The University of Tulsa
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74104
March 7-8, 2008

Call for papers and panels:
English graduate programs in American universities now regularly offer such
interdisciplinary tracks as Literature and Film, Literature and Law,
Literature and Philosophy, and Literature and Gender Studies, while a
cursory glance at the MLA joblist for 2007 will reveal a substantial number
of openings in departments that prefer or even require to some extent a
degree of interdisciplinary focus and expertise. At the same time,
however, the recent PMLA article by Marjorie Levinson, entitled “What is
New Formalism?” (PMLA, March 2007, Vol. 122, No. 2), highlights a recurrent
theme within our discipline, namely, the desire for a return to issues of
close textual analysis, the distinctiveness of the literary text’s
aesthetic form, or literariness. How, as literary scholars and teachers,
might we balance this desire for a “respect for form” while keeping an open
mind to the wealth of opportunities for engaging research offered by
theory, cultural studies, and interdisciplinarity? In a wider culture
dominated by film, television, and the Internet, moreover, is literature as
a narrow field of study even relevant for our students today? What exactly
are we teaching in our English classrooms, and how might our choices here
potentially dovetail with necessary questions of departmental politics and
institutional funding? What is the relationship between Literature and
Cultural Studies? How might this apparent crisis of identity and/or
legitimacy affect our research or teaching projects in the future?

The Third Annual Graduate Student Conference at the University of Tulsa is
concerned with the ways in which scholars and teachers may use other
disciplines such as film, history, politics, philosophy, psychology,
education, religion, science, art, or law to examine literature and the
ways literature may be used in an interdisciplinary context to clarify
other ideas, topics, and/or subjects. We invite proposals for a broad
array of papers on the topic of literature and interdisciplinary studies.
Papers could have:

--a literary focus that is enhanced by outside knowledge from another
--a thematic, historical, or regional focus that also includes a discussion
or consideration of literature
--a theoretical focus addressing the definitions of and effects of Cultural
Studies and/or the New Formalist movement
--a professional focus that addresses the ways interdisciplinarity actually
functions in a university

We are looking for submissions from graduate students and advanced
undergraduate students. Please send a 300-500 word abstract for a 20
minute presentation or a 300-500 word panel proposal to by January 5th, 2008. The conference will
take place at the University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Oklahoma, from the
afternoon of March 7th to the evening of March 8th.

This year’s opening address will be delivered by KATE ADAMS, Assistant
Professor of English at the University of Tulsa. Dr. Adams received her
B.A. from Vassar College and Ph.D. from the University of
Wisconsin-Madison. She specializes in Nineteenth-century American
literature, African-American literature, women's studies, and creative
writing (fiction). She has published essays in the Blackwell Companion to
American Fiction, 1780-1865, Arizona Quarterly, Hypatia, and NWSAJ, while
her latest project, Owning up: Privacy, Property, and Belonging in U.S.
Women’s Life Writing, 1840-1890, is forthcoming from Oxford in 2008. Dr.
Adams’s current research includes a book on spatiality and the production
of racial meanings, and she is a Fellow of the American Council of Learned

This year’s keynote address will be delivered by M. KEITH BOOKER, Professor
of English at the University of Arkansas. A graduate of Vanderbilt
University, Dr. Booker began his professional life as a scientist at Oak
Ridge National Laboratories before returning to graduate school at the
University of Florida to pursue a Ph.D. in literary studies. A Marxist
critic and prolific author, he has written numerous articles and books on
politics, social history, modern literature, literary theory, television,
film, and the graphic novel including Monsters, Mushroom Clouds, and the
Cold War (2001), Strange TV: Innovative Television Series from The Twilight
Zone to The X-Files (2002), Science Fiction Television (2004), Alternate
Americas: Science Fiction Film and American Culture (2006), Drawn to
Television: Prime-Time Animation from The Flintstones to Family Guy (2006),
>From Box Office to Ballot Box: The American Political Film (2007), May
Contain Graphic Material (2007), and Postmodern Hollywood (2007).

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Received on Tue Sep 25 2007 - 10:35:43 EDT