The Resurrection of the Paranormal: Investigating Otherness in 21st Century English Studies [March 5-6, 2010]

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North Carolina State University Association of English Graduate Students
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North Carolina State University English Graduate Student Symposium

March 5-6, 2010

Deadline for Submissions: December 21, 2009

The Resurrection of the Paranormal: Investigating Otherness in 21st Century English Studies

With the recent explosion of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series and the maintained popularity of films like Labyrinth, Poltergeist, and Night of the Living Dead, notions of the paranormal are captivating the popular culture scene and subsequently influencing the scholarly community in ways which are beginning to challenge traditional notions of the paranormal. While investigations of the paranormal have a visible place in the literary canon, as Bram Stoker's Dracula and William Shakespeare's Hamlet make clear, the overwhelming success of popular series like Twilight has led some to question their potential for scholarly application. As such, examinations of the paranormal are now growing to include considerations of what we have termed the PARAnormal. Unlike paranormal texts, which address the supernatural and the fantastic, PARAnormal texts function in ways that could be considered supernatural or fantastic. These texts do not necessarily deal with paranormal topics, but instead challenge the roles traditionally attributed to texts by the scholarly community. In transcending genres and blurring conventional boundaries, PARAnormal texts cause us to reexamine scholarly notions and consider the application of less traditional genres in the classroom. Thus, while paranormal texts are interested in Otherness, PARAnormal texts are Others. In bringing together a broad range of approaches to the study of the paranormal and the PARAnormal, this symposium seeks to foster a dialogue about Otherness in 21st century English studies.

We invite submissions from all areas of English studies that explore the ways in which the paranormal or the PARAnormal are represented, framed, or interpreted in the 21st century. While presentations need not focus on texts produced in the 21st century, we encourage submissions which approach the subject from a variety of modern critical perspectives. We will accept submissions of scholarly papers and original creative work.

Presentations may address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

Magical realism as exemplified by Gabriel Garcia Marquez,
Salman Rushdie, and Isabelle Allende
Fabulous/Fantastic fiction as illustrated in the work of
Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, and Tananarive Due
Young adult fiction as characterized by J. K. Rowling,
Charlaine Harris, and C. S. Lewis
The construction of Otherness in paranormal texts
Societal and cultural values portrayed in the paranormal
Popular reception of paranormal texts
The paranormal/supernatural as cultural heritage
"The voice of reason/rationale" in paranormal texts
The paranormal or PARAnormal in popular media:
The paranormal or PARAnormal text as political statement
Place of PARAnormal texts in the classroom
Impact of PARAnormal texts on 21st century English studies
Reclaiming cultural identity (Otherness) through PARAnormal texts
Exploring gender identity (Otherness) through PARAnormal texts

Please submit a 300 word abstract by December 21st to Proposals must include the title of the paper, the name of the presenter, and institutional affiliations (including area of English study). Panels should submit three complete proposals in one document with a 100 word explanation of the panel theme. Individual presentations will be limited to 15 minutes. Panel presentations will be limited to 45 minutes.

This symposium is hosted by the NCSU Association of English Graduate Students.

It is sponsored by the NCSU English Department.