March 18-19-- Family Matters: A Graduate Student Conference on Representations of the Family in Literature, Drama and Film

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St. Bonaventure University--Olean, New York
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Representations of the family in literature often come freighted with questions of cultural significance, economic arrangement, and political power. Whether critiqued as a normative cultural arrangement or hailed as the paramount political value, the family as the basic organizational unit of society reflects and often magnifies its literary milieu.

The graduate program at St. Bonaventure University invites papers that identify the shifting representation of the family in literature and film. Texts have been groping with the role of the family from the Homeric epic to the James Cameron blockbuster. We are seeking papers that explore this shifting representation of family. How is family used in The Wife of Bath's Tale? Is this representation different from the representation of family in David Copperfield? What role is played by the absence of family in works such as The Lord of the Flies? How is family treated in poetic works such as Shakespeare's Sonnets? These are some of the questions that will guide our conference.

Possible areas of inquiry may include the following areas of literary investigation:

-In what ways are families used as political leverage?

-How do the interactions of power within the family reflect the values of the surrounding culture?

-In what ways does the family support or challenge traditional gender roles?

-What aspects of the colonial family are assimilated into an imperial power, and how does the imperial power influenced families of the colonized?

-How can the traditional notion of the family interact with the politics of heteronormativity?

This conference invites a diverse range of readings of the textually represented family, from pre-modern family constructions to familial images in popular culture. We welcome papers from across the spectrum of literary periods, sub-fields and theoretical approaches.

Please submit a Word document with a 250-word abstract, a current CV, and a brief biography to:

Submission Deadline- February 18th, 2011
Registration Deadline- March 11thth, 2011
Conference Date- March 18th and 19th, 2011

Conference Website: