Renovation: A Regional Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference, March 1-2, 2013

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University of Nevada, Reno

At the turn of the 20th century, Ezra Pound declared the need to "make it new." His call inspired numerous artists, creators, critics, and theorists to push the boundaries of their fields, to discover and invent original forms and technologies, to develop new modes of thinking about ourselves and our worlds—in short, to innovate. Nationally, this translated to the renovation of cities and borders and significant innovations in travel and technology. In the academy, scholars reconceptualized disciplines and established new canons, methodologies, and theoretical models. The drive to innovate to make things new is one of the 20th century's most noted legacies.

In this forward push, however, we sometimes discard or overlook useful texts and approaches, and we often fail to acknowledge that many so-called innovations are in fact renovations—rifts on earlier works, forms, theories, or concepts. Since the turn of the 21st century, our economic, political, social, cultural, and academic climate has drastically shifted. Should innovation continue to be the dominant discourse of our society and of the academy? Rather than innovation, we suggest that renovation—the cultural work of repairing, reworking, refashioning, revamping, recycling and/or reusing for a different purpose—might be a project that could better serve us in the 21st century.

With this understanding of renovation in mind, we invite graduate and final-year undergraduate students in the humanities, the social sciences, the arts, and related fields to present work that can offer perspectives on the question: How can the academy in the 21st century renovate ideas and methodologies to respond to the challenges presented by the contemporary need for perpetual innovation?

We encourage submission of proposals and/or panels that relate to any of the following themes:

  • Criticism and Theory: What are the theoretical and practical distinctions between innovation and renovation? What does it mean to have a "new wave" within a field?
  • Gender, Race, and Identity: How do terms of identity change? What violence is inherent in identity re-formations or re-conceptualizations?
  • Class and Economy: How have economic markets generated the need for new understandings of class? In what ways has class status determined cultural innovation?
  • Space, Place, and Locale: How does the landscape—rural, urban or otherwise—influence local or global visions of change? What are the ecological implications of renovation?
  • Media and Technology: How have technological innovations produced renovations in daily life? What problems are implicit in media depictions of change?
  • Politics of the Academy and Disciplinarity: What are the ramifications of renovation for an academic discipline? What innovative revisions are (not) occurring and why?
  • Pedagogy: In what ways have the philosophy and practice of teaching changed? What renovations have occurred in your experience and/or seem imminent in the near future?
  • Creative Response: We encourage artists of all genres and mediums to submit work that renovates a form, field, and/or the work of another artist.

For academic papers, please submit a 250-word abstract for a 15-minute presentation. For creative work, please submit a 150-word overview of the work and a brief excerpt or sample of the work. Submission of panels is welcomed. All submissions should be accompanied by a brief bio that includes your name, affiliation, contact details, and AV requirements. Submissions are due December 1, 2012. For more information and to submit your materials, please visit the conference webpage: