[UPDATE] Labyrinths: Navigating Complexity Across the Humanities

full name / name of organization: 
McGill University English Graduate Student Association
contact email: 

February 15th-17th in Montreal, QC

Keynote Address: Dr. Cary Wolfe, Rice University
Faculty Address: Dr. Peter Gibian, McGill University

From ancient Greek mythology to cubism, jazz music, and the contemporary puzzle film, labyrinths serve as images for exploring intellectual, affective, and material complexity. This conference will investigate labyrinths from diverse cultural, aesthetic, and theoretical perspectives. Whether literal or figurative, labyrinths are markers of intricacy that can evoke feelings of panic, bewilderment, and failure, or present opportunities for adventure and problem-solving. You might consider the procedural labyrinths that we encounter daily (mass media, bureaucracy, academia), as well as the spatial labyrinths that we inhabit (libraries, hotels, department stores, casinos). This conference asks: How has our understanding of labyrinths as artistic symbols and social realities changed over time? What kinds of human and nonhuman relationships do they mobilize in different contexts? How do we navigate complexity, dead ends, and repetition, in different fields of study?

We invite submissions for individual presentations, panels, and creative projects addressing the concept of labyrinths from any disciplinary perspective. Topics include, but are not limited to:

-labyrinths in literature, performance, film, television, music, visual arts
-urban/rural planning, urban/rural spaces, architecture
-diaspora, migration, globalization, crowds
-maps, navigation, critical cartography
-underworlds, vaults, catacombs, sewers
-detective plots, espionage, puzzle narratives, trickery
-systems, rhizomes, networks
-games, comics, transmedia stories
-digital labyrinths, big data, social media
-archives, manuscripts, engravings
-complex temporalities, dreamspaces, distorted realities
-lostness/confusion; enlightenment/achievement
-stasis, repetition, cycles, aporias

Please send your 150-word abstract, along with a brief bio, to labyrinths2013@gmail.com by December 1st. More conference details TBA. Website coming soon.