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Brandeis University English Department Graduate Conference
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Privacy: Call for Papers

Plenary Speakers: Prof. Robert Chodat, Boston University, and Prof. Ulka Anjaria, Brandeis University

In the era of Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks, and corporate data-mining, our privacy seems like an endangered resource. Yet privacy has been an issue of contention for centuries, inviting debate at an intersection among literature, politics, and history. The privacy afforded to individuals, living in society with one another, is far from an unproblematic good, and its definition as well as its value relative to other goods, such as transparency or security, must be constantly negotiated. In the literary context, we want to consider both depictions of this negotiation within particular works, and the ways in which the reception of the works themselves negotiates a private space -- from the private experience of reading sonnets to the public movie houses of the twentieth century -. Our notions of privacy change over time, and one place in which these changes are interpreted is through literary and artistic production. The Brandeis University English Department invites scholars to join us on 12 April 2014 in an interdisciplinary exploration of privacy at our graduate conference.

Topics for papers may include:

-- How is privacy viewed and understood across different disciplines? How has the understanding of privacy changed over time? Is there are history of privacy? What can we think of as private in the internet/digital age?

--What is the role of culture in privacy? Is the West unique in its understanding of privacy (is privacy even understood similarly in the West)? How have intercultural/colonial interactions challenged and shaped competing ideas of the private versus the public?

-- How can cultural productions shape and delimit our sense of the private and our assessment of its value?

-- How do various art forms function in relation to privacy? What is the role of privacy in the production and consumption of these art forms?

-- How has the public role of the artist changed in response to reevaluations of the importance of privacy? Can anonymity be seen as a form of privacy? Is the pseudonymous author asserting a right to privacy even while situating her voice in the public sphere?

--What are the other rights and virtues that compete with privacy? How do these negotiations happen?

-- What is the status of privacy within the university? How are pedagogy and privacy related?

Please send a 300 word abstract and a brief biographical statement (no more than 75 words) for your 15 minute presentation to mschratz@brandeis.edu by midnight EST Tuesday 18 February 2014. Proposals must also include the title of the paper, presenter's name, institutional affiliation (including department), and email address. Since this is a graduate conference, preference will be given to graduate students; we do, however, welcome proposals from graduating undergraduates, independent scholars, and others who do not fit in these categories.

Web site: https://sites.google.com/site/brandeisprivacyconference/