Literature and Social Justice: Borders and Violence

deadline for submissions: 
October 15, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Lehigh University English Graduate Students
contact email: 

The Lehigh English Department's third annual Literature and Social Justice Graduate Conference will take place at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, on March 10-11, 2017. This year’s conference theme is Borders and Violence. We invite diverse literary and pedagogical approaches to this theme, including papers that respond to the following questions: How do borders, whether physical, linguistic, economic, etc., signal or enact forms of violence? Conversely, how do borders function as sites of resistance? What forms can resistance to borders and/or violence take?  How does violence at sites of cultural difference affect communities and individuals? This violence might be physical, emotional, metaphorical, linguistic, cultural, judicial, etc. In addition, we welcome papers that address other diverse topics related to the intersection of literature and social justice. While preference will be given to proposals that address the conference theme, outstanding work on other topics related to literature and social justice will also be considered. This call is open to graduate students and independent scholars working in all time periods, genres, and theoretical approaches. Potential topics include but are not limited to:

  • Prison literature

  • Spoken word

  • Literature of diaspora, including immigration and refugees

  • Pedagogy

  • Otherness, difference, solidarity, and identity

  • Intersectionality

  • Vernacular literatures

  • Creating publics

  • Teaching social justice through literature

  • Academia as advocacy

  • Wars and antiwar movements (including the wars on poverty, drugs, and terror)

  • Sites of difference, such as class, race, gender, sexuality, religion, and disability

  • Democracy and literature

  • Globalization

  • Literature related to movements for social change

Graduate students should submit abstracts of no more than 300 words to Dana McClain and Dashielle Horn  at by October 15, 2016. Check back at the conference website for updates: