Boston University Romance Studies Graduate Conference: Literature on the Verge

deadline for submissions: 
February 15, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Boston University, Department of Romance Studies
contact email: 


We invite submissions to: 

Boston University Romance Studies Graduate Conference 2017: Literature on the Verge

April 7-8, 2017

Boston University Photonics Center, Boston, Mass.

Keynote address by Françoise Lionnet, Harvard University


In his essay, “Exactitude,” Italo Calvino posits that his writing “has always found itself facing two divergent paths that correspond to two different types of knowledge. One path goes into the mental space of bodiless rationality, where one may trace lines that converge, projections, abstract forms, vectors of force. The other path goes through a space crammed with objects and attempts to create a verbal equivalent of that space by filling the page with words, involving a most careful, painstaking effort to adapt what is written to what is not written, to the sum of what is sayable and not sayable.”

Today’s social and political climate encourages us to reconsider Calvino’s negotiation of  thought and text. What vectors drive global change, and how should they be articulated? How are emergent voices redefining categories from the spaces between them? Can literature embody these abstractions? This year’s conference seeks to explore the limits of literature, from its confines and boundaries to its transitional spaces. We welcome papers on topics related, but not limited, to:

  • Narrative silences and the unspoken in texts
  • Paraliterature, peripheries and liminal texts
  • Imminence: the suggested, the implied, the unaccomplished 
  • Transgressive/transformative characters
  • Hybrid form and genre
  • Language and/in translation
  • Travel and migration
  • Creolization and appropriation
  • Divergent and convergent paths
  • Multi-disciplinary approaches to Romance language cultures and (hi)stories

Individual paper abstracts (250 words) and panel proposals should be submitted as Word documents to by February 15th, 2017.