Transgressions: Performance, Practice & Code

deadline for submissions: 
January 15, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
New Directions in Critical Theory Graduate Conference 2017: The University of Arizona’s Department of English

Call for Papers


New Directions in Critical Theory Graduate Conference 2017:

Transgressions: Performance, Practice & Code


The University of Arizona’s Department of English


April 21-22, 2017


Tucson, Arizona


“[T]here are times when even the most potent governor must wink at transgression in order to preserve the laws inviolate for the future.”—Herman Melville, Mardi


The graduate students of the University of Arizona’s Department of English invite proposals for the annual New Directions in Critical Theory Graduate Conference. Held every spring, New Directions is an interdisciplinary conference organized for and by graduate students as a way of drawing together student scholars across diverse fields.


This year’s conference, entitled “Transgressions: Performance, Practice & Code,” will concern itself with interrogating the idea of “transgressions” in and around performances, practices, and codes—all broadly defined. These inquiries may take the form of critical theory, creative writing, or that which falls in-between. We are interested in pieces that investigate the consequences, both generative and regressive, of intellectual and creative thought that rejects what is permitted.  


We are privileged to announce our keynote speakers, who perform and interrogate transgressions across disciplinary boundaries: Dr. Nancy Koppelman of the Evergreen State College and Dr. David Hawkes of Arizona State University.


Dr. Koppelman, a professor of American Studies and Humanities, will give a talk entitled “Performing Mastery: The Significance of the American Velocipede, 1868-1869.” Nancy Koppelman creates and team-teaches interdisciplinary undergraduate programs that combine the humanities, the physical sciences, and the social sciences. She consults with U.S. colleges to bridge disciplinary boundaries and strengthen faculty colleagueship. For four years, she was Lead Faculty for the Teaching American History Project in western Washington state, and for two years she was a member of the Speakers Bureau for Humanities Washington. Dr. Koppelman also helped to found the Evergreen Student Civic Engagement Institute, now in its fourth year. Her scholarship focuses on historical intersections of everyday technologies, living energy, and ethical questions in American life, and on the challenges and aims of liberal education.


Dr. Hawkes, a professor of English, will give a talk entitled “Shakespeare, T. S. Eliot and Financial Derivatives.” Professor Hawkes is the author of six monographs, most recently Shakespeare and Economic Theory (2015).  His work has appeared in a wide range of scholarly and popular journals, including The Nation, the Times Literary Supplement, Studies in English Literature,and English Literary History. Dr. Hawkes is currently researching a book entitled A Pocketful of Currencies: T. S. Eliot in the Bank.


The New Directions academic conference aims to give graduate students the opportunity to develop papers that theorize about or demonstrate transgressive literary practices, performances, or the codes that are either obeyed or defied in doing so.


Possible topics for critical and creative presentations include but are not limited to:



(Anti)Social Media

Artistic Representations of the Self/Other

Bodies and Corporeality

Borderlands and Frontiers

Climate and the Environment

Community Engagement

Competence, Intercultural and/or Linguistic

Curriculum/Program Development and Design

(De)/(re)constructing Identities


Dystopia, Utopia, Apocalypse

Economics and Language

Epigenetics and Coding

Fairy and/or Morality Tales


Genre Theories




Intersectionality and Assemblage

Language Policy

Makers and Making

Mythologies, Ancient Texts, and Folklore


National and Transnational Identities




Positionality and Perspectives

Prophetic Speech in Narrative and/or Verse

Purity and Sin

Queer Space

Racial Formations

Rhetoric of Resistance



Truth in Nonfiction

Visual and Digital Culture and Media



Submission Guidelines


All proposals must be submitted by email to before 12 midnight MST on January 15, 2017. We will respond with decisions by the end of January. Please use the following format for the subject line of your email: “Proposal Last Name First Name” (e.g., Proposal Sims Rachel). Please attach a single document in .DOC(X) format with the following information in exactly the order listed below:


  1. Paper title; name; institutional affiliation; any degrees and granting institutions; email address; and phone number
  2. Abstract of the content and rationale for the paper, up to 300 words (presentation time for papers is 20 minutes maximum)

       3.   Two to three-sentence scholarly biography of presenter

       4.    Indicate any audio/visual needs or special accommodations