UAlbany EGSO Conference: The Badass

deadline for submissions: 
February 10, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
UAlbany English Graduate Student Organization
contact email: 

Update: Creative keynote address to be delivered by Rigoberto González, Rutgers University.

Update: Critical keynote address to be delivered by Chingyen Y. Mayer, Siena College.

An Icelandic MP breast-feeding in Parliament, CoverGirl featuring its first male model, Bree Newsome tearing down the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State House. Each of these has been described as badass.

Badass is a ubiquitous term, but one that remains nebulous and amorphous. It immediately evokes the image of someone possessing physical prowess and the ability to perform well in improbably adverse situations. Yet in more colloquial contexts badass might simply refer to a person respected for their above average skills and talents. It is frequently used as a positive term, applied to individuals across genders, races, sexual orientations, and levels of ableness, while, even more loosely, badass can describe events, behaviors, or contexts that are separate from any specific individual involved. Too, badass is perpetually followed by the specter of its patriarchal, heteronormative masculine associations, which may be reflected in any discomfort felt by the term’s use. By acknowledging the hegemonic modes that inform our cultural understanding of badass we can begin to investigate how its use can either uphold or subvert dominant social structures. Here we may ask: Who has the authority to apply the term badass?

How can the badass character type conform to genre conventions when the badass is so often depicted as non-conformist? What does it mean to be an academic badass in different fields? Are the qualities of the badass universal or conditional? Who benefits from its assignation?

For our 15th annual conference the University at Albany English Graduate Student Organization invites graduate students of all disciplines to submit critical and creative pieces that address the problematic figure of the badass. This year's conference will be held Friday, March 31st through Saturday April 1st, 2017.

We schedule approximately fifteen minutes for each presentation. For critical presentations, please submit a 250-word abstract to For creative presentations, please send an email with a small sample of your creative work (.mp3, .jpeg, .tif, .avi, .mp4, or .doc files), as well as a 250-word description of your presentation to Update: All submissions are due by 10 February, 2017.

Avenues of inquiry may include:

  • Definitions of badass, the badass, and badassness
  • Synonyms and antonyms of the badass
  • Vogue words, colloquial usage, and verbal appropriation
  • The badass and exceptionalism
  • The badass and research: new methods challenging the establishment
  • Originary and historical figures of the badass
  • Opposed social communities claiming the same badass as their own
  • The badass in and out of social/cultural/legal boundaries
  • The badass in and out of the center/periphery
  • The physical vs. the intellectual badass
  • The cultural capital of the badass
  • The badass and commodity culture
  • Technology and invention
  • The gendering/racializing/sexualizing of the badass
  • Conformity vs. non-conformity
  • The badass from fiction to reality
  • Authority and authenticity
  • Artillery and audacity
  • Conflict and resolution