REMINDER: 27th Annual Mardi Gras Conference

deadline for submissions: 
December 16, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Louisiana State University's English Graduate Student Organization
contact email: 

27th Annual Mardi Gras Conference


Where: Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA

When: February 22-24, 2017

Abstracts due: December 16, 2016



Gumbo & Zydeco: Interdisciplinary Magic

Gumbo and zydeco are two cultural artifacts inherently tied to Mardi Gras, one of our favorite and most celebrated times of the year here in Louisiana. Dr. Carl Brasseaux at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, who has written extensive histories of Cajun culture, dates gumbo back to the turn of 19th century Louisiana. The history of gumbo combines various transcultural elements including the name itself, which is derived from a West African word for okra, "ki ngombo." Various ingredients from indigenous cultures have been collectively added over time. Similarly, zydeco's history is one of mixture. It emerged out of Creole culture in the 1930's and was often played immediately after large Creole community gatherings where the instruments were household items such as spoons and washboards along with accordions and fiddles. The histories of gumbo and zydeco have transnational and transcultural roots that have been assembled into the southern food and music we in Louisiana know and love in the contemporary moment. These various historical and cultural pieces are separate and yet exist within the same dish: an appropriate metaphor for the social and political differences across Louisiana. While the state has seen a history of both social and environmental devastations, particularly this past summer in 2016 with police violence and the local flooding in the Baton Rouge area along with the lingering damage from the Deepwater Horizon and Hurricane Katrina. We hope to deeply explore these material realities along with the vibrant cultural histories of the state through interdisciplinary and intersectional lenses. 


The LSU English Graduate Student Association’s annual Mardi Gras Conference takes place every year on the week prior to Mardi Gras. Presenters have come not only from the United States but also from across the world, including Canada, Israel, England, Germany, and a host of other countries. Furthermore, the conference has attracted many top scholars as keynote speakers, such as Terry Eagleton, Ian Bogost, Brian McHale, Cathy Davidson, Timothy Brennan, and Meredith McGill.


Keynote Speaker:

E Patrick Johnson

Performance Studies and African American Studies, Northwestern University

Cosponsored by LSU Communication Studies, LSU Women's and Gender Studies, and the Women's and Gender Studies Graduate Organization

Time: 5 pm

We will kick-off the conference with our keynote address on Wednesday, February 22 at 5 pm followed by a reception.

 E. Patrick Johnson has published widely in the areas of race, class, gender, sexuality, and performance. He is the founder and director of the Black Arts Initiative at Northwestern. He is also a Project& artist, a nonprofit arts organization engaged in art for social change and impact. Johnson is a prolific performer and scholar, and an inspiring teacher, whose research and artistry has greatly impacted African American studies, performance studies, and sexuality studies. He is currently at work on the companion text to Sweet Tea, entitled, Honeypot: Southern Black Women Who Love Women and an edited collection of new writings in black queer studies tentatively titled, No Tea, No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Studies.


Special Round Table on Recruitment in English:

This year, we will also be holding a special round table session devoted to recruitment strategies in English departments. We welcome voices from various university contexts in hopes of collectively sharing ideas around recruitment within English departments. We highly encourage both faculty and graduate students to attend as this will an ample learning opportunity for both distinguished and emerging pedagogues and scholars.


Submission details:

We welcome a variety of proposals from different disciplines in hopes of productively engaging with the tensions across disciplinary sites. With this in mind, the 27th annual Mardi Gras Graduate Student Conference welcomes submissions on a variety of topics relating to the interdisciplinary and intersectional study of language, literature, rhetoric, film, new media, culture, performance, and pedagogy.

 Submissions may address related topics including but not limited to:

· Intersectionality

· Interdisciplinarity

· Performance studies

· Food studies

· Folklore

· Indigenous studies

· Critical race studies

· Queer theory

· Feminist theory

· Sexuality studies

· Cultural studies

· Film studies

· Environmental studies

· Southern studies

· American studies

· Musicology

· Ethnomusicology

· African American studies

· Postcolonial studies

· Ecocritism

· Animal studies

· Mythology

· Game studies

· New media studies

· Occult studies

· Adaptation theory

· Seriality studies·

· Digital humanities

· Geological studies

· Spacial studies

· Disability studies

· Linguistics


Abstracts are due by December 16, 2016. Individual proposals for 15 minute papers must include an abstract of approximately 200-500 words.


Please submit to Taylor Orgeron and Jeremy Cornelius at

For more information, see our website: