Movement and (Im)mobility: Writing as Cartography

deadline for submissions: 
March 1, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Brooklyn College Graduate English Conference

Movement and (Im)mobility: Writing as Cartography

Tenth Annual Brooklyn College Graduate English Conference

Saturday, May 6, 2017, BC Student Center

Keynote Speaker: Prof. Rachel Adams, Columbia University


The city. The home. The gothic castle. The open sea. Outerspace. The ideas of space and place—specific or broad, real or imagined—have long animated literature. As Michel de Certeau writes, “Every story is a travel story—a spatial practice.” The writer and the reader become cartographers, mapping and configuring aspects of the real or the imagined. Literature traces the voluntary or involuntary movement of people, ideas, and objects through space or time. The body in motion performs, surveils, and consumes spaces as it goes. Animals map the world in their own ways, claim territories, and dominate the wild. Ideas and commodities cross geographic and temporal boundaries. 

This conference seeks to interrogate who or what is allowed to navigate space, and for what purposes. We are confronted with an idea of the world as immensely mobile, but what or who remains immobile in moments when people, capital, and ideas move rapidly across fixed or imaginary borders? Who or what is responsible for regulating movement? What happens when subjects have power over their own mobility? How does physical (im)mobility relate to social, cultural, political, and economic mobility? Presenters are encouraged to act as cartographers, and use literary works to establish a framework for analyzing the impact of the (im)mobility of living things, commodities, and information.

We invite discussions from scholars specializing in any time period, genre, and theoretical approach. Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to: 

  • The Discourse of the Body: Performativity, Subjectivity, and Disability
  • Panopticism: The Spectacle, the Spectator, and the Effects of Surveillance
  • Beyond the Real: Simulation and Virtual Reality
  • Contested Borders: Nationalism in the Age of Transnationalism
  • The Politics of Belonging: Nomadic vs. Socio-spatial Identities

Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words to by March 1, 2017.