Rendering Rituals: On Memory and Memorializing—Feb. 7-9th

deadline for submissions: 
December 12, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
English Graduate Student Association at Louisiana State University
contact email: 

Mardi Gras as an event, a reiteration of experience across time, and a kind of ritual renders the new and the old as occurring simultaneously: our past always directly affects our present. This temporal boundary crossing reiterates and simultaneously invokes the past in every instance. In Gender Trouble, Judith Butler describes ritual as related to the repetition of gender performance across time, which denaturalizes the concept and instantiates gender as socially constructed. What if we apply Butler’s logic of the ritual to other concepts of human experience, such as race, religion, sexuality, and disability? Orienting ourselves within this Butlerian logic, we as scholars might think about how to interpret these ritual practices in memory. We as humans consistently memorialize the past, so during this conference, we want to ask: how does such memorialization affect contemporary life? While this concept of ritual does exist in the theoretical realm, how does this become materialized and embodied in the world, such as in festivals like Mardi Gras or in physical sites such as the archive? To this end, how does memory as something internal affect and influence our external and material world? We hope to investigate these questions and consider a wide range of scholarship and perspectives as we interrogate the tensions between, and influences of, the past and the present. Finally, we ask: how do the metaphoric and the literal interact as we memorialize histories across time?


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 across the United States but also from around 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 E Patrick Johnson, Terry Eagleton, Ian Bogost, Brian McHale, Cathy Davidson, Timothy Brennan, and Meredith McGill.


Keynote Speaker:

This year’s keynote speaker is American poet Cynthia Cruz, the author of Wunderkammer (Four Way Books, 2014), The Glimmering Room (Four Way Books, 2012), and Ruin (Alice James, 2006). She has published poems in numerous literary journals and magazines including the New Yorker, Kenyon Review, the Paris Review, and the Boston Review, and in anthologies including Isn't it Romantic: 100 Love Poems by Younger Poets (2004), and The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries (2004). She is the recipient of fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and a Hodder fellowship from Princeton University. Cruz teaches writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She has previously taught at the Juilliard School, Fordham University, the Rutgers-Newark MFA Program and Eugene Lang College. Born in Germany, Cruz grew up in northern California, where she earned her BA at Mills College, her MFA in Creative Writing at Sarah Lawrence College, and her MFA in Art Writing & Criticism at the School of Visual Arts. She and has published essays, interviews, book and art reviews in the LA Review of Books, Hyperallergic, Guernica, The American Poetry Review, and The Rumpus. She lives in Brooklyn. 


Special Roundtable on Recruitment in English:

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


Submission details:

The 28th annual Mardi Gras Graduate Student Conference welcomes submissions on a variety of topics relating to the interdisciplinary study of language, history, literature, culture, rhetoric, new media, performance, and pedagogy. Graduate students are encouraged to submit papers, and we welcome a variety of proposals from different fields of study in hopes of productively engaging with the tensions across different disciplinary sites. Additionally, we welcome proposals from undergraduates who are interested in pursuing an academic career.


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

· Ecocriticism

· Animal studies

· Mythology

· Game studies

· New media studies

· Occult studies

· Adaptation theory

· Seriality studies

· Digital humanities

· Geological studies

· Spatial studies

· Disability studies

· Linguistics


Abstracts are due by 12 December 2017. Individual proposals for 15 minute papers must include an abstract of approximately 200-500 words.


Please submit to Carly Rubin and Jeremy Cornelius at

For more information, see our forthcoming website: