Authority, Agency, and Activism: The Construction of and Resistance to Power through Language and Literature

deadline for submissions: 
March 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Red River Graduate Student Conference/North Dakota State University
contact email: 

15th Annual Red River Graduate Student Conference | April 6 and 7

North Dakota State University


Keynote Speaker:

Dr. Chris M. Anson

Distinguished University Professor

Director, Campus Writing and Speaking Program

North Carolina State University


In the current American political climate, the way language shapes our real world has become increasingly visible, and awareness of how, to steal Stephen Colbert’s phrase, “truthiness” can sway public opinion and shape policy in a “post-truth” world has been brought to the forefront of public attention. We are witnessing how rhetorics of fear, anger, and hate are capable of shaping (and twisting) our world in real time, and we are witnessing how fictions and imagined realities have real-world power and consequences, disastrous or otherwise. But, we are also witnessing how resistance is built to challenge such power, how movements and individuals can challenge these rhetorics, and offer resistance through their own rhetorics of resistance/subversive power. Power in our present day emerges as precarious, and malleable, and the public sphere emerges as a battleground where competing rhetorics and movements collide with, shape, damage, and change one another.


In light of these current themes, the Red River Graduate Student Conference is requesting proposals for papers and panels related to the theme of “Authority, Agency, and Activism: The Construction of and Resistance to Power through Language and Literature.” Presentations should be 15-20 minutes in length, and proposals can be sent to Amanda Watts at  


Proposals on topics relating to how power (in its many forms) has been constructed or resisted over time, or how power is constructed or resisted in our present day, will be considered. Areas of study include, but are not limited to:

  • Business and Technical Communication
  • Communication and Global Politics
  • Rhetoric and Sociolinguistics
  • Genre Studies
  • Literature
  • Pedagogy
  • Creative Writing
  • Native American Studies
  • Gender Studies
  • Any subject connected to the theme under the umbrella of the arts and humanities, broadly conceived


There is a registration fee of $30.00 for conference participation. Payment information will be communicated via email upon receipt of submission. Important conference updates will be periodically sent to presenters via email.



Abstracts of about 250 words should be submitted by March 1, at the latest. Early submissions are encouraged.



Please direct any questions to Becky Crisman, Rio Bergh, or Amanda Watts. (,,