Consumption: Food, Culture, Desire

deadline for submissions: 
January 15, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Wilson College Humanities Conference
contact email: 

Wilson College Humanities Conference

Conference Theme: Consumption: Food, Culture, Desire

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Held in the Brooks Complex of Wilson College

Chambersburg, PA

sponsored by Wilson’s M.A. in Humanities Program


The theme of this year’s Wilson College Orr Forum is concerned with consumption. While from a scholarly perspective consumption is most often associated with economics, the true fundamental act of consumption is the intake or expenditure of some raw material—whether lucre, food, media, ideas, belief, time, love—to serve a need or desire inherent within the self. We are a highly consumptive culture—we overeat, we take in too much media, we concern ourselves with economic status. What we consume—what we take in—says quite a bit about ourselves as individuals and as a social whole. It must also speak to our (individual and social) capacity for release, for what we can provide or offer the world.

This conference looks to how the various fields represented by the Humanities explore our relationships to this concept of Consumption. We are seeking exploratory, critical, and creative responses to what increasingly feels like a concept that is becoming more and more individual and private and yet more and more public, as we share our varying consumptions through social media, through self-confession, and through the varying ways we present ourselves to the world. How can we use the Humanities to make sense of those fuels that provide so much of our national (and international) pastimes, pleasures, obsessions, and consternations? How has Consumption—conceptually, significantly—manifested in the past? How does it in the present? What does our study of text, of art, of ideas, of religion, and of each other tell us about living in such consumptive times?

Our goal is to leave the possible subjects of your papers wide open. Economics/Marxism, food and food culture, media consumption—these are just starting off points. Please feel free to interpret the theme of this conference liberally. We hope to bring together a group of Humanities students and scholars from around the region to articulate, understand, and explore those things that we consume, the reasons why we consume them, and to further our understanding of the concept of Consumption from as many perceptions, epochs, and points of view as possible.  

Faculty, graduate students, and independent scholars are all invited to submit.

Undergraduate students may also submit abstracts, but their submission must include a letter of support from a current faculty member at their institution. (For more on this, please contact the conference director.)

To submit a presentation, please send an abstract of approximately 200 words to the email address below.

Send abstracts to:

Dr. Michael G. Cornelius

Program Director, MA in Humanities

Wilson College

Submit the abstract as either a .rtf, .doc, or .docx file, or simply place it into the text of the email itself.

Please be sure that your abstract include your full name, your affiliated institution (if there is none, simply note that), your email, and the full title of your presentation.

 Individual presentations will last no more than 15 minutes; panels of up to 3 individuals may be submitted as well. Special panels or creative approaches are happily considered; please contact the conference director for more information. Each conference participant may submit only one abstract. Abstracts are due by JANUARY 15, 2019.

 The conference is sponsored by Wilson’s M.A. in Humanities program, in conjunction with the Orr Forum 2018-19 Common Hour and Lecture and Performance Series.