DEADLINE EXTENDED: 29th Annual Mardi Gras Graduate Student Conference at LSU

deadline for submissions: 
December 30, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Louisiana State University - English Graduate Student Association
contact email: 

Call for Papers: 29th Annual Mardi Gras Graduate Student Conference at LSU

Graphic Carnival: Celebrating Carnage and Carnality Across Genres

Keynote Speaker: Stephen Graham Jones

February 27-March 1, 2019



Like all Carnival traditions from Venice to Rio, New Orleans Mardi Gras is a celebration in which revelers invert the implied precedence of the sacred over the profane, glorifying instead their basest carnal desires before Lenten abstinence. This festival’s preoccupation with the flesh, however, unsurprisingly shares much with the horror genre: for while the body is that through which the subject engages in the sensual encounter, it also constitutes the site at which the subject is exposed to mutilation, dismemberment, disease, and other violent excesses. Following Kristeva’s Powers of Horror, we might conceive of corporeality itself as the very foundation of terror, as it is through the body that the integrity of the subject is left vulnerable to the Other—especially if the other is wielding an axe. If Mardi Gras’ embracing of the flesh is a cathartic enactment of self-destruction in which the subject is gleefully exposed to all those filthy excesses which it is usually expected to suppress in self-sanitation—if it is fundamentally Dionysian—then perhaps the catharsis audiences have experienced in body horror from Frankenstein to The Fly is of the same ilk. In both one finds the horrifying yet liberating power of the abject: the body is a grotesque mirror in which the subject sees its own tenuousness. The sanctity of the individual is undermined by its enmeshment in material reality through a body soaked in wine or blood.


The 29th annual Mardi Gras Graduate Student Conference thus seeks to explore a wide variety of discourses on the abject, the monstrous, the grotesque, the carnivalesque, carnality, the materiality of the body, body horror, shape-shifting, the Other (especially including race and gender representations), the gothic, satirization of the sacred, sin and the profane, and graphic imagery. We encourage submissions from disciplines relating to the study of literature, film, new media, history, culture, performance, rhetoric, and pedagogy.


This year’s keynote speaker is Stephen Graham Jones, a Blackfeet author of experimental fiction in horror, sci-fi, and crime. He is the author of eighteen novels, seven novellas, five short story collections, and two comic books; his recent work includes Mongrels (William Morrow, 2016), Mapping the Interior (, 2017), and My Hero (Hex Publisher, 2017). His writing has been published in numerous magazines and journals such as Literal Latte, Southern Hum, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, and Weird Tales. Jones is an NEA recipient, and has won the Texas Institute of Letters Award for Fiction, the Independent Publishers Award for Multicultural Fiction, the Bram Stoker Award, four This is Horror Awards, and has been a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award many times. Jones currently teaches in the Department of English at University of Colorado – Boulder, where he has received the Boulder Faculty Assembly Award for Excellence in Research, Scholarly and Creative Work. Jones grew up in west Texas and received his Ph.D. in writing from Florida State University.

Abstracts are due by December 30, 2018. Individual proposals for 15 minute papers must include an abstract of approximately 300-500 words.  


Please submit to Nicholas Alexandre and Natalie Sheppard at