Centering the Margins: Northeastern University English Graduate Student Association Graduate Conference

deadline for submissions: 
January 10, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Northeastern University English Graduate Student Association

CFP for Northeastern University English Graduate Student Association Graduate Conference 2019

Theme: Centering the Margins
Sponsored by the Northeastern University English Graduate Student Association
Conference Date: April 6, 2019
Proposal Due Date: January 10, 2019
Location: Northeastern University, Boston, MA

Dr. James Chase Sanchez
Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric
Middlebury College


“Centering the Margins” refers to a scholarly focus on the voices, stories, and perspectives of historically, socially, and politically marginalized groups. As Gesa Kirsch argues, “Writing studies has expanded its scope and breadth to include the rhetorical activities of those whose voices have been neglected, silenced, or rarely heard, scholars are showing a renewed concern for representing participants with respect, care, and complexity.” Although Kirsch is talking about writing studies, this framework appears across fields and disciplines. This conference will provide a space for scholars in English, Rhetoric and Composition, and intersecting fields who center the margins to share their work.

A conference of this nature hopes to legitimize fields and scholarship that have previously been ignored or underappreciated by the academy, or areas of focus within ‘legitimized’ fields that are considered niche or of no consequence to the fields at large. As Alice Walker notes in her 1972 essay “In Search Our Mother’s Gardens,” “I believe that the truth of any subject only comes when all sides of the story are put together.” The Northeastern English Graduate Student Association invites you to continue reconstituting the canons and constructing inclusive and equitable visions of consciousness in all fields of study, and boost new ones, by centering a conference around previously overlooked work, especially when it is made by marginalized peoples.

This conference invites scholars who are and/or study cultural work produced by people of diverse races, genders, sexualities, abilities, religions, ethnicities, and other aspects of identity.

Topics–which have been collected by the graduate students in the Northeastern English Department–may include but are not limited to:

  • Methodologies that do work to center the margins (i.e., decolonial, cultural rhetorics, critical race studies, queer theory, affect theory, indigenous studies, disability studies, intersectional feminism, etc.)
  • Feminism and intersectionality as intervention
  • Critical pedagogy
  • Literary/aesthetic/metaphorical constructions of the margins
  • Queering/transing margins and centers
  • Attention to non-canonical authors
  • Affect-based approaches
  • Radical assessment practices and inquiry
  • Spaces of resistance in English & humanities departments (writing centers, unions, writing & lit classrooms, DH spaces, and more) 
  • Diaspora and exile
  • Ethical digital research
  • Afrofuturism
  • Subversive literacy practices and research
  • Reparative/recuperative archival work
  • Labor recognition (including emotional labor)
  • Algorithmic bias
  • Community-engaged pedagogy and service learning
  • Black Arts Movement and the formal and rhetorical techniques of the "Black aesthetic" 
  • Fan studies
  • Trans representation in contemporary culture
  • Indigenous writers/artists of the Pacific and Americas and their decolonizing efforts in the region 
  • Activism (both local & national)
  • Re-imagining a more inclusive field/university
  • Inter- and trans-disciplinarity as a subject of study

Submission Information: Individual presentations will be approximately 15 minutes each. Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words to by January 10, 2019. Include in the submission your name, pronouns, department, and university affiliation as well as any accommodations you might require.