From the Margins to the Center: Reevaluating “Tradition” in English Studies

deadline for submissions: 
November 20, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
University of Texas San Antonio Graduate English Organization

From the Margins to the Center: Reevaluating “Tradition” in English Studies

Graduate Student Symposium ft. keynote by Ariana Brown

February 22, 2020

University of Texas at San Antonio


“Enslaved Black folk couldn’t lift shackled feet,

so instead they shuffled

& invented the cumbia—

& you can’t tell me there aren’t many ways to survive,

to remember the dead,

to make a freedom where there isn’t one.”

Excerpt from Ariana Brown, “Cumbia,” published in the Acentos Review, 2019

This graduate symposium seeks to highlight the many ways in which the discipline of English has and might still transform in order to be increasingly inclusive and free through a developing awareness of its histories--both liberating and problematic--and the role of its texts, teaching, and scholarship in promoting this awareness. How do we as graduate students and developing scholars reshape the discipline that we enter?  In response to this question, UTSA’s Graduate English Organization invites proposals from graduate students in all areas of literary studies, linguistics, film, composition and rhetoric, pedagogy, and creative, professional, and technical writing. As the title of this conference suggests, we are especially interested in papers that interrogate boundaries within and around the English discipline and illuminate how both the study of under-represented texts and new approaches to traditional texts can redefine what we mean when we speak of disciplinarity. In short, we are looking for papers that contribute to our collective understanding of what it means to “study English.”

 Possible topics for consideration:

  • New approaches to or changing evaluations of “traditional” or “canonical” texts 

  • Reclamation, rediscovery, or reevaluation of understudied or underrepresented texts, and/or rhetorical praxis 

  • Genre studies and the shifting boundaries of form

  • Linguistic studies and the shifting boundaries of communication, through syntax, dialect, codeswitching, and/or other forms of expression 

  • The popular, the avant garde / experimental, the radical, the non-literary and other markers of text that call attention to their disruption of “traditional” English studies

  • New approaches or reclaimed approaches to teaching well-known texts, texts with little representation in curriculum or scholarship, and texts which speak to the underrepresented and minoritized populations in our classrooms

  • New approaches or reclaimed approaches to teaching composition and rhetoric

  • Personal or group identity and subjectivity and their role in teaching, scholarship, departments, etc.

  • Creative writing, performance, or art that speaks to or illustrates a moving away from tradition

In addition to these areas, we welcome proposals that address other topics and areas English and writing departments encompass. Further, we solicit papers on all areas that influence our lives as graduate students. 

Please submit proposals electronically by November 20, 2019 to Proposals should be no more than 300 words and should include a title.