Work and Leisure, Noise and Silence

deadline for submissions: 
January 24, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Michael Williamson - English Graduate Organization Indiana University of Pennsylvania
contact email: 

Work and Leisure, Noise and Silence

The English Graduate Organization (EGO) and Composition and TESOL Association (CTA), in collaboration with the Department of English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, is proud to announce their 2020 Interdisciplinary Conference, “Work and Leisure, Noise and Silence,” to be held April 3-4, 2020 at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). The due date for proposals is January 24, 2020.

The theme of the 2020 conference reflects on the nested relationship between work and relaxation, as well as the clash between the noise of responsibilities, scholarship, teaching, and research with the relative silence of subject positions outside of the classroom. As teachers, scholars, citizens, and human beings, we are called upon to navigate a variety of work responsibilities while still attempting to have a life outside of the category of worker.

These challenges become more complicated by all of the interference signals from the media, to primary and secondary sources, to the voices of the people met with daily. Within English Studies, scholars and teachers of literature, composition, linguistics, TESOL, and cultural studies frequently confront and theorize the representations and pedagogies of work, leisure, and noise, seeking to challenge, problematize and deconstruct the traditional work and output of humanities scholars.

This conference provides an opportunity to explore, construct, and deconstruct the nature of our scholarly and pedagogical work and output. We invite submissions not only from members of the IUP community but also scholars outside the borders of IUP (undergraduate students, graduate students, independent scholars). Submissions may interpret the theme of work, noise, leisure, and silence broadly and may choose to observe or cross over boundaries related to (1) literature (2) literary history (3) critical theory (4) TESOL theory and/or pedagogy, (5) composition theory and/or pedagogy (6) applied linguistics (7) cultural studies (8) rhetoric and rhetorical theory.

Beyond these areas, we seek and encourage interdisciplinary submissions, from diverse fields across academic disciplines: those that bridge disciplines, as well as submissions that mix the academic and the public.

Submitted papers of high quality will be considered for a special-issue publication in Pennsylvania English.

We ask you to consider such questions as:

  • How do we separate the noise from the signals in our respective fields and subfields? 

  • How do graduate students in English Studies advocate for improved working conditions such as research, teaching, scholarly pursuits, intellectual freedom, and others? 

  • How do conditions of labor/laboring impact the types of relationships possible in the writing classroom? 

  • What are examples of “silences” in literature (within or outside traditional canons) and how do they challenge or inform our pedagogical decisions? In what ways are underrepresented voices represented in the classroom and in the literature? 

  • What are the sounds/noises of writing and literature pedagogy? What sounds or noises help us understand productivity in the classroom? Conversely, what sounds help us understand leisure in the classroom? 

  • How is silence used as a form of resistance in the classroom? Where is silence found in discussion activities, written assignments, whole-class discussions and represented in POV, plot, characterization? Why is silence present in these areas? 

  • Pedagogically and literarily, in what ways can work and life in the Academy be balanced? How do cultural norms in both the classroom and in popular literature reinforce and challenge stereotypes about self-care, rest, and reflection, and/or work, labor, and production? 

  • How can we explore the relationship between activism and the need for self-care? How is this represented in literature, scholarship, and/or the classroom? How do silence and noise factor into this consideration? 

  • Can our work in academia be both work and leisure? 

  • Must work be loud to prove its existence? Is silent work underappreciated? Should the attention paid to leisure time be heightened? 

  • To submit a proposal, send a 300 word abstract to (Dr. Michael Williamson) before January 24, 2020. Please direct any questions to Dr. Williamson (Professor of Engish, Indiana University of Pennsyvania), Jed Fetterman, Vice President of IUP-English Graduate Organization ( or Jimalee Sowell, Vice President of Composition and TESOL Association (