Southwest Humanities Symposium 2021: Normalcy and un/non/dis/abnormalcy

deadline for submissions: 
December 11, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Graduate Scholars of English Association, Arizona State
contact email: 

Southwest Humanities Symposium 2021: Normalcy and un/non/dis/abnormalcy

Online Graduate Conference, February 26-27, 2021

Graduate Scholars of English Association, Arizona State University

Proposals due December 11, 2020

“‘Getting lost’ still takes us somewhere; and being lost is a way of inhabiting space by

registering what is not familiar: being lost can in its turn become a familiar feeling [...] The

familiar is an effect of inhabitance; we are not simply in the familiar, but rather the familiar is

shaped by actions that reach out toward objects that are already within reach.”

Sara Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology , p. 7

“What happens when instead of becoming enraged and shocked every time a Black person is

killed in the United States, we recognize Black death as a predictable and constitutive aspect of

this democracy? What will happen then if instead of demanding justice we recognize (or at least

consider) that the very notion of justice…produces and requires Black exclusion and death as


João Costa Vargas & Joy James, “Refusing Blackness-as-Victimization,” p. 193

There has been much mention of a ‘new normal’—how the pandemic, social, economic, and

political unrest have ruptured something that felt contiguous, and, in the ensuing disarray, how

things are beginning to accrete (or not) into recognizable, new forms. GSEA calls for work that

asks: What is ‘normal’? We seek writing, research, and art that engages with issues of the

normal, broadly and specifically. This may be an exploration of the pedagogical methods

available to us, to the phenomenological sense of normalcy, familiarity, homeliness, and

(dis)comfort, to the sociopolitical sense of normativity required by the structure of the world, and

to the extent of arranging things that we ‘turn towards’ and are ‘within reach’ that might be

familiar (but are no longer ‘normal’ or familiar). As we take stock of the distinguishable and

indistinguishable, the legible and illegible in our surroundings, selves, and world(s), what do we

see? How do we see? What do we want to see? How and where might we go from here? What is

normal, normative, normalcy, normativity? What is the relationship between ‘normal’ and

history, ‘normal’ and language, ‘normal’ and justice? Normalcy and resistance to normalcy

likely appear in all of our work and lived experiences, and we invite participants to explore the

effects of the normal in their writing, research, and art that may not be explicitly aimed at doing

so. Lead us, and join us through an invocation of the normal.

We welcome proposals for individual papers, panels, creative projects, and digital exhibits from

disciplines across the humanities that approach the conference theme in many ways. Proposals

for papers, creative projects, and digital exhibits should be 250-300 words; panel proposals (3-4

speakers) should be no more than 750 words, describing the theme of the panel and each paper.

Proposals are due by December 11, 2020 at the following link:

Any questions about the conference or proposals should be directed to the official conference

email at . We look forward to sharing in discussions and disruptions of