Cornell EGSO 2021 Conference: Vulnerability

deadline for submissions: 
February 15, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Cornell English Graduate Student Organization

Cornell EGSO 2021 Conference: Vulnerability

DEADLINE EXTENDED: February 15, 2021

Virtual Conference April 16th - 17th, 2021 

Call For Proposals:

“Vulnerability,” defined as a sense of exposure or openness, carries multiple connotations. As a source of intimacy in intersubjective relationships, it is associated with care and frequently valorized, evoking trust, honesty, and emotional sincerity. By contrast, vulnerability as a social condition tends to connote negative images —of contingency, precarity, and threat, particularly at the points where economic and political infrastructures begin to fail or decompose. Our various ways of being exposed thus include not only a sense of closeness and dependency, but also an unwilled receptivity and susceptibility to harm. In both cases, however, to be vulnerable, one must not only be open, but also be at risk. The language of risk is inherent to vulnerability, whether deliberate or incidental.  What, then, is at risk when we invoke vulnerability, and for whom? How does the problematic of vulnerability shape our thinking about community, agency and resistance, especially at a time when illness and racialized violence impinge on us? What are the possible affordances, threats, and repercussions of being made open or making oneself open?

The English Graduate Student Organization invites academic and creative submissions to its 2021 conference that will engage these questions. We are seeking to feature conference papers, fiction and poetry readings, and works-in-progress that deploy the category of vulnerability as a framework for creative and scholarly thinking. Presentations of any type should not exceed 15 minutes.


Potential focus-areas include, but are not limited to:

  • Affect studies

  • Ethnic studies/Critical race theory

  • Queer studies

  • Gender studies

  • Disability studies

  • Trauma studies

  • Mental Health

  • Postcoloniality/decoloniality

  • Narratives/representations of enslavement

  • Infrastructure

  • Materiality

  • Embodiment

  • Economies of care (including self-care)

  • (Inter)dependence

  • Literary forms

  • Vulnerable reading/writing practices

  • Pedagogy

  • Creative Nonfiction

  • Personal Essay

  • Poetry

  • Short form fiction


This conference is sponsored by Cornell’s English Graduate Student Organization, and we encourage participation from graduate students in English and adjacent fields such as Romance Studies, Comparative Literature, History, Social Sciences, and Philosophy.

For academic papers, please submit a 250-300 word abstract.

For creative readings, please submit both (1) a 250 word synopsis/rationale and (2) a 300-500 word excerpt from prose or a single poem of no more than three pages in length.

Please include your institutional affiliation and a short biography along with your submission.

Submissions and inquiries should be sent to by February 6th, 2021. *DEADLINE EXTENDED! Submit by February 15, 2021!