Out of Bounds: An Exploration of Boundaries in Crisis

deadline for submissions: 
February 1, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Trinity College Dublin
contact email: 

Out of Bounds: An Exploration of Boundaries in Crisis Online Conference: 14 & 15 July 2021 Trinity Centre for Literary & Cultural Translation 

From the exact lines on an architect’s blueprints to the demarcations on maps that shape the world today, boundaries have consequences. In concrete form they have separated societies, but they need not be material in order to exert power. The onset of crisis often sees the imposition of boundaries that are nebulous and ill-defined but surely no less potent than the menacing walls of segregation. 

On a macro level, the looming climate crisis has us racing against thresholds in time, anxiously assessing what is salvageable, while the geographical boundaries of a changing world are shifted by rising sea levels, deforestation and forced migration. The problem is of such scale that it surpasses our anthropocentric capabilities and limits what individuals can “do about it” on a micro level. 

Similarly, the enduring pandemic stubbornly reinforces boundaries large and small, from travel restrictions to social distancing between peers. Covid-19 has also just as suddenly dissolved personal boundaries as it has imposed them: The already precarious work/life boundary crumbled with the merging of work and home. Coupled with the isolating effects of social distancing, this surely renders the discussion of mental health all the more urgent. 

Whether they are erected or suspended, these more obscure boundaries of crisis abound. Can we come to understand them? Are they so vast that understanding itself is, quite literally, “out of bounds”? These questions will take centre-stage at this online conference in July 2021.

Proposals from researchers, artists or professionals working in any relevant fields are warmly invited. Suggested topics include but are not limited to: 

  • The limits of knowledge and agency in times of crisis
  • Geographical and national boundaries in these crises and the need for either cross-border or region-specific focus
  • Personal boundaries, mental health, anxiety and solitude in times of crisis 
  • Limited worlds in an era of working from home, quarantine and school closures, and associated surge of domestic violence 
  • Restrictions in bounded institutions such as Direct Provision Centres, prisons, nursing homes etc.
  • Online arts, the exploration of virtual theatre and poetry and their limitations
  • Compliance fatigue, the anti-mask movement and conspiracy (“PLANdemic”) 
  • The (re)drawing of political boundaries in response to crisis and the politics of Covid-19 scepticism

Please email abstracts (300 words) for papers of around 20 minutes by 1st February 2021 to: outofbounds2021@gmail.com


Link to Poster: https://drive.google.com/file/d/13tsnx8cIXDi86oE5B_gO5xdIFQcujlTu/view?usp=sharing


Confirmed Keynotes: 

Dr Sowon Park, University of California, Santa Barbara

Dr Park is an Assistant Professor in the English Department at University of California, Santa Barbara and has taught on her various research interests in Oxford, Cambridge and Seoul. A specialist in British Modernism and political fiction, her current research examines relationships between literature and cognitive neuroscience.

Dr Niamh Campbell, NUI Maynooth 

Dr Campbell is a writer and Research Fellow at NUI Maynooth. A recipient of the Arts Council Next Generation literary award, her essays and short fiction have been published in various literary magazines, such as Banshee and Gorse, and her debut novel This Happy was released in 2020 to much critical acclaim. 

Dr Rosie Lavan, Trinity College Dublin 

Dr Lavan is currently an Assistant Professor in Trinity College Dublin’s School of English. With particular focus on modern Ireland and Britain, her research explores the many intersections between literature, media, society and politics, foregrounding collective identities during political change and upheaval like the Troubles in Northern Ireland and the women’s movement.