2022 Conference on the Sympathetic Imagination: Literature, Film, and Writing of Sympathy and Empathy Call for Presentation Proposals

deadline for submissions: 
November 20, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Association of College English Teachers of Alabama


Conference on the Sympathetic Imagination: Literature, Film, and Writing of Sympathy and Empathy

Call for Presentation Proposals


Auburn University at Montgomery

February 24-25, 2022


Sponsored by the Association of College English Teachers of Alabama and Auburn University at Montgomery


In an 1817 letter to Benjamin Bailey, Keats writes, “The Setting Sun will always set me to rights, or if a Sparrow come before my Window, I take part in its existence and pick about the gravel.” What he describes is the sympathetic imagination, how we acquire knowledge of the inner lives of others by extending the imagination. The term “sympathetic imagination” comes to us from Adam Smith: “As we have no immediate experience of what other men feel, we can form no idea of the manner in which they are affected, but by conceiving what we ourselves should feel in the like situation. Though our brother is upon the rack, as long as we ourselves are at our ease, our senses will never inform us of what he suffers. They never did and never can carry beyond our persons, and it is by the imagination we place ourselves in his situation.” Sponsored by ACETA (The Association of College English Teachers of Alabama) and the Auburn University at Montgomery, this conference broadly considers literature, film, and writing on the importance of sympathy and empathy. More broadly, papers might address phenomenology, the intersection of philosophies and literature, transhumanism, performativity, trauma theory, literary sensation and sensationalism, the nonhuman experience in literature, and other topics related to the conference theme. Submissions in pedagogy and composition and rhetoric are also welcome.


Proposals for the following recurring strands are encouraged. Presenters should indicate in the header of the proposal if they wish to be considered for the following strands.

Scholarship, Pedagogy, or the Professor Emeritus:

     Pedagogical discourse continuation strand

Feeling and Describing Gender

     Gender studies strand

Talking with and Among the Disciplines

     Multi-/Inter- disciplinary strand

Creating and Performing the Imagined    

     Creative writing or performance strand

Imagining and Implementing Diversity

     Diversity studies strand

Understanding Social Climate

     Social justice strand








Proposals of no more than 500 words should be submitted no later than Saturday, November 20, 2021.

When proposing a panel, please indicate the names, affiliations, and positions of all members of the panel along with the title of the presentation and abstract of the content. Each presenter should limit himself/herself to a 15-20-minute talk and be prepared for questions.




Visit the ACETA website Call for Proposals link at https://tinyurl.com/utnrwn2c to upload entries

 no later than November 20, 2021




Email entries with the subject line “Conference Proposal” to Ashley Kitchens at alcollegeenglish@gmail.com

no later than November 20, 2021