Community and Collaboration: How the Light Gets In

deadline for submissions: 
January 7, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
NEXUS Interdisciplinary Conference
contact email: 


The 2022 NEXUS Interdisciplinary Conference Committee and the University of Tennessee Graduate Students in English invite proposals for presentations for the 2022 NEXUS Interdisciplinary Conference: “Community and Collaboration: How the Light Gets In.” NEXUS is a biennial, interdisciplinary conference hosted by the graduate students in the University of Tennessee’s English Department in Knoxville, Tennessee. The conference will be held March 4-6, 2022 and will feature keynote speakers Ross Gay, Maren Linett, and Josh Eyler. 

The theme of NEXUS 2022 is “Community and Collaboration,” and with this theme, we hope to foster conversations in the humanities and related fields about the vital role they play in developing communities (at a variety of levels and broadly conceived) as we continue to grapple with the imbricated crises of recent years. We hope to encourage philosophical, practical, and creative approaches to fostering collaborative spaces and communities. We seek to establish a space for scholars and graduate students in a variety of disciplines to interrogate what it means to be scholars, writers, artists, or teachers at a time of upheaval and when the future of academia is uncertain.


Over the past few years, conversations both in academia and in public media have asked us to think deeply about the value of community. From the isolating effects of the pandemic, protests for racial justice, wildfires in the western United States and other environmental disasters fueled by climate change, and political unrest at the national and local level, we have been asked to question the way we conceive of ourselves in community, the way we come together in communal spaces, and the way we commune. With this year’s NEXUS theme, “Community and Collaboration,” the conference will look forward to the humanities’ role in healing, recovering, and rediscovering. This moment offers a unique opportunity to explore philosophical, practical, and creative approaches toward recreating a sense of collaboration and community founded on shared responsibility, justice, and joy. With that in mind, we hope to ask and consider questions that reach to the heart of who we are not merely as scholars in an academic marketplace, but as contributors to our home communities—whether we conceive of these as academic communities, neighborhoods, a city, state, region, or the globe, a religious group, or one of many others. This theme is founded on the interdisciplinary thinking at the heart of NEXUS’s mission, and also asks us to consider the action of our ideas. We are actively seeking work that makes connections between these varied disciplines and asks important questions about how we move toward a more just and equitable world. This conference asks us to carefully consider our role in the world and the communities we inhabit. It asks, in short, how we heal.


We imagine this conference will open up avenues for conversation among literary studies, creative writing, environmental humanities, rhetoric/composition, sociology, history, Africana studies, diaspora studies, digital humanities, psychology, geogrpahy, educational studies, and others. For your proposal, you might consider any of the following topics: 

  • collaboration-focused pedagogical strategies
  • recovering/exploring collaborative print histories
  • restorative archival practices
  • collaborative and/or restorative digital humanities projects
  • intersectionality/allyship
  • community organizing/social/environmental justice
  • collaborative approaches to composition
  • healing and care
  • empathy, fatigue, and grief
  • kinship and community
  • creative works that consider/engage with community, healing, and/or collaboration
  • utopia, intentional community, and imagined futures

 Other topics and disciplines are welcome!


  • Submit abstracts as .docx or .pdf file(s) to:
  • Length: 250-300 words
  • Please include name, affiliation, and a 25-50 word bio with your name and area of interest(s). 
  • For more info see 

Submissions for panels, roundtable discussions, creative readings, posters, and individual papers will be considered. Please submit abstracts to

Deadline for submission is January 7, 2022 at midnight EST

Covid Statement: We are actively monitoring the situation here in Tennessee and abroad. Our hope is that we will be able to have at least a portion of the conference in-person or hybrid, but safety will be our number one priority. We will be making final modality decisions as we move closer to the conference. 

Questions? Please contact us at

And follow us on Twitter @utnexus22 to keep up to date with the NEXUS 2022 community as we prepare for this year’s conference!