Memory: Forgetting, Futures, and Foundations

deadline for submissions: 
January 7, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Stony Brook University Department of English / Graduate English Society

Stony Brook University
34th Annual English Graduate Conference
February 24th-25th, 2022

“Memory: Forgetting, Futures, and Foundations”

Keynote Speaker
Edgar Garcia
University of Chicago

“Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders.”
- William Faulkner, A Light in August

Memory is often hazy, complex and difficult to define or describe. Yet memory is ever shaping our pasts, presents and futures on individual and collective levels. From Barbara Streisand’s performance of the hit song from the musical Cats to the device you are reading this CFP on, memory is embedded in everything that we do and encounter. Narratives of mythic or even imagined pasts may serve as the basis for exclusionary rhetoric and policies, creating new, often violent memories, particularly in times of heightened political and social tensions related to race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and disability, to name a few. However, attending to memories—be they collective or personal, partial, recovered, or obscured—has become an essential part of rerouting/rerooting prevailing mythologies and inspiring change. Memory allows for grappling with the past, and offers paths to alternative futures that imagine a more inclusive and sanguine time to come. How can literature, philosophy, film, television, media, and the arts help us to confront the different concerns and dimensions of memory?

This virtual conference welcomes presentations that interrogate contours, definitions, and experiences of memory. How does memory shape the world and our relationships with it? What are memory’s mediums and conditions, its costs and its risks? What are the ethics of memory? How do memories and time interact, and how do we differentiate between past, present, and future? What influence do former dreams or ideas of the future have on culture? What are the ways that individuals and communities embody memory (or forgetting)? How are collective memories shaped and understood? What histories can be crafted from memory and how might memories resist history? To what extent has technology shifted or altered the way we interact with memory?

We invite abstracts for papers that explore memory, forgetting, and futurity in all of their formulations and proposed reformulations: cultural, social, individual, cognitive, technological, political, and beyond. Presentations are welcome from but not limited to the fields of literature, critical studies, art, history, film, music, philosophy, and the humanities broadly.

Abstracts of 250-300 words should be submitted to by January 7, 2022. Presentation topics may include but are not limited to the following:

Mind and Body

  • Age & Aging
  • Emotion & Feeling
  • Disability
  • Embodiment
  • Trauma
  • Performance
  • Madness & Mental/Emotional Flux
  • Health & Illness
  • Gender Performance & Transitions
  • Learning & Pedagogy


  • Historical Narratives: Dominant and Emerging
  • Colonialism, Decolonialism, & Post-Colonialism
  • Borders, Diaspora, & Migration
  • Nations & Nationhood
  • War, Rebellion, & Revolution
  • Resistance
  • Utopia & Dystopia


  • Scales of time
  • Climate change
  • Mutations & Evolution
  • Anthropocene & Anthropogenic Planetary Change
  • Apocalypse & Alternative Futures
  • Extinction & Preservation
  • Post/colonial Environmental Narratives


  • Digital Archives
  • Loss & Erasure
  • Internet & (im)Permanence
  • Hypertext & Language
  • Remediation & Remixing
  • Surveillance & Data
  • Planned Obsolescence

For more information, please visit our conference website,