CFP: "The End of English" Graduate Conference

deadline for submissions: 
January 7, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
The English Department at Rice University

“We should all come to the position that our long-standing investments in the literary and cultural values of the standard English curriculum must go the same way as the Confederate and conquistador statues that are falling across the south and southwest.”

—Dr. Jesse Alemán, “The End of English” (2021)


Drawing on the work of our keynote speaker Dr. Jesse Alemán, the graduate students of the English department at Rice University invite you to a conference that takes his PLMA article “The End of English” as its nominal and practical inspiration for the future of the Humanities post-2020. Among the topics we wish to cover are: the current climate of the Humanities and the state of English studies specifically, the diminishing job market, decreased access to funding, and contemporary criticism that calls into question the ongoing problems that impact the study of English—including the issue of canonization and the problem of citation practice. Moreover, we are interested in investigating the difference between “English Studies” and “Literary Studies,” as the latter seems to gesture more towards the decentralization of the European canon and makes a nominal move towards the kind of institutional practice we wish to see in the academy. Though broad in scope, we hope that by offering the space to discuss the complex and often problematic issues currently facing studies of English and literature, we can begin to diagnose and treat the current issues impacting the study of English. 


We welcome traditional conference papers, creative nonfiction, fiction, or performance pieces on the following topics:

  1. The state of the humanities in the wake of the pandemic

  2. The limits of disciplinarity 

  3. The future of independent scholarship

  4. The future of citational practices and publishing standards

  5. Decolonizing literary studies

  6. Multilingual approaches to literary and cultural studies

  7. The issues of canonization and use of “national” literatures

  8. Lack of racial diversity in faculty/courses/materials 


The Selection Committee invites abstracts of 300-400 words. Please email submissions to by January 7th, 2022. 

If accepted, the conference will be held in-person at Rice University on February 26, 2022.