CONF/CfP-Empowerment and the Arts: How the Humanities Empower Humanity

deadline for submissions: 
March 4, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Association of English Graduate Instructors and Students
contact email: 



Empowerment and the Arts:

How the Humanities Empower Humanity

Graduate Conference in English and the Humanities

Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

April 15-16, 2022

Conference will be held virtually, via Zoom. There is no registration fee for this conference.


There is power in the written word. It can take us on journeys, convey the nuanced as well as the palpable, and compel us to feel. It can also empower us to act, to challenge, and to overcome. Writing can be a form of claiming – or reclaiming – our time, our space, and our voice. It’s an opportunity to fight feelings of powerlessness —Susan Taylor


There have been many studies on how the arts empower student voice and engagement. Within the fields of creative writing, literature, rhetorical and compositional studies, empowerment is vital for intellectual discourse leading to passionate arguments. How we connect, produce, and interact with writing and research changes depending on how we understand the importance of our voice within it. Several authors and teachers have attributed their creative and academic success to when they discovered the ability to empower others through their voice.


Our fifteenth annual AEGIS Conference invites graduate students to consider the ways in which empowerment appears and is possible through the production and consumption of literature, visual art, rhetoric and composition studies, creative writing, and/or other disciplines. How do we see authors, artists, scholars, and others incorporate empowerment in their writing? How do Humanities instructors consider the empowerment of their students’ ideas in the classroom or in their own pedagogical beliefs? How does empowerment allow for cross-cultural connection and critique?


Our keynote speaker, Andy Harper, Assistant Professor of English at Saint Louis University, specializes in nineteenth and early twentieth century American literature and is especially interested in the ways writers explore questions of democracy, belonging, and social change to imagine political futures. His essay, “The Black Utopia,” is forthcoming in MELUS, and he is completing a book, Utopian Regionalism: The Speculative Radicalism of Local Color in the Long Gilded Age. His teaching and creative work are likewise committed to scholarship in place and the liberatory capacity of the humanities.


Each paper should be roughly 15 minutes in length. Although panels will be limited to the following overarching categories, we welcome papers and creative writing on a range of topics within English and the Humanities including interdisciplinary papers from History, Communications, Philosophy, Theatre, Education, Fine Arts, and Foreign Language studies.


Rhetoric and Composition Studies                                   American Literature

British Literature                                                           Humanities

Poetry (Reading)                                                           Fiction (Reading)



Please send individual abstracts (for scholarly/academic papers) or synopses (for poetry/fiction reading panels) to Emilee Kinney at Please attach your submission to the email as a Microsoft Word document or PDF format. Abstracts are due by March 4, 2022.