Bridges and Borders: Laboring for Community

deadline for submissions: 
February 6, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Carnegie Mellon University Departments of English & Modern Languages

Bridges and Borders: Laboring for Community
A Graduate Student Virtual Conference presented by the Departments of English and Modern Languages Featuring Keynote Speaker Dr. Xine Yao.

April 14-15, 2023

The antisocial declaration “I don’t care” meets “we don’t care”:
a mode of self-care grows into collective care.
-- Xine Yao Disaffected (2021)

Laboring for community is a provocation to not just think about how and why we act and work, but the ways we might radically care for one another. In the last year, acts of refusal and resistance in the United States like “The Great Resignation,” “quiet quitting,” and mass organizing efforts force us to rethink our relationship to labor. In academia, specifically, staff, adjuncts, faculty, and graduate students struggle to gain equitable access to resources. As graduate students organize and faculty speak out, critics argue for us to stay silent and accept austerity measures. This year our conference refuses to remain complicit in this cycle of exploitation, as we aim to foster discussions among graduate students regarding the social, ideological, linguistic, political, aesthetic, and pedagogical constructions of labor.

So, we ask: What are the ways to incite, develop, respond, produce, care, or labor for community? What are the effects/affects of essential labor in a continual state of emergency? How does labor shape our understanding of gender, sexuality, race, and nation? What additional, unspoken labor is asked of international students, instructors, and faculty members? How do language learners labor to gain access to a community? How do we attend to contemporary and historical representations of collective resistance? Or simply, what does it mean to "just do the work”?

For this year’s conference, we seek papers from graduate students around the world that address these issues from across disciplines, time periods, and programs.

We welcome proposals that consider the following keywords and concepts:

  • Institutional power and transformation
  • Student labor and pedagogical labor
  • Coalition and community
  • Relationality, power, and opacity
  • Forms of resistance and solidarity
  • Emotional labor and invisible labor
  • Cultures of ‘Hustle’
  • Precarity of creative labor
  • Migration and mobility
  • Language as labor
  • Work/leisure
  • The cultural politics of unfeeling
  • Right to speak/right to be silent
  • Racial capitalism
  • Gendered labor
  • Representing labor in literature, film, and art

Submission Guidelines 

Please submit abstracts of up to 250-word via the submission form or visit our website for more information. We welcome completed projects or works-in-progress drawn from coursework, dissertations, or independent research as individual or panel submissions as well as creative works related to the theme