The 2023 TTU Symposium on “Pandemic, Environment, and Life Writing”

deadline for submissions: 
February 25, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Texas Tech University Comparative Literature Program
contact email: 

The Comparative Literature Program at Texas Tech University will host the 2023 symposium on “Pandemic, Environment, and Life Writing” on campus on April 21-22, 2023.


Keynote Speakers:

Dr. Jennifer Ho, Eaton Professor of Ethnic Studies and Director of the Center for

Humanities & the Arts, University of Colorado at Boulder

Dr. Laura Hyun Yi Kang, Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies, University of

California at Irvine

Dr. Muhsin al-Musawi, Professor of Classic and Modern Arabic Literature and of

Comparative and Cultural Studies, Columbia University

Dr. Aretha Phiri, Associate Professor of English, University of Rhodes, South Africa

Dr. Jacqueline Kolosov, Professor of Creative Writing, Texas Tech University


Since the Covid-19 pandemic started in spring 2020, millions of people around the globe have perished, suffered from loss of health and loved ones, and struggled for survival on a day-to-day basis. As humanity exposes vulnerability before unpredictable natural and built environments, hate crime and anti-Asian racism have been on a dramatic rise. The situation has been exacerbated by the emergence of right-wing extremist groups around the globe from dictators in totalitarian regimes to elected nationalist leaders of Western democracies. Moreover, with the escalation of the tech war between the US and China into Cold War 2.0 and the on-going war between Russia and Ukraine, we are facing a possible apocalyptic scenario of nuclear devastation and World War III.    


In front of these multifarious threats and divisions, what is our common humanity? What role has life writing played in articulating and negotiating our humanity at different moments of crises across time and space? What kind of healing power can life writing generate? Why and how are telling and sharing of personal life narratives critical to our human survival and planetary future? This symposium not only looks for papers that explore life narratives in different aesthetic forms and representational modes from autobiography to autoethnography, from auto-graphics to biopic, but it also encourages presentations that critically historicize and investigate life writing in relation to geopolitics, ethics of science, trauma theories, racial formation analyses, gender performance discourses, and environmental and ecocritical studies. We also welcome readings in creative writing.   


Please send your 250-word abstract and 2-page C.V. and direct your questions to Dr. Yuan Shu ( The deadline for submission is February 25, 2023. You may choose either on-site or on-line format (cannot be switched).