Cornell EGSO 2023 Conference: Reciprocity

deadline for submissions: 
February 18, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Cornell University English Graduate Student Organization

Call For Academic and Creative Proposals:

Conference Date: April 28-29, 2023

Location: Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

“Through reciprocity the gift is replenished. All of our flourishing is mutual.”

― Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass

Reciprocity is, by nature, a term that evokes intimacy. Reciprocity insists upon some form of relationship, which—when successful—involves both giving and receiving, a mutual commitment to the welfare of oneself and another. Reciprocity is not simply a question of individual “fairness,” but an inherently relational term that demands we think about collective equity, equality, and justice. It evokes the political valences of intercultural or international exchange and treaties; it calls to mind interpersonal relationships and commitments; it suggests the biological valences of symbiosis and the complex webs of interrelation that render ecosystems stable. Where there is stability and harmony, though, there are also ghosts of failed reciprocity, of broken commitments and inequitable arrangements, that inevitably haunt the term. Historically, attention to reciprocity also demands consideration of its impossibilities and failures: imperial and settler colonial expansion that is devastating to peoples and to land; capitalist indebtedness; social violences writ large. 

EGSO 2023 seeks out papers and artistic works that explore how we as scholars, artists, and citizens might delve into the networks of relation suggested by the term “reciprocity.” How does reciprocity promote community building and sustain life outside of normative structures of supply and demand? How might the ethics of reciprocity and its demand for mutuality illuminate instances of exploitation and unequal exchange? What sorts of social relationships may expand our understanding of what reciprocity is and can be?

Potential focus-areas include, but are not limited to:

  • Affect studies

  • Ethnic studies/Critical race theory

  • Indigenous studies

  • Queer studies

  • Gender studies

  • Disability studies

  • Trauma studies

  • Economics–Marxism, capitalism, or other economic theories/systems

  • Ecocriticism/Environmental Humanities

  • Reader reception/Audience studies

  • Fan studies

  • Transformative works

  • Performance and Media studies

  • Scholarly work on reciprocity

  • Postcoloniality/decoloniality

  • Negativity and pessimism

  • Speculative fiction–Futurity and Pasts

  • Medical humanities

  • Literary forms

  • Pedagogy

  • Creative Nonfiction

  • Personal Essay

  • Poetry

  • Short form fiction

Cornell’s English Graduate Student Organization invites academic and creative submissions to its 2023 conference that will engage these questions. We are seeking to feature conference papers, fiction and poetry readings, and works-in-progress that deploy the category of reciprocity as a framework for creative and scholarly thinking. Presentations of any type should not exceed 15 minutes.

This conference is sponsored by Cornell’s English Graduate Student Organization, and we encourage participation from graduate students in English and adjacent fields including (but not limited to) Comparative Literature, Romance Studies, Performing and Media Arts, History, Social Sciences, and Philosophy. 

For academic papers, please submit a 250-300 word abstract. 

For creative readings, please submit both (1) a 250 word synopsis/rationale of the work and (2) a 300-500 word excerpt from prose or a poem sample of no more than three pages in length. 

Please include your institutional affiliation and a short biography (~50-100 words) along with your submission. Submissions and inquiries should be sent as a Word Document or PDF file to by February 10th, 2023.