Care as Literature, Care as Praxis

deadline for submissions: 
January 10, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Brandeis University
contact email: 

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” — Audre Lorde, A Burst of Light

Literature, as a vehicle of care, has often been undervalued and neglected. “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” Audre Lorde’s biomythography Zami: A New Spelling of My Name manifests care as the basis for survival and formulates the self in a way that foregrounds the work of literature itself as care work. In her collection of essays, A Burst of Light, Lorde explicates this care into the concept of radical care, emphasizing the importance of self-care for the Black body as an imperative to self-preservation, one that is necessary to be part of a collective and reach eventual liberation. If we take Lorde’s approach to self-care to radically turn towards decolonial praxis, we can situate care itself in a realm of imagination and “the making of” collectivity and vulnerability that acknowledge the historical, bodily, and aesthetic differences. In these mechanics of care, BIPOC, queer, and women writers have used literature to insert care into their work. But, the complexity of “literary care work” falls into the wider scope of the humanities and sciences.

This conference takes seriously what it means to write with - and about - care.  How do we manifest care as a methodological and tangible practice in our work, livelihood, and subjectivity? How do we contest and resist capitalist and neoliberal agendas of the academic systems by embodying praxis of care? Finally, how does care expand the scope of the humanities to a broader audience? By exploring these and more questions, we hope to consider how care work might allow us to better foster kinship, alliances, and commitment to our various communities in and beyond the academy.

This in-person conference invites graduate students, independent scholars, and creatives from various perspectives, disciplines, and modalities to explore care in any genre, period, or geographical space. We also welcome and deeply appreciate different genres and presentation forms, including ones that blend art and activism together that both include and go beyond traditional conference papers. 

Potential topics may include but are not limited to: 

  • Radical care; 

  • Racism in care; 

  • Kinship/intimacy; 

  • Transnational care;

  • Care and dis/abilities;

  • Literary form and genre;

  • Histories/economics of care;

  • Care and writing/methodology;

  • Care, conflict, and social justice;

  • Care in the digital age and media; 

  • Feminist, queer, and trans studies;


For individual papers or non-traditional conference presentations, you are invited to submit a 250- 350 word abstract or proposal online to Proposals must be submitted by January 10th, 2024.  This conference will be held on March 18th, 2024, at Brandeis University (415 South St, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA).

Please include your full name, affiliation, status (professor, graduate student, undergraduate, independent scholar, activist, etc.), email, and telephone number in your proposal email.