(Re)Tracing Self, World, and Agency in Narratives of Transformation

deadline for submissions: 
December 31, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Université Laval’s Graduate Conference for English Literature (ULGCEL)
contact email: 

“Writing and performing should deepen the meaning of words, should illuminate, transfix and transform.” –bell hooks

In literary studies, scholars and writers such as bell hooks have highlighted the transformative potential of words, revealing that writing and artistic performance are not merely acts of creation but journeys toward self-discovery and social change. As we navigate the complexities of our contemporary society, marked by profound shifts and challenges, the need for narratives of transformation has become more urgent. In an era that grapples with social justice, environmental crises, and cultural transformation and revitalization, we invite scholars from various fields to engage with the theme of “Narratives of Transformation.” This call for papers seeks to reflect on writing and artistic performance as vehicles for personal and collective healing and empowerment. We invite papers on all narrative forms and genres that inspire change, challenge the status quo, and bring forth stories that (re)trace and weave together individual and collective pasts, presents, and futures. Université Laval's 2024 Graduate Conference for English Literature proposes to engage narratives of transformation to consider questions such as:

  • In what ways can narratives of transformation serve as a catalyst for personal growth, social change, or healing in our contemporary society?
  • How do authors explore the intersectionality of identities, such as race, gender, or class, in the context of narratives of transformation?
  • What are the roles of storytelling and writing in challenging the status quo and inspiring change in today's world?
  • What ethical and social responsibilities should writers and scholars consider when engaging with narratives of transformation?
  • How can narrative (re)imagine and bridge past, present, and future, and to what effect?
  • How does literature employ narrative techniques to depict transitions and convey the aesthetics of change and transformation?

ULGCEL 2024 invites graduate student presentations that explore such questions as they relate to literature, film, graphic novels, television, video games, or wherever narrative is found. We welcome a variety of theoretical and critical approaches and encourage presentations of 15-20 minutes. Topics for consideration encompass, but are not confined to:

  • Intersectionality
  • Multiculturalism
  • Identity and Representation
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Postcolonial Narratives
  • Environmental Narratives
  • Dystopian and Utopian Narratives
  • Transcultural Narratives
  • Narrative and Ethics
  • Narrative and Memory

The conference will be held in a hybrid format on March 15, 2024. Speakers can present in person on the UL campus or via Zoom. We invite graduate students (MA, PhD, as well as advanced undergraduates) from various disciplines (Literature, Translation Studies, Film Studies, Cultural Studies, Indigenous Studies, History, etc.) to submit proposals. Visit the website for information on post-conference publishing opportunities. Please submit an abstract of 250 words and a biography of 50 words to: aeglea@asso.ulaval.ca. Include your name, affiliation, degree program, e-mail address, equipment needs, as well as the title of your presentation, and upload the document as both PDF and Word attachments. The deadline for proposals is December 31, 2023. You will be informed of our decision by January 21, 2024.

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