Mutamenti - Alien Perspectives (Hopkins-Yale Graduate Symposium)

deadline for submissions: 
July 31, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Johns Hopkins University

Graduate Symposium Johns Hopkins-Yale


Alien Perspectives

October 25-26, 2024

The Italian programs at Johns Hopkins and Yale Universities welcome submissions for the second edition of the graduate symposium to be held in person on October 25-26, 2024 at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Grounded in a transnational framework of Italian Studies, the symposium fosters exchange between students, early career scholars, and established faculty, encouraging scholarship that spans a wide range of methodological concerns and interdisciplinary approaches. These include (but are not limited to) philosophy, cultural studies, literary analysis, environmental humanities, history, history of art, film and media studies, women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, studies of race and ethnicity, and classics.


The word “alien” conjures images of little green bipeds, flying saucers, and lunar hoaxes; or, maybe border walls, refugees, and stolen jobs. In English, “alien” means both “a foreigner” and “unfamiliar and disturbing.” With this understanding, the alien is both a physical entity, requiring space and resources, and an existential threat, challenging the normative notions upon which a society is built. However, in Latin the word alienus carries yet another meaning: “belonging to another,” “not one’s own.” Could we then define “alien” as that which lies outside of one’s own dominion? In either context, the “alien” functions as the vehicle through which normative identities define themselves in relation to what they are not.

As Italianisti on American soil, we know first-hand the fruitful work that materializes after the collision of alien perspectives. This year at Mutanenti, we seek papers that engage with topics that question our notion of what it might mean to be “alien.” Does the “alien” exist in a vacuum? Or can it only be defined by its relative position within its host frame? Further, what differing views of society come into focus when looking through an alien perspective? What role do alien perspectives play in the arts? And what environmental effect does alien matter have outside its place of origin?

We invite submissions from graduate students and recent PhDs (within three years of degree conferral). In addition to the questions above, other possible lines of investigation include (but are not limited to):

1. Narrating alien subjectivities

  1. Imposing alienization at home

  2. Outsiders: migrants and migrations

  3. Alien bodies: queer and trans experiences

  4. Institutionalizing otherness and the medical apparatus

  5. Otherworldly artistic representations

  6. Alien matter and environmental contamination

  7. Translating the alien in science fiction

  8. Depicting foreignness in media and film

Proposal Submission

All submissions must be sent via email in a single Word document entitled “Last Name JHU-Yale” to no later than July 30, 2024 and include the following items:

1) an abstract (200 words max)
2) a short bio (100 words max)
3) your full name, email address, and affiliation.

Please use “Symposium JHU-Yale” in the subject line. Participation in this conference is free, no organizational registration is required, and all presentations must be in English.