full name / name of organization: 
Prageeta Sharma & Joanna Klink, The University of Montana

DATES: March 12-14, 2015

Now in its second year, Thinking Its Presence: Race, Literary Study, and Creative Writing examines innovative creative writing and scholarship that re-thinks the complex and inseparable links between literary forms and the racialized thinking, processes, and histories that have shaped this country since its founding. The conference brings together the discipline and teaching of creative writing with perspectives from critical race theory, poetics,
performance studies, literary theory, literary history, ethnic literatures, and Native American and Indigenous studies. We intend to foster a dynamic exchange among creative writers and
scholars. To that end, the conference will include readings, panels devoted to scholarship, and panels devoted to critical discussion of pedagogies and institutional practices.

The title of this conference comes from scholar Dorothy Wang's book Thinking Its Presence: Form, Race, and Subjectivity in Contemporary Asian American Poetry (Stanford University Press, 2013). Wang's book makes the larger case "that aesthetic forms
are inseparable from social, political, and historical contexts when it comes to the writing and reception of poetry."

2015 Conference Theme: The Racial Imaginary

At this year's conference, the keynote speaker will be poet and writer Claudia Rankine. Discussions will focus on her new collection Citizen, about micro-aggressions as they relate
to race, and on the anthology The Racial Imaginary, coedited with Beth Loffreda and Max King Cap, forthcoming in November from Fence Books. The Racial Imaginary is based on an expansion and deepening of Rankine's 2011 "Open Letter" web-project, in which writers explore art's failure, thus far, to adequately imagine race and culture. In response to Rankine's project, writers question the effects and affects of racial difference and explore what it means for art to fail and to adequately imagine. Many of the more than thirty contributing writers will read from the anthology as well as present papers and panels.

Other featured writers and scholars will include Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Marilyn Chin, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Emma Pérez, William S. YellowRobe, and Ofelia Zepeda, among many others. We are interested in soliciting writing and scholarship— in the form of panels and readings—on Wanda Coleman, Amiri Baraka, Stuart Hall, and Fred Ho.

Call for Papers
We welcome writers, poets, performers, and scholars to propose papers, panels, performances, and readings on issues of race in contemporary prose and poetry. We invite all work that engages race, creative writing, and scholarship in contemporary literature, but we are particularly interested in proposals that address the following:
• The idea of "adequately imagining" [race and culture]
• The topic of race within MFA programs and institutions like AWP
• Race and pedagogy
• The relationship among aesthetics, politics, and representation in minority literatures
• Whiteness and literary authority
• Intersections between creative, autobiographical, and theoretical work in minority
literary traditions
• Writing, performing, teaching
• Intersections between gender, sexuality, and race
Accepted panels and readings will be incorporated and celebrated with receptions and Q&A events. While funding is limited, small honorariums for additional readings will be considered.

Please send proposals for papers, panels, performances, and readings to <>. Deadline for proposal submission is September 15, 2015.

Please submit:
1) Valid email address and biography for all event participants.
2) Complete event description (500 word count) including a title. Type of event must
be clearly stated. All events can have up to five participants. Please include a
moderator, and up to four participants for panels and talks.
3) Complete event statement of merit (500 word count).
4) Confirmation that each proposed presenter is willing to participate in the
event. (Registration is $30 for students; UM-Missoula students, faculty, and alumni
may attend for free; $60 for general registration.)
5) Readings can showcase poets and writers, presses, organizations, plays, text-oriented
performers, and other innovative presentations adhering to conference themes (3-5 readers per event).