2018 GRACLS Conference

***Proposal Deadline Extended to September 1, 2018***


Beyond the Breakdown:

Re-viewing Our Disciplines and Our World


The 15th Annual Graduate Conference in Comparative Literature

September 28-29, 2018

The University of Texas at Austin

Keynote Conversationalists:

Dr. Alison Kafer (Southwestern University) and Dr. Sami Schalk (University of Wisconsin-Madison)


In this tumultuous geopolitical moment, an apocalyptic end seems too close for comfort. While it might be tempting to accept that total breakdown is imminent, it is now more important than ever to consider our place in the world and how we may continue to (re)shape it. In our approach to world-as-text and text-as-world, how can scholars “break down” without breaking? How can we respond productively, constructively, to brokenness, even as we strive to dismantle rigid hegemonic structures? Can we embrace some kinds of brokenness as beautiful, as necessary? How should the boundaries between disciplines, languages, and cultures be broken apart and revised? How do scholars need to redefine terms we once took for granted? In essence, how are we beginning to restructure, rebuild, and rejuvenate our disciplines, the Academy at large, and our relationships with the world beyond?


Comparative literature as a discipline is often devoted to “breaking down”: exposing instances of untranslatability and particularity where universalities have previously been assumed. But it is also committed to “building up”: making connections that aren’t immediately obvious and creating meaningful dialogues across and between languages, texts, cultures, historical phenomena, and academic fields. In the spirit of “bridges not walls,” we invite submissions from all disciplines, including but not limited to literary and cultural studies, linguistics, history, women’s and gender studies, disability studies, anthropology, education, environmental studies, and the creative arts.  


Possible paper topics might include:

  •      Redefining the meaning of “text,” “literature,” and “narrative”
  •      Translation as a form of reconstruction; language blends, creoles, pidgins
  •      Rethinking deconstruction/reconstruction; paranoid and reparative readings
  •      Breaking down the boundaries of identity in a (post)colonial world
  •      Redefining “the center,” rethinking the canon in relation to world literature
  •      Historical “re”s: Renaissance, Reformation, Reconstruction, Revolution; history’s repetitions
  •      “Broken” bodies: rejecting “wholeness” as best outcome in disability and gender studies
  •      Borderlands theory and “rajadura”; split consciousness
  •     Musical “breaks” and integral pauses; productive silences in discourse
  •     Applications of brokenness in art; e.g. Japanese kintsugi as metaphor and practice
  •     Performativity, including theatrical performance, as construction and reconstruction
  •      Redefining divisions along national, linguistic, and ethnic borders
  •      Rebuilding communities in exile; diaspora and refugee studies
  •      Ecocriticism and reclamation by/through nature
  •      Restructuring literary studies and language/literature departments for the modern university
  •      New approaches to the K-12 classroom: pedagogy, institutional structure, community
  •      Reorienting the subject; rethinking the human/animal divide
  •     Breakdowns in communication and representation: trauma, latency, and (post)memory
  •     Re-membering the body in post-trauma narratives
  •     Broken systems, Black Lives Matter, and reparative justice
  •     Creative writing, visual art, and performance projects that address the topic in some form




The EXTENDED deadline for paper abstracts is *****September 1, 2018*****.  Abstracts of a maximum of 250 words should be submitted via email as a Word document to graclsconference2018@gmail.com.  We also welcome panel proposals of 3-4 speakers. For additional information about the conference, please contact the organizers (Andra Bailard and Sarah Ropp) at graclsconference2018@gmail.com, or visit the conference website at graclsconference2018.wordpress.com.