Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Graduate Student Conferences - UMD GEO Conference

Last semester we hosted a round table on attending and applying to conferences. If you attended, you know that one of the best ways to "break in" to the world of academic conferences is to apply to and attend graduate student conferences. We have already heard of some success stories from some of our M.A.s, and we want to spread that success. Another opportunity has landed on our desk - the University of Maryland's English Department is hosting its annual GEO Conference on March 3, 2012. Of course our own symposium is coming up this February and we thank all of you who submitted an abstract. But don't stop there! The deadline has been extended to January 30 for the GEO CFP. I attended this conference last spring and it was a rewarding experience. Whether you are just beginning to apply to conferences or if you have been to several already, this is a great professional development and networking opportunity. Good luck!
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GEO Conference CFP

The Graduate English Organization of the University of Maryland’s Department of English
invites graduate students to submit abstracts for our fifth annual interdisciplinary graduate
conference. The theme of this year’s conference is “The Body Electric.”
When Walt Whitman sang about the “body electric” he was thinking about a fantasy of
connectivity, a body at once charged and charging. Using the “body electric” as a focal point, this
conference hopes to highlight a broad spectrum of work from a variety of fields, literary and
otherwise. Abstracts that focus on studies of the body, connectivity, persuasion, electricity,
philosophy/philosophy of mind, morality, politics/the body politic, and affect theory are welcome
and encouraged. Similarly, “The Body Electric” may tap into discourses of historical and
emerging technologies—allowing us to think of writers like Whitman, Mary Shelley, Charles
Dickens, and Virginia Woolf as possessing a clear stake in the popular science of their respective
ages. “The Body Electric” creates connectivity and allows for an unbounded self—just as
Clarissa Dalloway “felt herself everywhere; not ‘here, here, here’…but everywhere.”
In considering the way language and literature tenuously work to bridge the gaps they often
create, the category of an electric body becomes useful in thinking of affect, rhetoric, social
change, mediation, enlightenment, subjectivity, and technology. For instance, thinking of social
movements in the journalistic commonplace of “electric” allows us to examine the currents of
communication that make them possible. Rhetorically, these currents of communication may
consider the bodies of work we create and shape; in doing so, one might explore the discourse of
writing as performance that provides a space to help (our students) develop a vital connection to
the delivery of texts; the “body electric” becomes a central consideration as we perform written,
spoken, and multimodal works. Likewise, thinking about the affective scene as implicitly electric
allows us to articulate a genealogy of the emotions.
In its broadest sense, “The Body Electric” lends itself to a number of opportunities for
interrogation. How do these connections happen? Does considering the body as electric allow for
reformulations of the relationship between the body and the mind? between populace and
politician? between society and morality? Do burgeoning social media technologies like Twitter
and Facebook extend or inhibit Whitman’s dream of expansive connectivity?
The conference committee invites proposals for fifteen-minute papers from a broad range of
disciplines and theoretical backgrounds. Presentations of creative work are also welcome. Panel
submissions (3-4 participants) are highly encouraged. Please limit individual abstracts to 300
words and panel abstracts to 500 words. Full papers may accompany abstracts. Please include
three keywords at the end of the abstract to assist panel formation.
The deadline for submissions is January 30th, 2011. Please send all proposals to

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