2016 CFP

CALL FOR PAPERS: Power & Politics in Print
Proposals due: December 15th, 2015

“Where there is power, there is resistance.” ~Foucault

“Power is our environment. We live surrounded by it:
it pervades everything we are and do, invisible and soundless, like air…”
~Margaret Atwood, from Power Politics

The Free Exchange Conference Committee is hosting its annual Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference March 4–6, 2016 at the University of Calgary. We welcome proposals for papers, panels and creative presentations that explore the diverse aspects of Power & Politics in Print.

From the incunabula to hypertext, the technologies and typologies of the printed word have shaped human communication and cognition in profound and enduring ways. Literature, as Terry Eagleton reminds us, is ideology. The foundational importance of literature as a means by which older generations pass their accumulated wisdom on to subsequent generations is undeniable. Literature allows thought and language to transcend limitations of both space and time. Where other disciplines produce equations, medicines or legal codes, the study of literature produces meaning, without which even the most rigorous scientific research is merely a collection of information.

Since the medieval era, the printed text has been recognized as a badge, a medium and a locus of power, and wherever power dwells, politics is never far away. The struggle to rationalize, contextualize and categorize literature’s mediating role between the personal and the political remains at the heart of a fluid and dynamic discussion that evades easy conclusions. From flimsy polemical broadsides to leather-bound sacred tomes to massive digital repositories housing many thousands of works, literature and its troubling texts exert a pressure on society that continues to shape our world in fundamental and often unpredictable ways.

We invite proposals for papers, panels and creative presentations addressing issues of Power & Politics in Print including but not limited to:

  • material culture, the history of the book, print technologies
  • critical race theory, postcoloniality, indigeneity, national identity, globalization
  • accessibility, copyright and intellectual property, digital literature
  • social justice, activism
  • propaganda, satire, comic studies
  • space and place, ecocriticism, urban studies, archive studies
  • censorship, blacklisting and surveillance, legality, policy
  • queer theory, feminist theory

For academic or creative papers please submit a 250–300 word abstract and include details of any space or multimedia requirements in your proposal. Presentations of 15–20 minutes may range from traditional conference papers to works of short fiction, poetry, film or other media modalities. Free Exchange is an annual graduate student conference organized and run by students from the Department of English at the University of Calgary. Founded over fifteen years ago, the Free Exchange Conference has grown in size and scope and has attracted participants from across Canada, the United States, and beyond.

Please note: for panel submissions of three presentations, each panel member must present a proposal that adheres to the above guidelines, and the Free Exchange Committee retains the right to accept any given panel in full or in part. Email submissions as an attachment (Word or PDF) to freeex@ucalgary.ca by December 15th, 2015.