I’ve pasted below the call for papers for the MacEwan English department’s 6th annual Reading Identity conference, which will take place February 5-6, 2016. As you can see, the conference theme this year is Affect/Effect. This has caused some confusion for some students, I suspect as a result of a general lack of familiarity with the particular academic genre that is the “Call for Papers” or “CFP.” Basically, our course material this semester is absolutely perfect for a paper on this broad topic because all of the works of literature we’ve read this semester are especially interested in the effects that literary texts have on readers. Literary effects affect us in various ways. Think, for example, of your blog entries this semester, which are designed for you to respond to some aspect of a work of literature studied in the course. We all responded to Alice in Wonderland in different ways; the novel had more of an effect on some students than it did on others. Some of us responded positively to the novel’s techniques of humor and parody (these techniques affect our reading experience); some of us preferred the stark naturalism of Hardy’s Tess because it had a more visceral effect on our emotions and passions.
In a nutshell, it is absolutely impossible to do any kind of literary analysis of a work of literature without engaging with either its particular effects or the ways in which it has an affect on readers. So, my hope is that many of you can find the courage to submit a proposal for the conference because it’s a fantastic opportunity to share your work with your classmates, friends, family, instructors, and other presenters from MacEwan and elsewhere. Regardless of what you choose to write about for your final research paper, I can guarantee you that your topic definitely fits under the broad conference topic of Affect/Effect, so please let me know if I can help you with your proposal.
One final note: with the English Brigade’s help, I’ve organized a proposal-writing session for this Friday, November 20th in CCC 5-329 from 1:00 – 2:30 pm. If you can’t make the session, there’s a good chance that it will be recorded and posted on the Reading Identity Facebook page. We’ll talk about strategies for writing a conference proposal, and I’ll answer any questions from students about the process.
Here’s the CFP:
Reading Identity: Affect/Effect
The department of English at MacEwan University invites undergraduate students from any post-secondary institution to submit proposals for paper presentations at our 6th annual undergraduate student conference on the general topic of “Affect/Effect” (February 5-6, 2016 at MacEwan University, Edmonton, AB).
How do students experience literature or narrative media? How do works of literature have an effect on readers? How do literary texts represent heightened states of emotion or feeling? How does creative writing appeal to a reader’s emotions and feelings? How do literary explorations of emotions and feelings impact our thinking about identity and subjectivity? If you have written an essay or work of creative writing for any of your classes that discusses some aspect of these questions, share your work with others by submitting a proposal. Our conference topic is open-ended, so consider how a work you have already written could fit into this broad topic of Affect/Effect.
In recent years, the “affective turn” in literary studies has renovated the ways in which readers respond to literary texts. Because our scholarly training is in literary analysis, we often forget that our lives as readers or viewers of narrative media are imbued with compelling experiences, emotions, and sensations that are also worthy of study. From passion to boredom and indifference, our immediate affective/emotional experiences with literary texts are crucial to our appreciation and enthusiasm for literature.
But, to what extent are our responses to works of literature also effects of a literary text? How do works of literature make readers feel heightened states of sympathy, empathy, sadness, anger, depression, melancholia, excitement, happiness, exhilaration, inspiration, and other related responses? How do literary texts appeal specifically to our senses and feelings? How do literary works represent or explore questions about emotions and feelings? We are interested in paper presentations by students that answer any of the above questions or analyze the textual effects created by literature, graphic novels, television series, films, and/or other related narrative media.
Please submit the following as two separate documents to firstname.lastname@example.org: (1) a 250-word proposal for a 15 minute paper presentation (approximately 8 pages double-spaced) and (2) a brief biographical statement about yourself, the title of your paper, your university affiliation, and your contact information. Both documents should be submitted by Monday December 7, 2015. All questions about the conference should also be sent to the above email address.
This year, we are able to offer some travel bursaries to cover accommodation and gas mileage. Students applying from institutions outside Edmonton will automatically be considered for a bursary.