EVENT Apr 15
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MadLit Conference 2023: Ephemerals

University of Wisconsin - Madison
Categories: Postcolonial, Graduate Conference, American, Hispanic & Latino, Comparative, Interdisciplinary, British, Lingustics, Pedagogy, Genre & Form, Popular Culture, Literary Theory, Rhetoric & Composition, World Literatures, African-American, Colonial, Revolution & Early National, Transcendentalists, 1865-1914, 20th & 21st Century, Medieval, Early Modern & Renaissance, Long 18th Century, Romantics, Victorian, 20th & 21st Century, Adventure & Travel Writing, Children's Literature, Comics & Graphic Novels, Drama, Narratology, Poetry, Aesthetics, Anthropology/Sociology, Classical Studies, Cultural Studies, Environmental Studies, Film, TV, & Media, Food Studies, History, Philosophy, African & African Diasporas, Asian & Asian Diasporas, Australian Literature, Canadian Literature, Caribbean & Caribbean Diasporas, Indian Subcontinent, Eastern European, Mediterranean, Middle East, Native American, Scandinavian, Pacific Literature, Miscellaneous
Event Date: 2023-04-15 to 2023-04-16 Abstract Due: 2023-02-17

MadLit 2023 Call for Papers

MadLit Conference 2023: Ephemerals

The University of Wisconsin–Madison English department will bring together graduate student researchers, educators, and writers to discuss critical and/or creative works that think through the theme and metaphor of ephemerals.

Ephemerals, wildflowers marked by short life cycles, are the first plants to seed and grow in the new bare ground after a wildfire. Fast germinating, ephemerals seed and grow quickly in harsh and devastated environments. They spend most of their lives in a rhizomic state of seeded dormancy, waiting for ideal conditions to flourish. Ephemerals emerge, (re)produce, adapt, wait for the right material conditions, and bloom. Transitory, they fail and fade off, gather resources, and reemerge. 

To think ephemerally inheres newness. On this, José Esteban Muñoz writes in “Ephemera as Evidence: Introductory Notes to Queer Acts”:

I want to take some time to reflect on what I’m calling ephemera as a modality of anti-rigor and anti-evidence that, far from filtering materiality out of cultural studies, reformualtes and expands our understandings of materiality…it is all of those things that remain after a performance, a kind of evidence of what has transpired but certainly not the thing itself…it is interested in following traces, glimmers, residues, specks of things.

UW-Madison’s 2023 MadLit Conference aims to provide the bare, sodden ground in which new ideas, experiments, works, methodologies, and art will thrive, even if transiently. In this conference, we will explore the notion of ephemerals in relation to literary studies, practices, methodologies, and their ephemera (e.g. works that contend with non-literary forms such as film and television, music, video games, drama, digital and visual culture, and so on). What happens to modes of knowledge production when this ephemeral approach is celebrated? What can be learned from embracing the transitory and transformative nature of our work?

We welcome submissions that celebrate the idea of ephemerals from any period, English concentration (i.e. Literary Studies, Rhetoric and Composition, Creative Writing, and English Language and Linguistics), literary tradition, genre, methodology, or context.

Conference Format:

MadLit 2023 will convene on April 15th and 16th in a hybrid virtual/in-person format. Please note that Day 1 of the conference will be held for participants as in-person only. We welcome both virtual and in-person presentations for Day 2.

Day 1: On Day 1 of the conference, the 2023 MadLit organizers will be developing in-person working sessions at UW-Madison based on three desired modes of feedback: “Dissertation Chapters,” “Papers,” and “Creative Works,” which may be divided further depending on the number and genre variation of creative submissions. If you have a creative work you would like to submit to these working sessions, please submit an additional artist portfolio of no more than 2 pages.

Each working session will:

?         exchange papers/submissions by e-mail prior to the conference discussion

?         include respondents to these submissions at the group’s conference meeting

?         potentially arrange breakout groups during the group meeting (depending on the group sizes)

Day 2: Day 2 of the conference will offer traditional panel presentations in a hybrid virtual/in-person format at UW-Madison.

Please submit your abstract here by January 30, 2023. All abstracts, including those for working sessions, are limited to 250 words and must explicitly relate their goals to the conference theme. Those who submit poetry to the workshops may be encouraged to perform a reading of their poem in between panel sessions on the 16th.

While we unfortunately cannot offer funding for travel or lodging, we are pleased to share that the conference is free to all presenters and participants! Contact uwmadlit@gmail.com if you have any questions or concerns. You will be notified of your acceptance via email by late February/early March.


University of Wisconsin Madison Graduate Student Association