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CfP: System Crash: Risk, Crisis, Literature

Call for Papers
System Crash: Risk, Crisis, Literature
2010 SFU English Graduate Student Critical & Creative Conference

Simon Fraser University: (Thursday June 10th – Saturday, June 12th)
Submission deadline:  March 15th (

We are surrounded by the language of crisis: financial meltdown (economic systems), environmental catastrophe (ecological systems), terrorist attack (nation-state systems). These crises permeate our discourses of global, regional, institutional, and personal experience. The university is no exception; it too faces crises of disintegrating disciplinary boundaries, collapsing departments, reduced funding, and radical shifts from textual to visual culture. Despite the material (and discursive) specificities of these recent crises, the language of crisis and concomitant sense of immediacy are nothing new; authors, theorists, cultural producers, and readers have always struggled with the crises of their times. Some attempt to contain crisis, while others attempt to incite it; all make reference the fragility of socio-economic, socio-political and ecological systems that are precarious by their very nature. The 2010 SFU English Graduate Student conference asks the question of how literature and culture engage with crisis now. Thematic streams and suggested panels include: Neoliberalism and the University, Canadian Literature and Borders, Historical Representations of Crises, Subject Matters, Crises of Form. We welcome submissions on these or on related topics addressed in the questions/keywords below:

KEYWORDS: etymology and history of the crisis – economic history – medium/form/genre – language/linguistics – media and technology – mimesis – copyright – property (private and public) – capitalism – the culture industry – the body – food and food production – sustainable development – consumption – faith/belief – subjectivity – neoliberalism – the nation-state – citizenship – immigration – borders – disciplines/divisions/departments – education.

QUESTIONS: What is the history of crisis? How has crisis been represented? What were/are the mediums, forms, and genres used to represent crisis? How has technology altered form, content, and subjective experience? How has capitalism altered our understanding of the subject and its body? How is the body consumed and commodified? How are geo-political borders, crossings and exiles represented in literature, art or film?

The 2010 SFU English Graduate Student conference is pleased to present two events designed to inform, compliment and expand upon the formal panels of Friday and Saturday. The first encourages creative submissions that deal with the art(s) of crisis and the second is an activist plenary (Saturday, June 12th) that will explore possibilities of social activism in the university. Below is an outline and prompt for creative submissions:

Creative Presentations, Discussions and Investigations: Friday, June 11th:
Reading, rousing, and responding to categorical crises, creative texts may incorporate any or all of the above critical classifications. Conversely, submissions to our creative cluster may seek to challenge or disrupt whatever is holding these theories in place—stirring textual crises that tremble from the level of the word and shake loose the binds of social order. Writers should consider: how do we write “going wrong”? And more importantly, why do we try?

The 2010 SFU Graduate conference is also pleased to announce this year’s Keynote speaker, Dr. Marc Bousquet, author of How the University Works: Higher Education and the Low Wage-Nation (2008). Dr Bousquet will be speaking during the first day of the conference, Thursday June 10th.

Proposals for complete panels are encouraged.

Please submit a 300 – 400 word abstract by MARCH 15, 2010 to

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