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CfP: Graduate student conference “Speak OUT! Shut UP!”

April 5-6, 2019, Deadline January 15, 2019

The graduate students of the
School of Literatures, Cultural Studies and Linguistics
University of Illinois at Chicago
are pleased to announce their third interdisciplinary graduate student conference

“Converging Narratives: Speak OUT! – Shut UP!”

April 5-6, 2019
Chicago, Illinois

Keynote speaker
Elisabeth Ladenson, Professor of French and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

The interdisciplinary graduate student conference — Converging Narratives: Speak OUT! – Shut UP! — will focus on voice, specifically how political, cultural, and social pressures can silence and/or amplify it.

Whether it is a free choice or induced, past and present societies have innumerable instances of people who have been forced into silence or whose circumstances have compelled them to risk speaking out. Dissidents imprisoned for political resistance like Martin Niemöller, Andrei Sakharov and Nelson Mandela, and artists acting as public intellectuals like Emile Zola (J’accuse) or Günter Grass on the campaign trail, are just some influential examples. Contemporary movements like #BLM and #MeToo are platforms for community members who can no longer accept the blind eye often turned to oppression and abuse. All of these speakers find their voices celebrated and echoed as well as criticized by opposing forces. In addition, and at times in parallel, we recognize that other people and groups have been and are effectively silenced in numerous ways: whether through censorship, murder, repression, or through the imposition of a dominant language explicitly or implicitly silencing minority ones.

In this conference we would like to investigate how silencing and raising one’s voice have been addressed in the past and how these phenomena function today. How do they relate or how can we relate them to each other? What can we learn from the past to better understand the present? How did and do these movements and reactions engage with their surrounding environment?

We are listing below some suggestions but we are very open to papers that go beyond them or engage the topic in a surprising way:

  • modern social media driven protest
  • political dissidents and protests
  • religious oppression and denunciations
  • cultural oppression
  • oppressed ethnic minorities
  • overpowered ethnic/minority languages
  • gender oppression
  • inner immigration
  • the Holocaust and other genocides, their representation or denial
  • colonialism and postcolonialism
  • sexual and/or domestic abuse
  • opposition vs. silence vs. collaboration
  • censorship – political, legal or social
  • aesthetic silencing/speaking
  • the limits of free speech
  • voice and voicelessness

We strongly encourage proposals submitted by graduate students from all disciplines (including, but not limited to, Hispanic and Italian Studies, Germanic Studies, Slavic and Baltic Studies, French and Francophone Studies, Portuguese and Lusophone Studies, Classics and Mediterranean Studies, English, Sociology, Film Studies, Art and Architecture, History, Political Science, Anthropology, Gender and Women’s Studies, Philosophy, African American Studies, and Global Asian Studies). We also welcome dance, theatrical, literary, and cinematic contributions. Contributions will be grouped into panels, and all presenters on a panel will share their work in advance with one another in order to facilitate discussion. Please submit a short bio (no longer than 50 words) and an abstract (no longer than 300 words) to by January 15, 2019.