Past Conferences

The following list is a sampling of conferences, symposia, and other major events sponsored by the English department.

June 3-6, 2009: Class Matters: 2009 Working Class Studies Association Conference, co-chaired by Nick Coles, Department of English, University of Pittsburgh, and Charlie McCollester, Indiana University of Pennsylvania. WCSA promotes models of study, action, and cultural production that serve the interest of working class people. Its biennial gathering draws activists, artists, educators, scholars, students, and workers from around the United States and the world. Learn more about the Class Matters conference.

April 3 and 4, 2009: Remembering the Future: The Legacies of Radical Politics in the Caribbean. This colloquium, convened by Shalini Puri, offered the opportunity to investigate and assess the complex legacies of revolutionary politics in the Caribbean region and the global south more generally. 

October 11-14, 2007: Encountering New Worlds of Adoption, convened by Marianne Novy. How is Adoption Today Redefining Family, Parenthood, Identity? How are adoptees, birth parents, adoptive parents redefining adoption? Perspectives from literary critics, creative writers, anthropologists, philosophers, historians, sociologists, and others on representations, practices, histories, meanings, and experiences of adoption. Learn more about the Encountering New Worlds of Adoption conference.

March 23, 2007: The Virtues of Fidelity: Film Adaption as Literary Truth Event/Conference explored the ways in which newer, more sophisticated approaches can still accommodate forms of fidelity between two or more texts without having to reinscribe untenable distinctions between "original" and "copy," and without having to argue from an essentialist position that stages an impasse between linguistic and cinematic means of articulation. The conference also recognized and accounted for fidelity's cultural currency among filmmakers and audiences alike, no matter how impossible fidelity might be in a literal sense. Learn more about the Virtues of Fidelity conference.

October 26-28, 2006: African Novels and the Politics of Form, a conference convened by Susan Andrade, sought to put into dialogue novels written and published in most of the major literary languages of the continent-Arabic, English, French, and Portuguese-and to define the political and aesthetic relations between europhone African literature and the language and literature of the colonizing nation. The conference explored the critical purchase of national allegories and "politics of the possible" in such contexts and sought ways to move beyond reading African novels only through a thematics of anticolonial resistance. By focusing on form (genre, narrative mode), participants argued, we move from a simple cultural nationalism which assumes that the text is realist and transparent to a critical exploration of textual complexity. Learn more about the African Novels and the Politics of Form conference.

Nov. 29, 2006: William E. Coles, Jr.'s Concept of "Literacy": Jim Seitz used the term "literacy" to explore our colleague's work, focusing on his essay "Writing as Literacy: An Alternative to Losing."

Nov. 3, 2006: Colloquium on the Work of William E. Coles, Jr.
This is the first event focusing on the work of our colleague, Bill Coles, whose writing, teaching, and mentorship helped to shape our department's approaches to composition. David Bartholomae, "Robert Frost Reads Bill Coles"; Kathryn Flannery, "Composing in the Briar Patch"; Paul Kameen, "Conceptions of Self in The Plural I."

April 7 - 8, 2006: Graduate Student Conference: Historicizing Aesthetics/ Aestheticizing History: Theory, Practice, and Pedagogy of (Un)Making History.Learn more about the Historicizing Aesthetics/Aestheticizing History Conference.

October 27-29, 2005: "Comparative Postcolonialities," a conference convened by Shalini Puri, examined how postcolonial scholarship can move beyond the political pessimism that haunts both the discipline and our present political moment. Learn more about the Comparative Postcolonialities conference.

April 1-3, 2005: Eight leading scholars in rhetoric presented at the symposium on "Revisionist Classical Rhetorics: Contemporary Practices and Pedagogies," organized by the departments of English and Communication. The scholars offered lectures on the implications of their work in classical rhetoric for research and teaching in rhetoric.