Conference Program

Check out the 2018 Program.

Friday, February 23rd

Registration is located outside Old Madison on the third floor and will be kept open from 3:30 to 5:00pm.

Keynote Address
“Up Against the Law; or, The Impossible Color of Separation”
Professor Colin Dayan, Vanderbilt University
Room: Old Madison (3rd floor)

Professor Colin Dayan is Professor of English, Robert Penn Warren Professor in the Humanities, and Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University. She works in prison law and legal language in a non-human terrain; the literary and religious history of the Americas; Caribbean Literature; and African American Studies. The recipient of numerous awards including Danforth, NEH, and Guggenheim fellowships, she has written for The Yale Review, New York Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the London Review of Books, Boston Review, and other publications. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012. Her books include Haiti, History, and the Gods; The Story of Cruel and Unusual; The Law is a White Dog; and With Dogs at the Edge of Life. She is currently at work on a book called Melville’s Creatures and a memoir—as yet untitled—about her mother and the South in the 1960s.

Room: Beefeaters (3rd floor)

Saturday, February 24th

Registration is located outside of Old Madison on the third floor and will be open from 8:00am to 5:00pm.

8:00 – 8:30am
Breakfast and Coffee
Room: Old Madison A (3rd floor)

8:30 – 9:45am
Panel 1: Nationalism
Room: Old Madison A (3rd floor)
Moderator: Professor Martin Foys, University of Wisconsin-Madison
• Elaine Cannell, University of Wisconsin-Madison: “‘The Still Burning’: Female Embodiment and the Accumulation of History in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao”
• Kitty Shropshire, Carnegie Mellon University: “Making Revolutionaries: The Turner Diaries and the Production of White Nationalism”
• Kassie Jo Baron, University of Iowa: “Escaping Franklin’s Gothic Commerce”
• Sarah Friedman, University of Wisconsin-Madison: “War and Rape Culture in Troilus and Criseyde”

10:00 – 11:15am
Panel 2: Species and Sensation
Room: Old Madison A (3rd floor)
Moderator: Professor Katie Lanning, University of Wisconsin-Madison
• Jared Seymour, University of Wisconsin-Madison: “‘All the Species were Peculiar’: Species Thinking and Nationalism in George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda”
• Naomi Salmon, University of Wisconsin-Madison: “Staging Reception: Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Fictional Avatars Face off in the Victorian Press”
• Aaron Vieth, University of Wisconsin-Madison: “Reparative Evidence: How to Get Away with Murder in The Woman in White and Why You Should”

Roundtable: Medievalisms and White Nationalisms
Room: Old Madison B (3rd floor)
Moderator: Maxwell Gray, University of Wisconsin-Madison
This roundtable is organized by the Graduate Association of Medieval Studies (GAMS) and will feature a conversation by the following University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate students: Lauren Poyer (German, Nordic, and Slavic), Patricia Ruiz-Rivera (Comparative Literature), Olivia Ernst (English), Meredith Nnoka (English), Tristan Matthia Mueller-Vollmer (German, Nordic, and Slavic), Weishun Lu (English), and Christine Evans  German, Nordic, and Slavic).

11:15 – 12:15pm
Consult your welcome packet for restaurant suggestions!

12:15 – 1:30pm
Plenary Address
“Light of the Everlasting Life: Disability, Xenophobia, and Anglo-Saxon Apocalypticism”
Leah Pope Parker, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Room: Old Madison (3rd floor)

In the late tenth and early eleventh centuries, Anglo-Saxon England faced repeated attacks by Viking armies, resulting in the deaths of kings, the despoliation of religious houses, and widespread assaults upon the developing English nation and its people. Many Anglo-Saxon Christians interpreted their chaotic circumstances as signs of the imminent apocalypse in the decades surrounding the year 1000. This talk traces Anglo-Saxon anticipation of the apocalypse in Old English homilies, preaching texts composed for both oral and written dissemination, which made complex theological doctrines available to the larger Anglo-Saxon populace through parables of easily recognizable lived experiences of religious practice and the physical body. For example, Ælfric of Eynsham’s homily on the Healing at the Pool of Bethesda parses various forms of disability as anti-Semitic metaphors for the spiritual “impairments” of Jews, while Wulfstan of York’s Sermo Lupi ad Anglos utilizes the physical vagaries of Viking attacks—plague, famine, sexual assault—to narrate the imminence of the apocalypse. The rhetorical use of disability in these homilies structures a xenophobic system of Otherness that is external to the cultural Self, in opposition to that which is tolerable or even acceptable within the cultural Self. Through the representation of outsiders—both those external to the Anglo-Saxon Christian community, such as Jews and Vikings, and those within the community, such as people with disabilities and survivors of sexual assault—these homilies construct promises of resurrection and salvation as part of the coming Christian apocalypse. These medieval means of using marginalized groups to imagine the “light of the everlasting life,” as one homilist described salvation, in turn shed new light on the imbrication of nationalism and apocalyptic anticipation, as well as the mythology of white Anglo-Saxon ethnic homogeneity in the present day.

Leah Pope Parker is a PhD candidate in English at UW-Madison, completing a dissertation titled “Body Eschatology: Disability, Death, and the Afterlife in Early Medieval England.” Her work is forthcoming in The Journal of English and Germanic Philology and a volume on Disability, Monstrosity, and the Posthuman in the Medieval and Early Modern World (Palgrave Macmillan). In addition to embodiment and eschatology, her research interests include neurodiversity, homiletics, and manuscript studies.

1:45 – 3:00pm
Panel 3: Apocalypse
Room: Old Madison A (3rd floor)
Moderator: Professor David Zimmerman, University of Wisconsin-Madison
• Sarah Olson, University of Wisconsin-Madison: “One Human is a Disappointment: Superorganisms and Super-Ideas in Allison Cobb’s After We All Died”
• Philip Savage, University of Washington: “Kurt Vonnegut: End Times and Paleo-Humanist Alternatives to Neoliberalism”
• Sara Gabler Thomas, University of Wisconsin-Madison: “The Climate of Territory: Colonial History and Hurricanes in the Poetry of Vincent Toro”

3:15 – 4:30pm
Panel 4: Modernists, Modernities, and the Nation
Room: Old Madison A (3rd floor)
Moderator: Phil Bandy, University of Wisconsin-Madison
• Anna Muenchrath, University of Wisconsin-Madison: “America, Harlem, Germany: Political Belonging between the Wars, or Rethinking the Nation in Translation”
• Patricia Ruiz-Rivera, University of Wisconsin-Madison: “Capturing Nationalist Violence, Trauma, and Apocalypse: The Use of Photography in the Literature of Julio Cortázar”
• Erica Kanesaka Kalnay, University of Wisconsin-Madison: “Modern Enchantment and the Advent of Color in Children’s Picture Books: England, American, Japan”

4:45 – 6:00pm
Skin of the Dog: Roundtable Discussion with Colin Dayan
Room: Old Madison A (3rd floor)
Moderator: Laura Perry, University of Wisconsin-Madison
A roundtable discussion with Colin Dayan on “Skin of the Dog” from her book The Law is a White Dog (Princeton UP 2011) and in response to her conference keynote. Potential topics include dogs, ghosts, slaves, felons, terror suspects, and civil society’s ability to marginalize and exclude both animals and humans.

Closing Remarks and Conference Dinner
Room: Beefeaters (3rd floor)

Programs for past conferences are available here.