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K-State Today

March 24, 2011

Time for a revolution: First graduate student literature conference April 2

By Julie Fosberg

It's a literary revolution and everyone is invited to participate.

Revolution! is the title of the inaugural Regional Graduate Student Literature Conference, Saturday, April 2, at Kansas State University. A pre-conference talk is Friday, April 1. The conference, sponsored by the K-State department of English and the offices of the president and provost, is free with preregistration at http://www.k-state.edu/englush/gslitcon/index.html.

According to Karin Westman, head of the department of English, the conference is the first of its kind in the region. It's designed to highlight K-State's renewed focus on graduate student research and will feature panels, presentations, seminars and more.

This year's conference will explore the ways revolutions of all kind affect discipline. Most events will be in the Flint Hills Room at the K-State Student Union.

"Revolution! is inspired by Jasbir Puar's groundbreaking work, 'Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times,' which critiques contemporary configurations of sexuality, race, gender, nation, class and ethnicity," said Christina Hauck, associate professor of English and conference organizer.

"Using Puar's work as a touchstone for revolutionary readings, our conference will examine representations of revolution in its various forms -- cultural, political, textual and theoretical -- in British and American literature composed during any period," she said.

Puar, the guest speaker for the English department's 20th annual Cultural Studies Symposium, will give the pre-conference talk at 4 p.m. April 1 in the Little Theater at the K-State Student Union. Her presentation is free and the public is welcome.

Conference sessions being offered include early modern sexuality, the Harlem renaissance, literary problems and media shifts, queer reading, resisting oppression, and the sexing revolution.

"Organizing the conference has been a great experience," said Amber Dove, a K-State master's student in English from Grand Junction, Colo. "We have some excellent papers and the conference should be a lot of fun."

Students from universities across the Midwest are presenting at the conference, including K-State, Emporia State, Oklahoma, Northern Iowa, Tulsa, Louisiana State, Pittsburg State and Northwest Missouri State.

"The English department looks forward to welcoming colleagues and graduate students from the region to the K-State campus, so we can discuss how literature helps us describe, understand and change our world," Westman said.

"It's my hope that this conference will build intra-regional community and give developing student scholars a chance to form long-term relationships that will last beyond their graduate program," Hauck said.

K-State students, all graduate students in English, making presentations or serving on panel discussions at the conference include:

Zachary Powell, Bonner Springs, moderator for the Resisting Oppression session; Virginia Brunner, Herington, moderator for the Epochal Shifts session; Ashley Cook, Kansas City, Kan., will present "'This is My Ewe Lamb, and I have Set My Mark on Her, So No One Can Steal Her Away': Deviance and Ownership in Louisa May Alcott's 'Eight Cousins.'"

From Manhattan: Sara Austin will present "Teaching Rebellion: Knowledge and Agency in 'The Giver' and 'Paradise Lost'" and a be presenter for the Queer Reading seminar; Corene Brisendine is a presenter for the Early Modern Sexuality seminar; Christy Pottroff will present "Floral Revisions of Gender, Sexuality and Race in Virginia Woolf's 'Orlando' and Jeanette Winterson's 'The PowerBook'" and be a presenter for the Queer Reading seminar; Julie Anna Vonderharr, presenter for the Literary Problems and Media Shifts seminar; and Christel Woods, moderator for the Sexing Revolution panel.

Molly McKay, Olathe, will present "'You Can Put Me in a Straitjacket if You Like': Control and Reform in Louisa May Alcott's 'Eight Cousins.'"

From out of state:

Amber Dove, Grand Junction, Colo., presenter for the Early Modern Sexuality seminar; Angel Theriot, Houma, La., will present "'Big Bob's Out Tending the Garden': 'Fight Club's' Environmental Revolution" and is a presenter for the Literary Problems and Media Shifts seminar; Susan Lear, Kearney, Neb., presenter for the Harlem Renaissance seminar; Jacob Euteneuer, Lincoln, Neb., will present "Life in Gakahbekong: Cosmopolitanism, Tribal Nationalism and Magical Realism in Louise Erdich's 'The Antelope Wife'"; Margaret Borders, Denton, Texas, will present "The World's Greatest…Rat: Homosexuality and AIDS Hysteria in 'The Great Mouse Detective'"; Jackie Kleist, Washington, Wis., is moderator for Revolutionary Approaches to Alcott's "Eight Cousins" and will present "More than Victims: Versions of Feminine Power in Bapsi Sidhwa's 'Cracking India.'"