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Department of English


The 3rd Annual Regional Graduate Student Literature Conference

March 30, 2013


Seminars are a relatively new development in our discipline, but they are rapidly becoming an integral part of many important conferences (CSA, MSA, etc). Organized around a specialized topic within the general parameters of the conference theme, seminars bring together small groups of scholars who circulate short drafts before the conference and meet to discuss their work under the guidance of a more senior scholar. These short papers (4-5 pages) give students an opportunity to summarize work already underway or to sketch out new work. Seminars offer an engaging alternative to the standard three-person panel, allowing for a more sustained exchange of ideas and methodologies, as well as laying the groundwork for future collaboration. Seminars are an ideal venue for beginning and advanced students at the MA and Ph.D. level.


Creating Digital Editions
Dr Amanda Gailey, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

The digital environment offers many possibilities for collecting and representing literary and historical texts: for example, some digital editions attempt to represent the compositional histories of texts, while others may use maps to historically contextualize literature. This seminar will offer participants the opportunity to explore the current landscape of digital literary studies and textual editing. Participants may explore and respond to an established digital archive, such as the Whitman Archive, the William Blake Archive, the History of Black Writing Archive, The Tar Baby and the Tomahawk Archive, or the First World War Poetry Archive; propose a digital editing project; or workshop an ongoing digital text project.

Amanda Gailey is Assistant Professor of English and Fellow of the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she teaches nineteenth-century American literature and digital humanities. She is the co-editor of Scholarly Editing: The Annual of the Association for Documentary Editing and of the digital archive The Tar Baby and the Tomahawk: Race and Ethnic Images in American Children’s Literature, 1880-1939.

Adaptations of Early Modern Texts: Tribute and Transcendence
Dr Susan Kendrick, Emporia State University

Many writers use texts from the literary canon as inspiration for adapted and revised works. For instance, film critic David Desser notes that the acclaimed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa composed scripts that were “chronological, causal, linear and historical” because the director was inspired to use some of the same formal features as classical Western playwrights, like Shakespeare. Kurosawa’s composition and direction also borrow heavily from Shakespeare’s plots and themes, although those plots and themes are most often situated in a specifically Japanese historical and culture context. This kind of adaptation begs questions about the intent and method of such intertextual modalities. When later writers adapt that text for a different genre, they usually reveal the interconnectedness and simultaneous transcendence of particular literary genres and periods. In doing so, they may either romanticize the past or use historiographic constructions to present cultural commentary on the present.

As we consider adaptations of texts from the British Early Modern period in this seminar, we will also attend to the construction, context and rhetorical aims of the texts upon which those adaptations are based. We will do so by considering the following questions:

•How does a text reflect the period in which it was written?

•How do adaptations of a text shift that period-specific reflection?

•How do the adapted texts reflect cultural attitudes and reactions to the texts that inspire them? 

•How do they affect our understanding of early modern writers as well as contemporary situations?

•What struggles regarding identity are evident in these adaptations? 

In your position paper, I will ask that you explore and analyze texts and films that revisit and rework an early modern text. Some examples include:

William Shakespeare, King Lear and Akira Kurosawa, Ran or A Thousand Acres (novel, Jane Smiley; film dir. Jocelyn Moorhouse)
Shakespeare, Othello and Oscar Zarate, Othello or Vishal Bhardwaj, Omkara or Tim Blake Nelson, O
Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew and John Fletcher, The Woman’s Prize, or the Tamer Tamed or Cole Porter, Kiss Me, Kate or Franco Zeffirelli, The Taming of the Shrew or Dave Richards and Sally Wainwright, The Taming of the Shrew or Gil Junger, 10 Things I Hate About You
Christopher Marlowe, The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustusand Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust or Akira Kurosawa, Ikiru
Marlowe, Edward II and Bertolt Brecht, The Life of Edward II of England or Derek Jarman, Edward II

Colorlines/Racelines in Post-Civil Rights African American Literature
Dr Cameron Leader-Picone, Kansas State University

Racial identities construct borderlines. However, racial identities have always been more fluid than census categories and popular perception implies. This seminar will focus on how borderlines both between and within racial identities manifest fluidity and contestation in the post-civil rights era. The end of de jure segregation through Civil Rights advocacy represented a major legal advance for African Americans. However, as the nation publicly debates the possibility or desirability of a post-racial or colorblind society, it is critical to examine the representation of the complexity of racial identities. The borderlines between racial identities illuminate how race continues to be salient in American culture while eluding concrete definition. While the focus of the seminar is on African American literature, we welcome papers that mirror the fluidity of the subject matter, including papers on authors of any racial background that engage with the topic. Such papers could address any of the following suggested questions or topics:

•Are racial borderlines sites of syncretism or of conflict?

•How permeable are these borders, both in terms of social acceptance of their transgression and in constructing and imagining the self?

•Mixed race identities and literature

•Afro-Latino identities and literature

•Race and immigration

•Code-switching, language and the performance of identity

•Passing narratives


•The New Black Aesthetic and “cultural mulattism”

•The figure of the tragic mulatto

•Strategic identity “border-crossing” in literature

•Racial identity borderlines as sites of social transgression

•Gender and/or sexuality and race

Cameron Leader-Picone received his Ph.D. in African and African American Studies from Harvard University in 2009. He has taught in the Harvard Writing Program and at Ithaca College. He is currently working on a book on contemporary African American Literature and the representation of racial identity. The book examines the meaning of African American literature in the context of public discourses on post-racialism, colorblindness, and multiculturalism.

Transatlantic Authorship, Readership, and Publishing in the Nineteenth Century
Dr Jennifer Phegley, University of Missouri, Kansas City

In the past decade, scholars have begun to revise their understanding of the relationship between English and American literary culture in the nineteenth century. Instead of characterizing English literature as dominant and American literature as subservient, scholars like Amanda Claybaugh, Paul Giles, and Meredith McGill have begun to see literature in English as one common culture linked by an interrelated publishing system dominated by periodicals. For example, in his book Transatlantic Insurrections, Giles claims that “British-American culture” is marked less by patterns of dominance and resistance than by “the more discomfiting figures of mirroring and twinning.” In this seminar, we will explore the interdependence of the two national literary cultures, how English and American authors and publishers collaborated and competed, and the impact the transatlantic reading public had on literary production and the development of generic forms such as Sensationalism, Sentimentality, and Realism. Papers may focus on topics such as the publication and critical reception of English writers in the United States and American writers in England; the transatlantic culture of literary “piracy” and “reprinting” in the absence of an international copyright law; novel serialization and reader responses on both sides of the Atlantic; and relationships among English and American writers, publishers, periodical editors, and audiences. You do not need to have experience with Transatlantic Studies, but should have an interest in developing your knowledge of the field and in examining nineteenth-century literary movements, writers, and print culture.

Jennifer Phegley is Professor of English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she teaches nineteenth-century literature. She has written numerous books and articles including Educating the Proper Woman Reader: Victorian Family Literary Magazines and the Cultural Health of the Nation (2004) and Courtship and Marriage in Victorian England (2011). She is also co-editor of Reading Women: Literary Figures and Cultural Icons From the Victorian Age to the Present (2005), Teaching Nineteenth-Century Fiction (2010), and Transatlantic Sensations (2011).

Gender, Sexuality, and Nation in American Indian Literatures
Dr. Lisa Tatonetti, Kansas State University

This seminar examines the entwined threads of gender, sexuality, and nationhood in Indigenous literatures. Many conversations in the field of American Indian literary criticism center contemporary Indigenous nationalisms and Indigenous sovereignty. This seminar will consider nationalism and sovereignty through the lens of gender and sexuality. The history of settler colonialism in the U.S. is, after all, intimately tied to the imposition of a heteropatriarchal norm through which settler subjects attempted to elide Indigenous forms of gender, sexuality, and kinship vis-à-vis physical and ideological attacks on alternately gendered peoples, anti-polygamy laws, government boarding schools, and sterilization programs, to name just a few examples. The canon of American Indian literatures speaks directly to these overlapping histories. In this seminar, we will analyze the imbricated nature of nation, gender, and sexuality in Native texts. Papers are welcome to address a wide array of topics including the texts and/or contexts tied to Indigenous nationalism, cosmopolitanism, Indigenous feminisms, Native masculinities, and/or the rise of Queer Native literatures and lenses.

Lisa Tatonetti is an associate professor of English and American Ethnic Studies at Kansas State University where she studies, teaches, and publishes on American Indian literatures with a focus in Two-Spirit studies. She is co-editor of Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature (U Arizona P, 2011) with Qwo-Li Driskill, Daniel Heath Justice, and Deborah Miranda and is currently completing a book project entitled Queering American Indian Literature: The Rise of Contemporary Two-Spirit Texts and Criticism.

Students wishing to enroll in a seminar should submit a 250-300-word statement of interest.

EXTENDED DEADLINE to request seminar enrollment: February 14, 2013.

Please direct all correspondence to

Dr. Christina Hauck, Director of British and American Literature: gs_litcon@ksu.edu.


Return to call for papers: www.k-state.edu/english/gslitcon.