Wilson College Humanities Conference
Theme: The Animal Turn
Saturday, February 25, 2023: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST
Held in the Brooks Complex of Wilson College in Chambersburg, PA
Sponsored by Wilson College’s M.A. in Humanities Program
Since Harriet Ritvo's seminal article on "The Animal Turn" in 2007, scholarship has worked to find a redefinition of the human/animal divide and a rethinking of animal presence in literature, film, art, and other media. The Animal Turn evidences "an increasing scholarly interest in animals, in the relationships between humans and other animals, and in the role and status of animals in (human) society." The purpose of this conference is to explore the ways that this renegotiation of our approach to non-human animals finds expression in new approaches to old and current texts and media.
Some questions that this conference seeks to explore include: how do we think about, question, and reposition the relationship of humans to animals in our scholarship, and what are the consequences of such a revision? Is there an "Animal Turn" of scholarship, and if so, why is it happening now? How is it that our relationship to non-human animals defines who we are as humans, and as a result how we define the Humanities? How do our ideas of animals influence how we treat other humans in terms of race or gender? What are meaningful examples of animal agency, and what new approaches and challenges do these create for cultural work? If speech is what, ostensibly, divides humans from other animals, why is there such a rich tradition of stories featuring animal narrators, and what does animal narration mean? How can non-human animals, and their concerns, find voice?
This conference seeks to bring together a group of humanities students and scholars from around the region to share experiences of reading non-human animals and approaches for how to interpret them. Contributions from all disciplines of the humanities working with any kind of cultural product are welcome.
Faculty, graduate students, and independent scholars are invited to submit.
Undergraduate students may also submit abstracts, but their submission must include a letter of support from a current faculty member at their institution.
To submit a presentation, please send an abstract of approximately 200 words to the e-mail address below.
Send abstracts to:
Dr. Wendell P. Smith
Associate Professor of Spanish
Please submit the abstract as either a .rtf, .doc, or .docx file, or simply place it in the text of the e-mail itself.
Please be sure that your abstract includes your full name, your affiliated institution (if there is none, simply note that), your e-mail, and the full title of your presentation.
Individual presentations will last no more than 15 minutes; panels of up to 3 individuals may be submitted as well. Special panels or panels of creative approaches are happily considered; please contact the conference director for more information. Each conference participant may submit only one abstract.
Abstracts are due by Monday January 16, 2023.
The conference is sponsored by Wilson College's M.A. in Humanities program, in conjunction with the Master of Applied Leadership Program.
All presentations should last no more than 15 minutes (that is approximately 7 pages of text typed, double-spaced, in Times New Roman 12-point font). Panelists will be placed into groups of 3. All panels will last one hour, providing ten minutes for questions. If you are submitting a full panel, please note which of the 3 presenters will act as panel chair and in what order you would prefer to present.
 Peters, Anne, Stucki, Saskia; Boscardin, Livia: The Animal Turn – what is it and why now?, VerfBlog, 2014/4/14, https://verfassungsblog.de/the-animal-turn-what-is-it-and-why-now/, DOI: 10.17176/20181005-170420-0
Wendell P. Smith, Associate Professor of Spanish