CFP - Oscillations of Gender & Genre: Intersections of the Literary and Visual Arts (9-12 November 2016, Illinois State University)

Melissa Johnson's picture
Call for Papers
November 9, 2016 to November 12, 2016
Illinois, United States
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Fine Arts, Literature, Theatre & Performance History / Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies

Illinois State University is hosting an interdisciplinary symposium titled "Oscillations of Gender & Genre: Intersections of the Literary and Visual Arts" to be held 9-12 November 2016.

Keynote speakers: Jen Bervin, Dianna Frid, and Cecilia Vicuña

We are interested in the intellectual dialogues that emerge from the work of artists inspired by the writing of women, and vice versa. The symposium will be held concurrent with the exhibition “Strange Oscillations and Vibrations of Sympathy” (University Galleries, 25 October – 18 December 2016). The exhibit explores the concepts of reading and writing as gendered experiences, and will include work by Jen Bervin, Stephanie Brooks, Anne Collier, Moyra Davey, Marcelline Delbecq, Dianna Frid, Melissa Pokorny, Dawn Roe, Kay Rosen, Carrie Schneider, Xaviera Simmons, Lisa Tan, Cecilia Vicuña, and Deborah Willis, among others. The writers evoked, alluded to, or referenced in the exhibition include Octavia Butler, A.S. Byatt, Emily Dickinson, Clarice Lispector, Toni Morrison, Sylvia Plath, Mary Shelley, Gertrude Stein, Gabriela Mistral, and Virginia Woolf. The exhibition title “Strange Oscillations and Vibrations of Sympathy” is derived from a phrase that Sylvia Plath underlined in her copy of Virginia Woolf's The Waves, and that Chicago-based artist Stephanie Brooks later appropriated for a text-based artwork.

Taking inspiration from the exhibition, the symposium seeks to interrogate the implications of the conceptual and aesthetic work presented in the exhibition and to expand the dialogue to include other artists, writers, and scholars. The Symposium will feature talks by artists who have work in the exhibition: Brooklyn-based artist/poet Jen Bervin, Chilean artist/poet Cecilia Vicuña, and Chicago-based artist Dianna Frid.

We invite submissions for 20-minute presentations on the many possible intersections of gender and genre in the literary, visual, and performing arts. Our hope is to delve into the junctures such creative and intellectual collaborations evoke and to invite further discussion about the peculiar nexuses of literary and visual creativity, the gendered forms and experiences of literature and art, and the intellectual conversations that happen between women across time and space as they respond to and build upon one another’s creative forms of expression. Presentations may explore (but are not limited to) such topics as:

  • The Political and creative progress of feminism
  • Visual representations of literary legacies and vice versa
  • The gendering or ungendering of genres through writing, art, and/or performance
  • The exploration of artists whose work is visual and literary

Both the exhibition and the symposium are interdisciplinary and international in scope, and we encourage work from the fields of art, theater, literary and cultural studies, performance studies, translation studies, feminism, and gender studies, engaging any region or regions of the world in ways that further the creative and intellectual dialogue about gender and genre. With all of this in mind, we welcome both scholarly papers and presentations of creative research. In addition to proposals from scholars, we encourage submissions from graduate and advanced undergraduate students.

Please send 250-500-word abstracts by Friday, July 1, 2016 to Melissa Johnson (Art History/Visual Culture): and Juliet Lynd (Languages, Literature, & Cultures/Spanish): Inquiries welcome.

Presenters will be notified of acceptance by August 1 and we will request presentation materials to share ahead of the symposium by October 26.


Contact Info: 

Melissa Johnson, Associate Professor, Art History & Visual Culture, School of Art, Illinois State University

Contact Email: