The Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies at the University of Mississippi invites you to come celebrate the 20th anniversary of our Isom Student Gender Conference, which will take place March 18-20. Our conference theme for spring 2020 is Crossing Borders. It is a timely topic and one that has always been at the forefront of inquiry in Gender Studies. One of the earliest scholars to question arbitratry lines of demarcation was Gloria Anzaldua. In her work Borderlands/ La Frontera, she draws upon her experience of growing up in Texas and uses it as a lens to theorize how:
Borders are set up to define the places that are safe and unsafe, to distinguish us from them.... It is in a constant state of transition. The prohibited and forbidden are its inhabitants ... the squint-eyed, the perverse, the queer, the troublesome, the mongrel, the mulato, the half-breed, the half dead; in short, those who cross over, pass over, or go through the confines of the “normal.” (25)
In times of crisis, we often retreat inside seemingly safe borders and vilify those who live beyond them. Political rhetoric urges that we secure our borders; social media is full of definitive pronouncements about absolute borders: between genders, between races, between nations, between religions, between political parties, between sinners and believers. Anzaldua highlights the dangers of borders and whom they exclude.
At the 2020 Isom Student Gender Conference, we encourage scholars to consider the importance of crossing borders in a variety of contexts: borders between theory and practice, the university and the community, national borders, boundaries of identity, borders between real and imagined spaces, boundaries in aesthetic spaces and political practice. All binaries we use to divide up people, species, nations, and concepts are potential borders to cross, and we encourage you to question any and all binary categories in your interdisciplinary scholarship.
Students are welcome to submit papers from all disciplines, along with creative writing projects such as fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Additionally, proposals for roundtable discussions that center on community building, advocacy, and social change both on and off the campus through the arts, social media, and student engagement with broader communities are encouraged.
A small number of domestic travel grants will be made available to non-University of Mississippi students.
Interested applicants should submit 250-word abstracts for individual papers or 500-word abstracts for panel proposals to the link below: https://tinyurl.com/2020ISGC
Submit proposals by January 31, 2020.