Call for Papers: Transformations: An Interdisciplinary Graduate Symposium, April 5-6, 2018

Chrissy Lau's picture
Call for Papers
April 5, 2018 to April 6, 2018
Texas, United States
Subject Fields: 
Literature, Humanities, Women's & Gender History / Studies, Borderlands

Call for Papers

Transformations: An Interdisciplinary Graduate Symposium

Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi

April 5-6, 2018

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Lily Wong

Deadline for Abstracts: February 2, 2018

In the inaugural issue of Transgender Studies Quarterly, professor and graphic novelist A. Finn Enke wrote: “translation creates two things: first, something new; and second, the illusion that there was an original from which the translation sprang. But there is no original: the poem is a medium, a conveyance.” In addition to translation, many other forms of change and alteration involve the negotiation of power and potential, what Enke calls “the dance between.” At this year’s College of Liberal Arts Graduate Symposium, we will explore this “dance between” as a trans-motion, one that moves “across, through, over, to or on the other side of, beyond, outside of, from one place, person, things, or state to another’s.”

Under the theme of “Transformations,” this symposium hopes to traverse a range of disciplines and perspectives across the campus and our region. Our focus, broadly construed, encompasses concepts such as change, metamorphosis, flows & movements, adaptations & conversions. How do translations from one language to another, one medium to another, or one cultural context to another transform our understandings of works of literature, history, or art? How do movements across spatial borders, real or imagined, transform those who undertake these crossings? How have revolutions or other radical undertakings transformed our interpretations of history and memory? How do bodily modifications and adaptations transform the lives of those who inhabit those bodies? And what are the many shapes that personal transformation can take for those who participate in any of these processes?

One of the main concepts this symposium hopes to explore is a focus on the “transnational.” For instance, how does popular media circulate across communities around the globe and blur or clarify boundaries of citizenship, nationalism, and internationalism? Our keynote speaker, Dr. Lily Wong, an emerging scholar on Transpacific Chinese, Sinophone, and Asian American Literature, will discuss her new book, “Transpacific Attachments: Sex Work, Media Networks, and Affective Histories of Chineseness," which focuses on the figure of the sex worker to examine shifting formations of Chineseness in the United States, China and Sinophone communities across the early twentieth century to the present.

We invite submissions on any humanistic approach to the rubric of “trans” and the concept of “transformations” from graduate scholars working in a broad range of fields across the humanities, including but not limited to the fields of literature, history, theater and dance, women, gender and sexuality studies, environmental humanities, oceanic studies, digital humanities, and ethnic studies. Panels might take up questions of translation, transnational, or transgender studies, as well as questions related to transformation broadly construed. Abstracts from undergraduate researchers, creative writers, artists, and performers are also welcome, as are proposals for non-traditional panel formats. Papers that adopt interdisciplinary perspectives and employ diverse theoretical vantage points are encouraged. Presentations should be limited to 15 minutes. The symposium will be open to the public.


Possible paper topics include (but are not limited to):


  • Migration and Diaspora
  • War and Displacements
  • Borderlands


  • Translated works
  • Translators
  • Multi-lingual works and communities

Transgender Studies:

  • Transgender identities/communities
  • Histories of transgender activism or outreach
  • Visual arts and transgender identities
  • Transformations of queer identities and communities


  • Adaptations and their historical moments
  • Famous works across media
  • Transmedial and digital expressions; working across platforms and systems
  • Transformations from imaginative expression to physical/material expression

Historical Re-Interpretation

  • Revision and re-periodization
  • Revolutions and social movements
  • Environmental change and justice

The Transhistorical:

  • Concepts or struggles that seem “timeless”
  • Imagined futures and counterfactual histories
  • Cyclical or recurring movements, events, periods


  • Narratives or histories of religious or spiritual conversion
  • Changes in psychological or physiological states
  • Transactions between experience and memory


To apply, please submit:

- A 500-word abstract describing the paper’s argument, critical context, and significance. Please include your name, contact information, and paper title with the abstract.

- An up-to-date CV.

- A brief biography (200-300 words)

Where to submit:

Abstracts, CVs, and bios should be submitted via email to:

Any questions may also be directed to this address.

Deadline for Abstracts: Friday, February 2nd, 2018

Acceptances will be sent out by early March.

Contact Info: 


Chrissy Lau

Lucy Sheehan

Sarah Salter