Graduate Department: Call for Papers:


The 2024 Annual CCNY English Graduate Conference
Conference Date: May 17, 2024
Submission Deadline: May 1, 2024

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In Orientalism, Edward Said states, “Knowledge means rising above immediacy, beyond self, into the foreign and distant.” For Said, this ecstatic process then is not just about foreignness but about definitions concerning otherness, too. That is, he implicitly conjures ideas surrounding the making of otherness and its implications in worldly discourse. In Exit West, when Mohsin Hamid writes, “In this group, everyone was foreign, and so, in a sense, no one was,” otherness, via difference, functions more as a hybridity that spreads and coalesces into a sameness. Being foreign, then, is an intrinsic aspect of belonging. Thus, the criteria for foreignness, and foreign bodies in general, is somewhat elusive; in some instances it’s predicated upon difference and in others, by collapsing in upon itself, it seems to unfold in an undulating plurality.

A foreign body, in medical terms, is something that originated elsewhere; an external object has found its way in. A foreign body not only splinters and disrupts, but it also induces new encounters and interactions. Of course, the phrase finds broader resonances. Marginalized individuals have historically been inscribed as “foreign” within dominant narratives; our own bodies can seem strange to us and become sites of estrangement; we might face the uncanny through contact with non-human beings. When the notion of the foreign depends on the demarcation of the us against the them, the I against the you, what can be said about alterity, power, and self-identification? The 2024 English Graduate Conference at the City College of New York invites you to take this theme and treat it as you wish.

Surely, this isn’t a new topic. Gertrude Stein famously said, “I write for myself and strangers,” which seems to suggest the very motivation of creation exists in otherness. And even if she was only half-serious, her assertion also points to the positive difference between herself and others — the one is because of the other. This Call for Papers welcomes you to explore and interrogate the topic of Foreign Bodies in a similar vein.

How are bodies (human and otherwise) made foreign? In your own work (academically or creatively), are you in dialogue with alterity and, if so, how does it enter your work? Is foreignness better encapsulated in language, and if so, in what capacity? How might processes and interactions revolving around the concept of hybridity reject the idea of the foreign? Do you write with or against your own body? Where do you end, and where does (an)other begin? Some themes you might consider include (but are not limited to):

  • embodiments & identities
  • literature of the diaspora
  • postcolonial literature
  • gender & sexuality
  • disability studies
  • psychoanalysis & the uncanny
  • ghosts & creatures
  • linguistics/language studies
  • medical humanities
  • myself and strangers
  • the parasite

Please submit proposals (250 words max.) to by Wednesday, May 1, 2024. Proposals should indicate the title, content, and format of your project. While we encourage critical presentations, we are also open to a variety of forms. Possibilities include the reading of an academic paper, a scholarly reflection, a creative work, a poetry reading, a video essay, a book review, or more. Submissions may also be co-authored, which might propose a joint presentation, performance, or panel discussion. All City College MA and MFA students are welcome to submit, as well as master’s students from other schools.