CFP: Memory Remains

Submission deadline: December 16, 2011

Conference date(s):
March 31, 2012 - April 1, 2012

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Conference Venue:

English Graduate Student Association, Northeastern Universtity
Boston, United States

Topic areas


Northeastern University
Boston, MA
English Graduate Student Association
Call for Papers

March 31 – April 1, 2012 Keynote Speaker: Marita Sturken, Professor and Chair,
Department of Media, Culture, and Communication,
New York University Faculty Speaker: Erika Boeckeler, Assistant Professor of English, Northeastern University 

We invite submissions for our sixth annual conference, Memory Remains. Our conference seeks to explore the integral role that memory and its remains play in our daily lives — in public and private constructions of self and reality — as well as in individual and communal narratives.  Memory is transitory, yet seemingly permanent; it occupies the borders of ontology, reaching into our sensory and bodily awareness. In short, we rely on our capacity to remember to draw conclusions about ourselves and others, and yet memory is, at its base, unreliable, biased, and transient.

Memory’s remains are left over after a moment or an event’s conclusion: ruins in former colonial spaces, ephemera in archives, remnants of student writing, practiced or rehearsed personal narratives. To claim that memory remains is a bold pronouncement that argues for memory’s haunting quality, but also the resilience of memory, and its fundamental role in shaping human identity. Our conference invites the interrogation of memory and its remains, from across a number of different intellectual fields — anthropology, philosophy, rhetoric, cinema studies, psychology, sociology, geography, political science, history, the visual arts, literary studies, composition studies, narratology, or even biology and neuroscience — as well as methodologies.

You may submit individual abstracts of 250 words or panel proposals, for three participants, of 750 words to [email protected] by no later thanDecember 16, 2011. Please include your name(s), department(s), and university affiliation(s).

Call for Art:  We are also seeking original artwork, in any medium, for a conference-sponsored art exhibit that explores this year’s theme.  Works of art will be displayed throughout the conference event. Art submissions should include an image of the work, the title, media, dimensions, and artist’s contact information. Send submissions to[email protected] by no later than December 16, 2011.

Presenters might consider, but are not limited to, the following questions:

  • Is memory crucial to identity – national, personal, communal?
  • How do memory remains become part of myth?
  • How do the remains of trauma interact with memory?
  • How is memory, and its remains, characterized in novels and poetry?
  • Is visual memory important to narrative construction?
  • What is the legacy of memory remains in postcolonial spaces?
  • Why do we memorize?
  • Why do we archive?
  • How do we record and preserve our memories? What remains do we typically use?
  • Does collective memory exist and, if so, how does it influence a community?
  • What is the role of authenticity in memory?
  • What are earlier (perhaps classical) literary, historical, and rhetorical figurations of memory?
  • How has technology changed humanity’s relationship to internal memory, through externalizing the storage of its remains?
  • What is the role of memory in the college writing classroom, and its pedagogy?
  • How does memory “haunt” people, spaces, and official/unofficial histories?
  • What are the haunting remains of memory?
  • How does memory, and its repression or suppression, guide the rhetoric of war and violence?
  • What are the political and legal stakes of memory remains?

We urge scholars to comb through their own memory recesses for intellectual questions related to the construction, deployment, and absence of memory and its remains.   

“The original experiences of memory are irretrievable; we can only ‘know’ them through memory remains – images, objects, texts, stories.”  Marita Sturken

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