Violation: Representations in Literature and Culture

An Interdisciplinary Conference Sponsored by the McGill University English Department.

February 20-22, 2015. 

Thomson House, McGill University. 3650 Rue McTavish, Montréal.


Professor Rinaldo Walcott, Director of the Women and Gender Studies Institute and Associate Professor, Department of Social Justice Education, University of Toronto.
The Long Emancipation: Anti-Blackness, Settlement and the Problem of Nation.


Professor Katherine Zien, Assistant Professor, Department of English, McGill University.
Minstrels of Empire: Black Labor and Blackface in Panama and the Canal Zone, 1850-1930.


The McGill English Department’s Twenty-First Annual Graduate Student Conference invites submissions on literary and cultural engagements with violation. Violation can signify multiply: violating rules and regulations, violating genre or generic conventions, violating treaties, violating the body, violating expectations, violating intellectual property and copyright, violating social and cultural conventions, violating promises, violating standardized constructions of gender and sexuality, violating religious codes, violating privacy, violating human rights and dignities, and more. How are these political, stylistic, generic, bodily, and social infractions figured in diverse literary and cultural contexts? How do various mediums negotiate the concept of violation, both historically and in the contemporary moment? Potential topics can include, but are not limited to:
– appropriations, unsanctioned circulation, and other infringements of copyright
– generic and stylistic defilements, dissident poetics, revisionist aesthetics
– religious and political dissention, unauthorized catechisms, Apocrypha
– individual, collective, and inter-generational traumas
– psychological and affective disturbances
– human and civil rights violations
– colonialism, anti-colonialism, postcolonialism
– treaty violations, enforced assimilation, communal and cultural evictions
– de-standardizations of language, rehabilitating oralities, Writing Back
– transnational and diasporic affiliations
– representations of sexual and gendered violences
– torture, bodily intrusions, framing violences, suffering bodies
– deprivations of citizenship and legal protection, international humanitarian legalities
– environmental encroachments, ecological disputes, degradation of natural landscapes, eco-criticism
– suburban development, gentrification, histories of geographical exclusion
– breaches of theatrical convention, genealogies of the staged body, postdramatics
– televisual and cinematic experimentation, visual mediations
We are interested in receiving submissions in the fields of: languages and literature, cultural studies, drama, performance and theatre, art history and communication studies, history, geography, classics, political science, international development, ethnic studies, native studies, gender and women studies, philosophy, theology and religious studies, and more. We hope that this conference will span a wide range of time periods, geographical spaces, and cultural contexts. Conference presentations should not exceed twenty minutes. Proposals for consideration will be blind-vetted. Please submit a 250-word abstract plus a cover sheet with your name, University affiliation, contact information, and a brief biography of your academic interests and achievements. Please send your proposal as an email attachment in .doc or .pdf format to violationconference@gmail.com by DECEMBER 1, 2014.
PDF version available here: 2015 McGill CFP

This conference has been organized by Carolyn Ownbey and Sarah Stunden.

THANK YOU to the McGill University Department of English, the English Graduate Student Association, and the following organizations for their sponsorship, without which this event would not be possible:

McGill Alumni Association

2015 DADF Logo