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"Back to the Roots:" A Virtual Student Conference

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Conference Program

Book of Abstracts


Since Alexander Pope’s maxim “the proper study of mankind is man” in his An Essay on Man (1734), the humanities, especially the study of languages and literatures, has come a long way, meandering through various rises and falls. Oscillating between a “discipline in crisis” and a “discipline with a future,” the study of English and its literature seems to have striven for ages to catch up with the latest developments in science, technology, and culture on one hand, while on the other, it has been harshly criticized for not being “productive enough” to sustain the “human capital” needed for “creating value” in a business-oriented world. Just a decade ago, however, in his The Global Future of English Studies (2012), James F. English observed aptly that “our future” in departments of English around the globe “will be shaped as much by our discipline’s conservatism as by its capacity for self-reinvention” (9).

Finding its balance, in the third decade of the twenty-first century, between a long-established tradition and a thirst for innovation, studies in English have now moved beyond the fear of a potential disciplinary collapse. Its tendency for multidisciplinarity and its openness to collaboration with other sister fields from the humanities and social sciences—such as history, sociology, and anthropology—have made literary studies in English an open source for development, which paved the way for the emergence of cultural studies, including sub-disciplines and theoretical fields such as gender studies and critical race theory. With the rise of new philosophical trends like the paradigm shift from the linguistic turn to the material turn, English literary studies has recently become home to the intersections of environmental, medical, and digital humanities with posthumanities.

To better understand how much we have achieved in the long journey of English studies, and to witness and foster the growth of young generations in the field, we are now going “back to the roots” with this event. Organized collaboratively by two prominent schools, TED University Department of English Language and Literature—whose own roots go back to the foundation of TED in 1928—and Ankara University DTCF, Departments of English Language and Literature and American Culture and Literature—which date back to 1936 and 1957 respectively—this conference hopes to provide meaningful dialogues between generations of English studies. Both institutions being renowned for their robust education in English as a foreign language and in English literature, we invite students to send their abstracts and our colleagues to join us for this one-day virtual conference.

The call is open for all 3rd-year and 4th-year undergraduate students of Departments of English and American Literature in Ankara. Possible topics might include, but are not limited to:

- Discussion of any literary genre with (an) example(s) from English and/or American literature(s)
o Novel
o Poetry
o Drama
o Short story
o Utopia / dystopia
o Science fiction / fantasy
o Gothic
o Satire

- Discussion of any theme with reference to (a) literary text(s) from English and/or American literature(s)
o Gender
o Nature
o Technology
o Space
o Security
o Religion
o War
o Nationhood / nationalities
o Identity (gender, political, ethnic, or otherwise)
o Life / death
o Violence
o Horror

- Discussion of any literary period with its features displayed in (a) literary text(s) from English and/or American literature(s)
o Early modern (including Medieval and Renaissance)
o Neoclassical
o Romantic
o Victorian
o Modernist
o Contemporary

- Other literatures in English
o Canada
o Australia
o New Zealand
o India
o Any other literary work written in English regardless of the author’s identity
o Comparative literature

- Gender studies
o Women’s studies
o Queer studies
o Masculinities

- Postcolonial studies
o Postcolonialism and politics of identity
o Decolonization
o Intersections of gender and postcolonial studies
o Critical race theory

- Youth subcultures
o Music and literature
o Lifestyle and literature

- Environmental & posthumanities
o (Material / postcolonial / feminist / posthuman) ecocriticism(s)
o Critical ecofeminism
o Animal and/or plant studies
o New materialisms
o Blue humanities

- Media studies
o Popular culture and literature
o News and literature
o New media and literature
o Digitalization and literature
o The relationship between literature and other media (films, video games, music etc.)

- Adaptation studies
- Literature in translation / Translation studies
- Linguistic aspects of literary works

Please send your abstract proposal of 200–300 words (with five keywords) and a short biography of maximum 50 words to by January 15, 2022, 18.00 the latest.

The conference will take place virtually on April 18, 2022. There will be no participation fee.

Organizers: TED University, Department of English Language and Literature; Ankara University, DTCF, Department of English Language and Literature and Department of American Culture and Literature