Saturday, January 15, 2011

Keynote Speaker

We are pleased to announce that a Keynote Speaker has been selected for our 9th Annual Graduate Colloquium, Dr. John Zilcosky of the University of Toronto. For further information, please visit his information page on the UofT Comparative Literature website.

Dr. Zilcosky will be presenting a paper entitled "Uncanny Encounters: Adventure Literature, Psychoanalysis, and the End of Alterity."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Abstract: Call for Papers

9th Annual Concordia University English Literature Graduate Colloquium
March 24-25-26, 2011

Attending (to) the Party: Orientations and Simulacra of Public and Private Sites

Everyone's alone — or so it seems to me.
They make noises, and think they are talking to each other;
They make faces, and think they understand each other.
And I'm sure they don't. Is that a delusion?
T.S. Eliot

Throughout history, the notion of ‘party’ has served as a site for exploring prevailing liminalities: from ideological display to decorous intimacies to social multitudes, the party has served as a means of further repressing or extolling self within private and public domains, projecting identity formations of the other, or combating the enigmatic reflections of the public world. The dialectic of inclusion and exclusion—who is invited into a space, a sphere, an identity—has been used as a social tool and political wedge while at once advancing the bounds of restraint within prescribed modes of behaviour. Distinctions and delineations of such orientations in literature have never been straightforward: least of all today, where boundaries of private and public are more blurred than ever. How is a performance of belonging or of ‘being private’ received within a crowd, a gathering, a nation, or in a culture of social networking—do reflections or simulations of the ‘party’ ever stop? Is artifice encouraged by the heteroglossia, the absurdities of the carnivalesque, inversions of decorum? Individuals and collectives both encounter and anticipate fusions of the expected and unexpected in their search to negotiate lines between indulgences, reasonable parts/parties, or embodiments of culture. The notion of the party is not—and has never been—confined to the limits of social space, but rather is a transitory site of individual and group. Both textual and inter-textual notions of ‘party’ may include cocktail gatherings, reflections on singularity, revolutionary mobs, the construction of online identities, or a middling of ‘inbetweeness’. It is a site of shared intersection—or collision. It is circuitousness, it is necessity; amid orientations of debauchery, protest, subsumption, or migration—singly or all at once.

We invite papers focusing on the following themes:

-Party of one: identity projections
-Figuring decorum: alterations & presentations of normalcy
-Simulacrum: masks, constructions & artifice
-Sites of (in)visibility: notions of exclusion and inclusion
-Block party: politics, affiliations, negotiating lines

Concordia University's English Literature Graduate Colloquium examines the dynamics of ‘party’, prompting dialogues from all gathering points: from the political to the bacchanal, from the physical to the philosophical. We invite graduate students to contribute to this interdisciplinary English Literature colloquium by submitting a 200-250 word abstract to attendingtheparty (at) by February 10, 2011.

Email Contact

The colloquium now has an email. Please contact us at:

attendingtheparty [at]

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Colloquium Dates

Our colloquium has been set for next March. Keep the weekend of the 24th, 25th and 26th open in 2011 to attend or submit to our call for abstracts, which will soon be appearing on the UPenn website as well as in this space.