CFP: Excavations, McGill’s 26th Annual English Grad Conference (Deadline: 13 Dec. 2019)

Call for Papers


McGill University’s 26th Annual English Graduate Conference

February 14-15, 2020

Montréal, Québec, Canada

The idea of excavation as a cultural practice is of special importance in the fields of literature, theatre, art history, film, and cultural studies. Scholars in these varied disciplines continue to look to the past as, simultaneously, they develop new technologies and seek new objects of study. In Knossos and the Prophets of Modernism (2009), Cathy Gere demonstrates the centrality of Arthur Evans’s excavations at Knossos for important writers, artists, and intellectuals of the 20th century. For archaeologists, these excavations and reconstructions continue to represent an “ambiguous bequest,” but for artists and thinkers they represented a concrete alternative, a new way forward. This episode in turn points to the long history of literature’s entanglement with “archaeological” practices of all kinds: classical reception and antiquarianism; book history and bibliography; textual repression, practices of recovery, and revisionist histories. McGill University’s 26th Annual English Graduate Conference, therefore, warmly invites submissions that consider excavation, as concept or practice, in relation to literature, film, theatre, art, language, and culture. This conference asks: how does the past relate to the present, and how do renewed examinations of the past open up new futures? What materials do we seek to bring to the surface of academic discourse? How do we, as scholars and critics, participate in the reconstruction of the materials we study? And what do the lexicon and the conceptual register of excavations offer us as scholars (for example, in the context of debates surrounding “depth” and “surface” models of reading, or in practices like literary text “mining”)? In short, this conference seeks to examine “excavation” as a model for the various ways humans have and continue to engage with practices of cultural production and to understand the continued involvement of the present with the historical past.

We invite submissions by graduate students from all disciplines focusing on, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Gender, sexuality, and queer studies
  • Class, canon-formation, and cultural capital
  • Race, postcolonialism, and world art
  • Material cultures
  • Art history
  • The archive and museum theory
  • Technology and/in art
  • Digital humanities
  • Environments and ecologies
  • Theatre and performance studies
  • Film studies
  • Popular culture studies

Presentations will primarily be in English, but we welcome submissions and presentations in

French. Please submit abstracts of 250-300 words and a bio of 100 words to

Submission Deadline: December 13th, 2019

Conference website:

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