Graduate Students Hold Successful GEO Conference

April 1, 2015

The Graduate English Organization’s 8th Annual Conference, “Departures,” was a great success.

The conference on March 28th had over seventy attendees, including graduate students from the Literature, Creative Writing, and Comparative Literature programs in UMD’s English Department and students from various departments across campus, such as Art History and Classics. Attendees and presenters also came from outside institutions including SUNY-Buffalo, the University of Rochester, George Mason University, Lehigh University, and the University of Pennsylvania.  The conference also had a number of prospective Ph.D. students for the English Department in attendance.


Throughout the day, the conference had four sessions of eleven graduate student panels.  The panels were organized to appeal to a wide array of academic interests.  Session three, for example, included panels entitled “Beyond the Human,” “Narratives of History Making,” and “Mind-Body Connections.”  These panels covered topics from posthumanism and ecology to periodization and psychoanalysis.  In addition to panels that highlighted the critical scholarship of graduate students, there were also two panels that featured the creative works of poets and fiction writers.  For these panels, Ph.D. students acted as moderators, generating interdisciplinary conversations.  Both panelists and moderators alike appreciated the opportunity to learn from new perspectives.  Many presenters also commented that the question and answer sessions that followed each panel were extremely beneficial.  Overall, attendees valued the day’s conversations, both formal during panels and informal during meals.


GEO Conference


The highlight of the day was the plenary panel, “Departures Across Disciplines,” which featured the scholarship of three professors.  Dr. Amanda Bailey, an Associate Professor of English at UMD, gave a presentation entitled “Regenerate Loss: Too Late, Too Early, Modern,” in which she discussed Macbeth, worms, and royal primogeniture in early modern England.  Dr. Christina Walter, also an Associate Professor of English at UMD, presented “The Queer Departures of Ishiguro’s Remains,” in which she argued that a queer reading of Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel The Remains of the Day could aid in understanding the political environment of England in the 1980s and 1990s.  Finally, the guest presenter was Dr. Robert McRuer, a Professor of English from George Washington University.  His talk, “Crip Times: Disability, Globalization, and Resistance,” was an exploration of the term “crip” as it is used around the globe to empower contemporary activist movements.  The diverse range of, and surprising connections between, these presentations appealed to all attendees.

Overall, the day was a great success, full of exciting work from graduate students and professors alike. 

*Annotated from a report by Elise Auvil and Susie Compton.

Check out the photo gallery here.