“The Outlaw: Trespass, Disfigurement, Domestication”
April 1-2, 2011
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“The lyricism of marginality may find inspiration in the image of the
“outlaw,” the great social nomad, who prowls on the confines of a docile,
frightened order.” —Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish

What is the outlaw? Today, the outlaw presents us with a number of
paradoxes: politicians identify as “going rogue” while the U.S. engages in
war with “rogue states”; atlases seem rigidly divided into “friend” and
“enemy” while everywhere signs portend the collapse of foreign wars into
the everyday by imploring their readers to “Report Suspicious Activity.”
The outlaw–and its pseudonyms and cohorts: the bandit, the brigand, the
criminal, and the terrorist–circulate in complex, and often
contradictory, ways. For instance, the outlaw threatens the sovereign and
yet is sovereignty’s possibility. Simultaneously alluring and terrorizing,
the outlaw realizes and reorients desires while giving shape to national
nightmares and personal terrors. What may be deviant to one is prophetic
to another; while silenced as heretic and dismissed as irrational, the
outlaw is also the opportunity for cultural, political, and scientific

For our 9th Annual English Graduate Student Conference, we ask for
submissions that address several trajectories. First, papers that consider
how the outlaw appears thematically, figuratively, and/or historically in
literature, cinema, and other media. Second, papers that renegotiate
conceptual relationships of inside and outside as well as papers that
address theories associated with or condemned as “outlaw.” A special panel
will seek to theorize the outlawing of disciplines and provide responses
and/or innovative solutions to what has been called the “crisis in the
humanities.” Finally, we also are planning a creative portion of the
conference and encourage creative submissions from graduate students that
respond to the theme, particularly those that challenge notions of genre,
performance, and poetics.

We encourage submissions from graduate students working in any field,
historical period, genre, or scholarly discipline. Critical abstracts
should be limited to 250-300 words; creative abstracts should include a
150-300 word description and a 2-3 page sample. Submit abstracts to: by February 14, 2011.

Keynote Speaker: Wai Chee Dimock (William Lampson Professor of English and
American Studies at Yale University)
Creative Keynote Speaker: Doug Rice(Associate Professor of English at
California State University, Sacramento)

Possible areas of inquiry may include, but are not limited to:
•Prostitution, outlaw sexualities, and the prohibited body
•Institutional and commercial appropriations of the outlaw
•Psychological, sociological, and statistical analyses of criminality
•The populism of the outlaw–public identification with outlaw figures
and/or the romance of the outside
•Gender: transgression, plurality, and representation
•Cultural practices of “inherent transgression” (Zizek)
•Law, legality, and legal literacy
•Sedition, exile, state subversion, and treason
•Sovereignty, animals, and technology
•Prison writing; representations of incarceration in art and literature
•The subaltern as outlaw; identity politics in relation to the law
•The rhetoric and sociology of civil disobedience
•Popular culture and spectacle
•Object-oriented philosophy and other ontologies
•Rebellion in, beyond, and across states


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