Rise Up: Social Protest in Literature, Creative Writing, & Pedagogy

The Pennsylvania College English Association invites proposals for its 2018 annual conference on the theme of social protest in literature, creative writing, and pedagogy.

The 2018 PCEA conference will focus on the ways in which literature, rhetoric, digital platforms, and creative expression reflect and shape social change, draw attention to injustice, raise consciousness, and call for action to improve our changing cultural landscape.  Social protests and movements related to race, gender, sexuality, intersectionality, politics, climate change, education, class inequality, and other forms of marginalization have rendered a more public and active engagement with traditional literature, social media, political discourse, and self-expression.

This conference seeks to explore, extend, and evaluate the myriad ways in which we locate and actualize the potential of grassroots movements, college-campus activism, national protests, and other constructive methods of “rising up.”  For example, the Black Lives Matter movement has offered deep insight into historical and contemporary examples of police brutality, racial profiling, and urban marginalization.  Drawing on a rich legacy of writers and activists who have expounded on racial justice for centuries, participants in this movement today have effected tangible change at both the national and local level.  Furthermore, the Women’s March on Washington has recently put feminist theory into direct practice, extending the models and methods found in literary, creative, and academic circles.  Finally, the above lines from Elie Wiesel serve as a wake-up call, as well as a direct call to action, to use our personal and professional voices as all of us navigate an increasingly precarious world of injustice.  These examples, among countless others, have refocused our national attention and, more specifically, our local attention across college campuses nationwide, on how students, faculty, and staff can and should extend their knowledge in order to take direct action beyond academic walls.

To this end, the Pennsylvania College English Association welcomes a wide array of interpretations of this year’s conference theme, including: scholarly analyses of literature, film, TV, or other works of popular culture; ethnographic accounts of protest and dissent; original works of creative writing and self-expression; practical approaches to implementing constructive protest in our communities; and pedagogical approaches to communicating protest literature and material in higher education arenas.

General Call for Papers

In addition, we invite submissions from faculty, graduate students, and independent scholars from all areas of English studies—literature, film, composition, professional writing, pedagogy, creative writing, linguistics, popular culture, criticism, etc.  We also welcome the reading of original creative writing.

***Proposals from undergraduate students will be considered when sponsored by a faculty member who co-presents or chairs a presentation panel.

Featured Keynote Speaker

This year, we are honored to have Dr. James Peterson as PCEA’s Keynote Speaker.

Dr. Peterson is an Associate Professor of English at Lehigh University, as well as a scholar on race and hip hop culture.  He is also a regular media commentator and has appeared on MSNBC, Al-Jazeera, CNN, HLN, Fox News, and other networks as an expert on race, politics, and popular culture.

Information on Submissions

Presentation sessions will last one hour and fifteen minutes, typically with panels of 3-4 participants.  Individual presentations will be limited to 15-20 minutes each.  Proposals will be shared among panel participants and the session chair/respondent prior to the conference.

Please complete the Proposal Submission Form 

Email abstracts (250 words for individual proposals; 500 for panel proposals) to penncea@gmail.com

***The deadline for submissions is January 5, 2018.  However, we will begin formally accepting proposals around mid-October.***  

Please direct any other inquiries to the conference coordinators: Dr. Abby Aldrich (aja205@lehigh.edu), Sarah Heidebrink-Bruno (seb211@lehigh.edu), Dr. Kristina Fennelly (fennelly@kutztown.edu), and Dr. Erica Dymond (edymond@esu.edu).