Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference

April 29, 2014 / By: UST Graduate English Program
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The University of St. Thomas English and Art History graduate programs held an interdisciplinary conference on Friday, April 25, 2014. While papers addressing any aspect of literature, visual arts, and culture were accepted, the graduate programs particularly welcomed proposals for papers exploring the topic of Visualizing the Past/Imagining the Future. Possible questions that presenters were invited to consider included the following:

  • How do conceptions of the past or future inform and/or constrain the process of literary or artistic production?
  • How have artists and writers imagined the future in utopian or dystopian terms?
  • In what ways have literary or historical eras (e.g., the “dark ages” or Romanticism) been idealized or demonized by writers or artists of later eras?
  • In what ways is the practice of literary or art history promoted and/or constrained by conceptions of “truthiness” or other aspects of postmodern culture?
  • How are historic conceptions of time (e.g., apocalypse, millennialism, geologic time, periodization) created and/or expressed in literary and artistic texts?
  • How might non-human and manufactured environments of the future construct or be constructed by literary and visual texts?
  • In what ways does the narrative of memory affect the construction of language, communities, societies, and cultures?
  • How do digital technologies [re]shape conceptions of the past and/or the future?
  • How may literature and the visual arts mold the future concept of the human in the wake of social, cultural, and technological transformations?

Over thirty students from St. Thomas and across the country presented at this conference or participated in roundtable discussions.

Minnesota artist Harriet Bart provided the conference keynote address. “Using bronze and stone, wood and paper, books and words, everyday and found objects, Bart’s work signifies a site, marks an event, and draws attention to imprints of the past as they live in the present. Bart’s work has been exhibited extensively throughout the United States and Germany, and she has completed more than a dozen public art commissions in the United States, Japan, and Israel.”

Click on this conference program link to open a .PDF document that lists the names of conference presenters and their paper topics.