CFP: “Approaching Variation Between Readers and Reception” – The 29th Annual Stony Brook English Graduate Conference

The Stony Brook English Department’s Graduate Conference

will be held Friday, February 24th, 2017

“Approaching Variation: Between Readers and Reception.”

We read, like we walk, habitually. Both activities are organized through daily practice, embedded in texts and their environments, and so seem to be backgrounded as we focus on the objects aimed at rather than their trajectories. Reflection through literary criticism also often sees through reading and its environments to its results. Many writers, such as Rebecca Solnit and Tim Ingold, have proposed that the stereotypical idea that reading is a passive activity should be upended through recourse to a renewed study of the active reception of literary images. In gold wonders: “Perhaps it is the very notion of the image that has to be rethought, away from the idea that images represent, on another plane, the forms of things in the world to the idea that they are place holders for these things, which travellers watch out for, and from which they take their direction. Could it be that images do not stand for things but rather help you find them?”

With this focus in mind, we invite proposals for papers and panels that query the act of reading, broadly. This includes historical and speculative studies of individual texts’ reception, in addition to theoretical, interdisciplinary, and cultural research. Why does reading still matter today? What does reading mean in the contemporary context of multiplying media? How do we define reading between narrative and poetry?

Abstracts of 250 words should be submitted by January 9th, 2017 to

Other potential topics include:

  • book history
  • reception history
  • modes of reading
  • reading in the anthropocene
  • cognition and reading
  • identity and reading
  • misreading
  • politics and reading
  • theories of reception
  • reading digital texts
  • experience of reading
  • distant reading
  • reading narrative
  • reading poetry
  • rhetorical approaches
  • pedagogy
  • reading communities
  • empirical studies of reading


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