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CFP: Strangeness, In Context: Investigating the Outlandish, the Uncertain, and the Simply Bizarre

The University of Georgia English Graduate Organization Conference
March 23-24, 2013

Where is the line between the dainty and the horrifying in Edith Wharton's works? Between the earnest and the fantastic in Frank Zappa's? What is the effect of an expected reflexivity in Christopher Nolan's? How do different methods of communication–verbal, physical, visual–affect notions of strangeness and acceptability? When is “bizarre” art a perfectly appropriate rendering of life, and the “usual” stunningly inadequate?

The ways we interpret that which gives us pause say as much about us as they do about the work we're interpreting, or the artist responsible for its creation. Indeed, being a participant in an artistic endeavor often means having to navigate a world whose nature reveals an underlying–or unsettling–strangeness. Whether our reaction is to flee or to linger, we are forced to somehow classify people, places, and things that resist study. And behind our study are often unstable notions of the concrete, whether in the form of physical locations or intangible facts. Our conference will consider instability across multiple genres. We hope to explore the intersections of the strange and normal; of the extreme and the commonplace; of the outlandish and the merely landish; of things ghoulish and not.

Other topics might include, but should in no way be limited to:
–Where and how do certainty and instability interact?
–What role does uncertainty play in the extraction or creation of meaning?
–To what extent does a “strange” work establish its own context?
–When does genre fiction eclipse its boundaries; when do those boundaries nourish?
–What is the difference between the strange and the absurd?
–How do notions of entertainment and art affect those differences?

We seek participants from across the humanities. Interdisciplinary and creative writing submissions are heartily encouraged. Please submit panel or paper proposals of no more than 300 words to wangoed@uga.edu by Monday, December 10.