Forms: Energy, Science, Media, Life, hosted by the Rice University Department of English, is a graduate student symposium that encourages multidisciplinary perspectives on how forms define literary studies.

View our call for papers by clicking here.

Check for forthcoming updates by clicking here .

Contact us by emailing ricesymposium2017@gmail.com.

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Call for Papers

Redrawing Forms: Energy, Media, Science, and Life
Rice University | February 17-18, 2017

The ambiguity and flexibility of the term “form” allows critics to construct an argument around strange shapes, or hints of shapes, in texts. This conference invites papers that rethink “forms,” and thus anticipates readings that reimagine forms of life and lives of forms. Acting as a touchstone to this discussion is Caroline Levine’s Forms: Whole, Rhythm, Hierarchy, Network (2015), in which she defines “form” as “all shapes and configurations, all ordering principles, [and] all patterns of repetition and differences” (3).

While Levine’s text attends to four primary concerns of whole, rhythm, hierarchy, and network, we aim to reorganize notions of form by redirecting attention to energy, life, science, and media. Additionally, Levine’s text challenges scholars to better account for how forms cross literary periods, which encourages us to see literary forms as an organizing structure for criticism.

We open this conference to all literary periods and methodologies that grapple with forms. Topics might include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Energy in Narratives
  • Life Forms
  • Human Forms
  • Poetic Forms
  • Scientific Frameworks and Literature
  • How Political and Biological Forms Frame Life
  • Navigating Digital Forms
  • Form in Gender Studies
  • Form in Posthumanism
  • Geometrical Shapes in Literature
  • Disruption and/or Continuation of Form across Historical Periods
  • How Attention to Form Disrupts and/or Mutates Literary
  • Methodologies

Keynote Speaker Barri Gold is Department Head and Associate Professor at Muhlenburg College and the author of ThermoPoetics: Energy in Victorian Literature and Science (MIT Press, 2010).

Email proposals for 15-minute presentations
by December 12 to: ricesymposium2017@gmail.com

For individual submissions, please email (1) an abstract (200–250 words) without identification, and (2) a cover sheet including presenter name, email, paper title, academic affiliation, and a brief biography (100-150 words).

For panel submissions, please email (1) three to four abstracts, (2) a panel rationale (200-250 words), (3) panel organizer’s name, email, paper title, and academic a affiliation, (4) one cover sheet including names, emails, paper titles, academic affiliations, and biographies of presenters (100–150 words).

Click here to download a PDF copy of our the CFP.

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View our schedule of events here.

Read about our keynote speaker, Barri J. Gold, here.

Find your way around campus by clicking here.

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