Annual Conference

  • The English Graduate Organization sponsors and schedules several conferences and colloquia throughout the academic year. These events are open to all graduate students and are designed to foster academic and professional development.

    Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference

    Work and Leisure, Noise and Silence

    The English Graduate Organization (EGO) and Composition and TESOL Association (CTA), in collaboration with the Department of English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, is proud to announce their 2019 Interdisciplinary Conference, “Work and Leisure, Noise and Silence,” to be held August 2020 at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The due date for proposals is June 22, 2020.

    The theme of the 2020 conference reflects on the nested relationship between work and relaxation, as well as the clash between the noise of responsibilities, scholarship, and teaching with the relative silence of subject positions outside of the classroom. As teachers, scholars, citizens, and human beings, we are called upon to navigate a variety of work responsibilities while still attempting to have a life outside of the category of worker. The challenge becomes more complicated by all of the noise sources from the media, to primary and secondary sources, to the voices of the people met with on a daily basis. Within English Studies, scholars and teachers of literature, composition, linguistics, TESOL, and cultural studies frequently confront and theorize the representations of work, leisure, and noise, seeking to challenge, problematize, and deconstruct the traditional work and output of humanities scholars.

    The EGO conference provides an opportunity to explore, construct, and deconstruct the nature of our scholarly and pedagogical work and output. We invite submissions not only from members of the IUP community but also scholars outside the borders of IUP (undergraduate students, graduate students, independent scholars). Submissions may interpret the theme of work, noise, leisure, and silence broadly and may choose to observe or cross over boundaries related to (1) literature, (2) literary history, (3) critical theory, (4) TESOL theory and/or pedagogy, (5) composition theory and/or pedagogy, (6) applied linguistics, (7) cultural studies, and (8) rhetoric and rhetorical theory.

    Beyond these areas, we seek and encourage interdisciplinary submissions from diverse fields across academic disciplines: those that bridge disciplines, as well as submissions that mix the academic and the public.

    Submitted papers of high quality will be considered for a special-issue publication in Pennsylvania English.

    We ask you to consider such questions as:

    • How do we separate the noise from the signals in our respective fields?

    • What are examples of “silences” in literature (within or without traditional canons) that challenge or inform our pedagogical decisions? In what ways are underrepresented voices represented in the classroom and in literature?

    • Pedagogically and in literary representations, in which ways can work and life in graduate school/the classroom be balanced? How do cultural norms in both the classroom and in popular literature reinforce stereotypes about self-care, rest and reflection, and/or work, labor, and production?

    • How is silence used as a form of resistance in the classroom? Where is silence found: in discussion activities, written assignments, whole-class discussions? In POV, plot, characterization? Why is silence present in these areas?

    • Explore the relationship between activism and the need for self-care. How is this represented in literature, scholarship, and/or the classroom? How do silence and noise factor into this consideration?

    • Can our work in academia be both work and leisure?

    • Must work be loud to prove its existence? Is silent work underappreciated? Should the attention paid to leisure time be heightened?

    To submit a proposal, send a 300-word abstract to before June 22, 2020. Direct any questions or queries to Kimberly Bressler ( or Jimalee Sowell ( 

    For program, directions, parking, and hotel and dining information, please refer to our official EGO conference website.

    Questions about the conference and paper/panel proposals may be sent to