Conference Poster

February 16, 2010

The conference poster for Nomenclature is available here. Design and layout by Jackie Orlando. Full program is available here.


Announcing the program for “Nomenclature,” a Washington, D.C. graduate conference sponsored by the University of Maryland Department of English and Graduate Student Government, organized by the Graduate English Organization.

Program subject to change.


FRIDAY, MARCH 5, 2010:

11:30-12:30: Pre-Conference Professionalization Session
“Archives: From Research to Scholarship”

Panelists: Drs. Carla Peterson and Martha Nell Smith (University of Maryland)
Moderator: Nathan Kelber

12:30-:1:15PM: Registration and lunch

1:30-3:00PM: SESSION I

Panel A: “Modernist Categories and the Category of Modernism”
Room: Tawes Hall 3248

Moderator: Katie Stanutz (University of Maryland)

  • Brooks Lampe (Catholic University of America), “Semiotics of Space: Spatial Relations in Robert Penn Warren’s Or Else.”
  • Taylor Fayle (Catholic University of America), “Heidegger on Categoriality, Art, Modernism.”
  • Kevin Rulo (Catholic University of America), “Bertrand Russell’s Philosophy of Mathematics, Modernist Aesthetics, and the Nomenclature of Modernism”
  • Respondent: Dr. Peter Mallios (University of Maryland)

Panel B: “Articulating fin de millennium Faith and Spirituality”
Room: Tawes Hall 3252

Moderator: Joseph Kautzer (University of Maryland)

  • Kyle Garton (University of Maryland), “The Failure of Naming in Don DeLillo’s Underworld
  • Martin Camper (University of Maryland), “Say it Again in Greek: Understanding the Persuasive Force of Isolated Greek Words in Sermons”
  • Rajiv Kannan Menon (George Washington University), “‘But You Don’t Have a Tamil Accent’: Surnames and the Construction of Regional and Religious Difference in Aparna Sen’s Mr. and Mrs. Iyer
  • Respondent: Dr. Keguro Macharia (Assistant Professor of English, University of Maryland)

3:15-4:45PM: SESSION II

Panel C: “Naming Literary Experience: Interrogating Fact and Fiction, Narrative and Description”
Room: Tawes Hall 3248

Moderator: Nancy Stewart (University of Maryland)

  • Carolyn Ureña (University of Maryland), “Vampiric Fact-Checking: A Brief Semantic Analysis of Truth in Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  • Jennifer Williams (University of Maryland), “‘To Hold the Heart of Man’: Towards a Reconciliation of the Role of the Lyric in Narrative”
  • Elizabeth DePriest (University of Maryland), “Not Real but Quite Artificial: The Fallibility of Theoretical Distinctions Between Description and Narration”
  • Respondent: Dr. Brian Richardson (Professor of English, University of Maryland)

Panel D: “Naming Historical Phenomena: Constituting Past and Future”
Room: Tawes Hall 3252

Moderator: Anthony Punt (University of Maryland)

  • Jeremy Metz (University of Maryland), “What if it were not named the Holocaust?”
  • Marilyn Alexis Braxton (American University), “‘she knows the words’: The Black Female Articulation of Black Male Sexuality – a Post-Black Perspective”
  • Leigha McReynolds (George Washington University), “Pirates or ‘Pirates’?: Sir James Brooke and the Natives of Sarawak”
  • Respondent: Dr. Jonathan Auerbach (Professor of English, University of Maryland)

Room: Tawes 1120, Ulrich Recital Hall

Dr. Kavita Daiya, Associate Professor of English at George Washington University
“Taxonomies of Violence”
Introduction: Rob Wakeman (University of Maryland)
Respondent: Porter Olsen (University of Maryland)

Reception to follow


8:00-8:45AM: Registration and Breakfast, Tawes Lobby

9:00-10:30AM: SESSION III

Panel E: “What to Call It?: Names and Titles in Creative Writing”
Room: Tawes Hall 3248

A roundtable with MFA Students at the University of Maryland

Moderator: Justin Lohr
Panelists: Jacqueline Orlando, Jenna Nissan, Jocelyn Heath, and Tom Earles

Panel F: “By any other name would smell as sweet? Naming Incarnation”
Room: Tawes Hall 3252

Moderator: Maggie Ellen Fromm (University of Maryland)

  • Courtney Connolly (University of Maryland), “ANGER Assuages Anger: Jane Anger’s Protection for Women
  • Amy L. Merritt (University of Maryland), “The Necessary Distinction between God’s Sons in Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained
  • Uchechi Okereke-Beshel (University of Maryland), “Versions of Royalty: Re-naming Oroonoko in Behn, Southerne and Bandele”
  • Respondent: Dr. Jane Donawerth (Professor of English, University of Maryland)

10:45-12:15PM: SESSION IV

Panel G: “Flavor of the Month: Naming Women’s Poetry”
Room: Tawes Hall 3248

A roundtable session with MFA Students from the University of Maryland

Moderator: Kim O’Connor
Panelists: Jocelyn Heath, Shenandoah Sowash, Cherie Walsh, and Kate Young

Panel H: “Manifesting Everyday Experience”
Room: Tawes Hall 3252

Moderator: Michelle Boswell (University of Maryland)

  • David Bietila (George Washington University), “Naming the Digital Landscape: Metadata, Circulation, and Institutional Epistemologies”
  • Barry Dima (University of Maryland), “Smelling the Bright Cold: Benjy’s Synaesthesia
  • Lindsay Dunne (University of Maryland), “‘Coming to Pieces Like Old Rotted Cloth’: the Disintegrating Language of River Control in John McPhee’s ‘Atchafalaya'”
  • Respondent: Dr. Michael Israel (Associate Professor of English, University of Maryland)

12:15-1:00PM: LUNCH
Room TBD

Room: Tawes Hall 1100

Dr. Tita Chico, Associate Professor of English at the University of Maryland
“Why Details Matter”
Introduction: Andrew Black (University of Maryland)
Respondent: Kim Calder (University of Maryland)

Reception to follow

The GEO Conference Committee has extended the deadline for abstract submissions to January 1, 2010.

Abstracts should be sent to Please contact us with any questions you may have.

Call for Papers:
3rd Annual GEO Conference
University of Maryland, College Park
March 5-6, 2010

Keynote Speaker: Tita Chico (University of Maryland), Kavita Daiya (George Washington University)

The Graduate English Organization of the University of Maryland’s Department of English invites students at Washington, D.C. area universities to submit abstracts for our third annual interdisciplinary graduate conference. “Nomenclature” seeks to interrogate the causes, conventions, and consequences of the human impulse to name, label, and categorize.

The practice of naming and labeling influences, for better or worse, how we formulate identities and regulate taxonomies.  According to the Judeo-Christian tradition, marking difference among groups dates back to Adam’s God-given power and responsibility to name and classify “every living creature” (Gen. 2:19).  The early modern period saw the naming of an entire land mass—the New World—and Shakespeare himself has given us that time-worn question, “What’s in a name?”  More recently, the remapping of national boundaries following decolonization has called into question the strict demarcation of peoples and places.

What we choose to name an individual, group, or phenomenon constitutes our own identities in relationship to people and things outside of ourselves.  But what we choose not to call someone or something is equally significant.  At Harvard University, for instance, the administration’s official policy mandates that “cutbacks” be referred to as “the reallocation of funds.”  Here, at the University of Maryland, statements insist that budget problems are being addressed through “furloughs” rather than “pay cuts.” While we might characterize these policies as careful and prudent advertising, the phenomenon of re-naming for the sake of palatability is not new to our time. In literature departments, scholars regularly reconsider how we refer to certain fields of study.  For example, the term “post-colonialism” has given way to “oceanic” and “hemispheric” studies in order to more accurately capture the reciprocal relationships among countries and people.

Heidegger suggests that language is “the house of being,” that humans require language to “dwell” and “create.”  More obliquely, Lao-tsu reminds us that “the name that can be named is not the eternal Name.”  If we cannot escape the inclination to name, is it possible to operate within academia and the world at large with endless possibilities for taxonomy?  Must common terms for discussion be reached?  How have our taxonomies been re-oriented by the recognition of categories as artificial and accidental rather than innate and essential?

The conference committee invites proposals for fifteen-minute papers addressing the conference theme from a broad range of disciplines and theoretical backgrounds. Presentations of creative work are also welcome. Panel submissions (3-4 participants) are highly encouraged. Please limit abstracts for fifteen-minute papers to 300 words for individual abstracts and 500 words for panel abstracts. Full papers may accompany abstracts. Please include three keywords at the end of the abstract to assist panel formation.

Abstracts are due December 4, 2009 and should be e-mailed to Please visit our conference website,, for more details.

Hello! Welcome to the official home of the annual graduate conference run by the Graduate English Organization at the University of Maryland College Park. Here you’ll find any and all pertinent information as pertaining to the conference as it comes up, as well as the official call for papers (found following this post, in its own page, and as a downloadable Word file in the box to the right), miscellany, and perhaps a random thought or two.

I won’t take up too much of your time right now. However, I would like to note the existence of this site not simply for a concentrated method of information distribution, but also to promote a certain level of academic and intellectual community. All these wonderful little tools of technology shatter previous boundaries—limiting, exclusionary boundaries. So now a conference isn’t simply a two-day affair but an entity in and of itself, which builds and expands over time, existing as beyond simply the physical. Enter this website. We here on the conference board encourage interaction through the use of comments on particular posts, or by sending us via email anything you feel is relevant to our theme which we will then, assuming agreement, post here. Some further information about this can be found in the Welcome message to the right. We encourage this level of involvement even from those not participating in the conference, certainly. We all share minds.

Check back regularly, pass along and, above all, enjoy in peace.


Conference Schedule.

February 13, 2009

Listed below is the two-day schedule of events for (Media)tions: Translating the Body Politic. Please note that all room numbers are located in Susquehanna Hall.

Friday – February 27th, 2009

Welcome — 1:30PM (room 2117)
Coffee, registration, meet and greet

Session 1 — 2:00-3:15PM

Panel A (room 1121): Rhetoric in Circulation: Tracing the Paths of Discourse in the Public Sphere

Heather Brown (Maryland, English) – “Creating Spaces for Abortion Trauma: Genre, Testimony, and the World Wide Web”

K. Martin Camper (Maryland, English) – “Prayer and Place: Creating Sacred Places in Virtual Spaces”

Lindsay Dunne (Maryland, English) – “Public Cure/Counterpublic Cause: the Rhetoric of Environmental Hazard in the Breast Cancer Awareness Movement(s)”

Bryan Snyder (Maryland, Undergraduate, English) – “When Political Parties Change: an Examination of Changing Moral Structure in American Politics”

Panel B (room 1117): Visualizing the Body

Patricia Fancher (Georgetown University, English) – “Life through the Lens: Cyborg Subjectivity and Cinematic Hybridity”

Maria Gigante (Maryland, English) –  “The Separation of Art and Text: Fitting Frontispieces into Early Modern Science”

Amy Karp (Maryland, English) – “Life and Death in the Liminal: Jenny Schecter’s Jewish Matters and The L Word

Naliyah Kaya (George Mason University, Sociology) – “A New Deal for New Orleans: H.R. 4048: Gulf Coast Civic Works Act”

Session 2 — 3:30-4:45PM

Panel C (room 1121): Mediating Science: The Rhetoric of Scientific Discourse

Michelle Lang Boswell (Maryland, English) – “The Question of an Exclamation:  Feynman’s Style in Six Easy Pieces

Daniel J. DioGuardi (Maryland, English) – “‘Where Phenomena Tend to Collide’: Anzaldúa, Individuation, and (Sub)conscious (Border) Spaces”

Nathan Kelber (Maryland, English) – “From Archimedes to Robinson: The Rhetoric of the Infinitesimal”

Katherine Young (Maryland, English) – “Mary Anning’s Monster: Literature, Spectacle, and the Plesiosaur”

Panel D (room 1117): Pyrrhic Victories: Attempts to Narrativize the Unsayable of War

Lew Gleich (Maryland, English) – “Narrating the Simulacrum of War: Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried and Courtney Angela Brkic’s Stillness

James Hodapp (Maryland, English) – “Making the Present Livable: Positionality and the Unsayable in David Grossman’s See Under: Love and Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried

Porter Olsen (Maryland, English) – “Interruption War Interpretation: Arresting Narratives in Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and Seiffert’s The Dark Room

Keynote — 5:00PM (room 1120)
Dr. Jonathan Gil Harris, Associate Professor of English, George Washington University

Mock Turtle Reading Series — 7:00PM
A reading by Maryland MFA students at Wonderland Ballroom in Columbia Heights, Washington, DC

Saturday – February 28th, 2009
Welcome — 9:00-9:50AM (room 1121)
Continental breakfast and coffee
Session 3 — 10:00-11:15AM

Panel E (room 1117): Witnessing Mediation

Alexis Chema (Georgetown University, English) – “Coleridge’s Epistemology of the Sickbed”

D. Seth Horton (Maryland, English) – “When We Pigs Awaken”

Jeremy Metz (Maryland, Comparative Literature) –  “When the experience of trauma is mediated by a complicit witness: Instabilities in literary witness positions and their implications for the ethical reader”

Laina Saul (George Mason University, Cultural Studies) – “Djamila Boupacha, Terrorist/Victim/Sign: Becoming Human Through Torture, Discourse and at the Boundaries of the Nation-State”

Panel F (room 1119): Technology, Abolitionism, and the Nineteenth Century Body Politic

Meaghan Fritz (Georgetown University, English) – “Uncle Tom Mania and the Body Politic”

Stacy Nall (Georgetown University, English) – “A Government of Future Citizens: Race, Gender and the Child in The Anti-Slavery Alphabet

Cheryl Spinner –(Georgetown University, English) – “Competing Electricities: Nineteenth-Century Abolitionism and the Politics of ‘It'”

Sarah Workman (Georgetown University, English) – “Self-Shaping and World-Making:  Angelina Grimké Weld’s Performances of Suffering”

Keynote — 11:30AM (room 1120)
Dr. Zita Nunes, Associate Professor of English and Director of Comparative Literature, University of Maryland

Lunch — 12:30-1:30PM (room 1121)
Join your colleagues for a catered lunch from Lebanese Taverna

Session 4 — 1:45-3:00PM

Panel G (room 1119): Poetry and (National) Identity

Lisa Kirch (Maryland, English) – “Pain and Potential within a Female Minstrel’s Song; The Triumph of Voice in Matilda Betham’s ‘The Lay of Marie'”

Rob Wakeman (Maryland, English) – “So Little Forgetting: The Robert Burns Memorial in Albany, N.Y.”

Amy Washburn (Maryland, Women’s Studies) – “Representing the ‘Real’ IRA: The Use of ‘Shout-outs’ in Eavan Boland’s ‘A Cynic at Kilmainham Gaol’ and Roseleen Walsh’s ‘On Commedagh Hill’ as a Form of Irish Republican Remembrance”

Jennifer Williams (Maryland, English) – “A Courtly Love for the Twenty-First Century: Cyrus Cassell’s More Than Peace and Cypresses

Keynotes Announced!

December 11, 2008

The GEO Conference committee is pleased to announce the keynote speakers for (Media)tions: Translating the Body Politic!

Dr. Jonathan Gil Harris (George Washington University) will kick-off the conference with an address at 5 PM on Friday February 27.

Day Two will feature an address at 11 AM by the University of Maryland’s own Dr. Zita Nunes.

Dr. Harris is Professor of English at George Washington University. His fifth book, Untimely Matter in the Time of Shakespeare, was published by University of Pennsylvania Press this fall.

Dr. Nunes is Associate Professor of English and the Director of the Comparative Literature Program at the University of Maryland. Her new book Cannibal Democracy:Race and Representation in the Literature of the America was released by University of Minnesota Press earlier this year.

We here at the committee are thrilled to welcome these accomplished and respected scholars to the conference.