ESA Conference 2007: Wide Open Spaces

(Below the CFP is the Conference Program)

The recent success of popular fictions like Brokeback Mountain and Deadwood has refocused audience attention onto the power and meanings latent in the open space. These spaces are found not only in the Western but also in narratives of exploration, of adventure, of colonization and post-colonial resistance, as well as in genres of the pastoral, of science fiction, and of ecological fiction, among others. These “wide open spaces” frequently figure in the construction and expression of desire or lack, law and order, creation and recreation, bounded- and unboundedness, and definition and the indefinable.

“Wide Open Spaces” is a graduate conference organized and sponsored by the English Student Association at the CUNY Graduate Center, located in Midtown Manhattan. This conference seeks to bring together graduate students from a wide variety of political, critical, and aesthetic perspectives as well as a host of different disciplines to explore how open space functions in literature, film, television, new media, and critical theory. We invite papers that investigate the uses and meanings of this space.

We hope to address the topics below, as well as many others:

The classic/revisionist Western in fiction, film, and television
Galaxies far, far away: science fiction frontiers
Literature and agriculture/ecology
Cartography and literature
Frontiers of identity (racial, ethnic, sexual, national, etc.)
Semiotic fields as open spaces
The open spaces and frontiers of critical theory
Narratives of exploration and conquest
Zones of cultural contact
The gendering of spaces: domestic, public, urban, rural
The sea as frontier
Border fictions
Constructions of the “rural” and/or the pastoral
“Middle” America
Diasporic communities
Vacant areas (physical, political, ideological, psychological,
intellectual, etc.)
Contiguous and overlapping areas
Queer Theory and open definitions of sexuality
The open space as a location of desire and projected desires
The open space as a location of the “creative”
The blank page
The “fields” of work/play/battle
The body as a field of exploration and colonization
Intellectual gap(s) and/or “gaps” in scholarship

ESA Conference 2007: Wide Open Spaces
March 30, 2007
Brooks Hefner and Neil Meyer, co-chairs

Conference Schedule

8:00 – 9:00 Breakfast (Room 4406)

9:00 – 10:15 Session 1
1. Ed Dorn and American Culture (Room 9204)
Moderator: Louis Bury
“Gunslinger’s Impact on American Poetry”
Melissa Goodrum, Brooklyn College

“Ed Dorn and LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka: A Correspondence”
Claudia Pisano, CUNY Graduate Center

“Reading The Shoshoneans as an Activist Text”
Lindsey Freer, CUNY Graduate Center

2. Science Fiction Spaces (Room 9205)
Moderator: Chris Leslie
“Not Safe if Used as Directed: Philip K. Dick’s Ubik and Advertising”
Seamus O’Malley, CUNY Graduate Center

“Traversing the Boundaries of Space as a Social Construct in Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness”
Yu-Lin Liao, National Chao-Tung University, Taiwan

“The Self As Alien in Sun Ra and Gurdieff”
Erin Martin, University of Alabama

3. Romantic Spaces (Room 9206)
Moderator: Carrie Shanafelt
“Ruptured Boundaries: Wordsworth’s Psychological Project (1798)”
Emily B. Stanback, CUNY Graduate Center

“Women in the Dark: Females Finding Freedom in the Labyrinth”
Sarah L. Mandl, University of Nebraska – Omaha

Natural Civics: Analogy and Mimesis in “Prometheus Unbound”
Nancy Derbyshire, CUNY Graduate Center

4. Film Panel [title needed] (Room 9207)
Moderator: Laurel Harris(?)
“The Megalomaniac vs. The Landscape: The Critique of Western Imperialist Politics in Films of the 1960s and 70s”
David Melbye, School of Cinema/Television, University of Southern California

“Silence and the Sublime: The Open Spaces of van Sant’s Gerry”
Erika Halstead, CUNY Graduate Center

“Questioning the Value of the Romanticist Frame in Preserving Wilderness for Future Generations in the Documentary Film American Values, American Wilderness (2005)”
Kerry-Ann Brown, Florida Atlantic University

10:30 – 11:45 Session 2
5. Westerns I (Room 9204)
Moderator: Brooks E. Hefner
“Vanishing: Indians in the Landscapes of John Ermine of the Yellowstone and The Vanishing American:
Erica Olsen, Western Washington University

“‘Closed in by walls, the pistol sounded big’: Tragedy, Inevitability, and the
Closing of the Frontier in A.B. Guthrie’s The Big Sky”
Ann Mary Olson, Harvard University

“Landscape and Territory in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Pioneers”
Thomas Dikant, The Free University Berlin

6. Spaces of the Body (Room 9205)
Moderator: Justin Rogers-Cooper
“In the Flesh- Motherhood as Political Occupation”
Heather Brown, CUNY Graduate Center

“An Opening in the Mirror: Cosmetic Surgery and the Openness of the Body.”
Andrew H. S. Mazzaschi, Rutgers University

“The Abjection of Open: Rethinking the Relationship of Fister to Fistee in Scott Heim’s Mysterious Skin”
Jason Schneiderman, CUNY Graduate Center

7. Early Modern Spaces (Room 9206)
Moderator: Balaka Basu
“The Possibilities of Maritime Law in The Merchant of Venice“
Ameer Sohrawardy, Rutgers University

“The Nothing that is Not There and the Nothing that Is: The Evolving concept of Nothing in Shakespeare’s Later Plays”
Emily Moore, GUNY Graduate Center

“The Figure of Death as the Mortal’s Guide Across Liminal Space: John Lydgate’s ‘Danse Macabre’”
Linda Stein, CUNY Graduate Center

“‘Fancy’s Spring and Sorrow’s Fall’: Pastoral in Sidney and Stoppard”
Dan Venning, CUNY Graduate Center

8. Reshaping the Spaces of Racial Identity (Room 9207)
Moderator: Robina Josephine Khalid
“Gerald Vizenor’s Postindian Army: Dead Voices as a Text of Survivance”
Kelly S. Edge, Appalachian State University

“Ambiguous Redemption: Liberatory Landscapes and Liberal Subjectivity in a Southern African Memoir”
Ann Pandjiris, The Art Institute of Chicago

“Citizenship and Suffering: Olaudah Equiano’s National Narrative”
Gillian Houghton, CUNY Graduate Center

“Janie’s Journey to the Horizon: An Ecocritical Perspective of Their Were Watching God”
Jennifer James O’Grady, California State University – Fullerton

12:00 – 1:30 Lunch Break

1:30 – 2:45 Session 3
9. Fin de Siècle (Room 9204)
Moderator: Robert Azzarello
“Riding the Wave: Kate Chopin’s Quest for a New American Frontier”
Sari Altschuler, CUNY Graduate Center

“Opening Up the Spaces of Modern Sexual Freedom: Psychiatry and Sexology around the Turn of the Twentieth Century”
Howard Hsueh-Hao Chiang, Princeton University

“In Need of ‘a Substantial and Dignified Milieu’: Women Writers’ Clubs and the Quest for Professional Parity in Fin de Siècle England”
Susan Waterman, Rugers University

10. Poetics (Room 9205)
Moderator: Jason Schneiderman
“The Room of the Lyric: Describing a Space”
John Harkey, CUNY Graduate Center

“Politics of Poetic Spaces”
Laurence Jackson, The New School for Social Research

“Clowns of Creation: Misfits in a Literal/Littoral Zone”
Derek Barker, University of South Africa, Pretoria

11. Westerns II (Room 9206)
Moderator: Brooks E. Hefner
“Pointing to the Ineffable: The Documentary Aesthetic of Helen Hunt Jackson’s A Century of Dishonor”
Louis Bury, CUNY Graduate Center

“The Early Film Western as ‘Middle Landscape’“
Diane Wei Lewis, University of Chicago

“‘All we got now is Brokeback Mountain’: Object Relations and the Space(s) of Queer Pulps in Brokeback Mountain”
Matthew Rohweder, Simon Fraser University

12. Film [title needed] (Room 9207)
Moderator: Amanda Springs
“Gay Therapy: Bette Davis, Margo Channing, All About Eve”
Rob Faunce, CUNY Graduate Center

“Echo of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha”
Jeehey Kim, CUNY Graduate Center

Session 4 – 3:00 – 4:15
13. Utopias/Dystopias (Room 9204)
Moderator: Rebekah Sheldon?
“Fictional Realities: The Construction of Verisimilitude in Thomas More’s Utopia”
Balaka Basu. Graduate Center, CUNY

“Expanse and Enclosure: Deconstructing the Dystopian Landscape”
Jill Belli, CUNY Graduate Center

“The Quick and the Dead: Deleuze, Guattari and the coming of the worldwide war machine”
Simon Glezos, Johns Hopkins University

14. Communities (Room 9205)
Moderator: Nikhil Bilwakesh
“Weeksville, Brooklyn as site for Cultural and Identity Construction”
Aiesha Turman, SUNY Empire State

“Stop Kvetching, You’re in America!: Literacy, Assimilation, and the Old World in the Making of American Jews on the Lower East Side.”
Debby Katz, CUNY Graduate Center
[projector needed]

“Community as Text, Text as Community in Toni Morrison’s Paradise”
Justin Kiczek, Hunter College

15. Domestic Spaces (Room 9206)
Moderator: Neil Meyer
“Cultural encounters of the Varda kind: Ethnographic space in The Gleaners and I”
Nathalie Fouyer, CUNY Graduate Center

“Domesticity’s Significance and Trajectory in James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man”
Diana Joy Colbert, CUNY Graduate Center

“Wasteland of the free: Dennis Cooper’s and Douglas Coupland’s suburban frontiers”
Martin Dines, Kingston University, UK

16. British Spaces (Room 9207)
Moderator: Bridget McGovern
“‘We let people make up their own minds’: Rock history as interpretive space in Michael Winterbottom’s 24 Hour Party People”
Kelley C. Kawano, CUNY Graduate Center

“Panic on the Streets of London: Empty City Space and Moral Panics in 28 Days Later and Seven Days till noon”
Paul Booth, Manchester Metropolitan University

“The Sites of Void in Contemporary British Novel”
Nikolina Knezevic, CUNY Graduate Center

4:30 – 5:30 Keynote Address by Miles Orvell, Professor of English and American Studies at Temple University

5:30 – 6:30 Reception