Department of English

University of Toronto

2013-2014 Deadlines

The following "Call for Papers" are organized by due date:


Centre for Comparative Literature
University of Toronto
February 27th to March 1st, 2014
Keynote Address by:Dina Al-Kassim (University of British Columbia)

“JOY” is the theme for the 24th annual conference of the Centre for Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto. We invite you to consider the idea of joy in literary, theoretical, and interdisciplinary contexts.

What is joy, we would like to ask earnestly? What do literature, art, and philosophy say about joy? According to Gilles Deleuze, “You feel joy when you realize a potency, when you make a force real” (L’Abécédaire). And yet, how can the potential of one’s life be realized to the highest degree? Is the feeling of joy, or the quest for it, culturally defined, and does it entail broader implications for our understanding of the human? Is the temporality of joy a rupture in time, and does it disturb commonly accepted notions of subjectivity?

We propose to consider joy as a radical concept/emotion in the contemporary world. How are we to distinguish joy from happiness in a culture of self-help manuals, international happiness indexes, and widespread mood enhancers? If unhappiness is framed as a chemical imbalance, then what are we to make of joy? Can joy be understood as acceptance, affirmation, and creation of actual material conditions rather than a transcendental escape from realities?

By reflecting on emotions, we ask what the implications are of situating joy in relation to the exigencies of critical thinking. How can joy be thought of as a part of the embodied and embedded structures of the subject at the heart of the processes of knowing? Is there space for joyful processes of becoming, learning, and living? If such a space does—or did—exist, what are the implications of such affirmation in relation to the process of thinking itself?

In the literary context, we ask in what ways representations of joy are valued or perceived. Why is the influence of Shakespeare’s tragedies on popular culture and the collective consciousness (e.g. Romeo & Juliet archetypes; Hamlet’s inescapable quotation) deeper than that of his comedies? Why is joy a much less obvious literary focus than sombre subject matters? What can we say about the link between joy and imagination? Is humoristic literature necessarily joyful? What is the impact of joyful characters or episodes on narration and literary structure?

Finally, how is joy related to social justice and politics? We would like to explore the roles of joy as a motivator or an agitator, in addition to its ability to flourish in even the most harrowing of circumstances and to the role it plays in human resilience. How can we see paths for justice or social struggles as the subjective and collective realization of potencies, made in the mode of joy?

Suggested topics for exploration include but are not limited to:

- Literature of joy

- Affirmative ethics

- Disruptive potentials of joy

- Geographies of joy, cultures, and joyful encounters

- Environment, non-humans and humans

- Secret expressions: counter-cultures of joy

- Legibility and histories of joy

- Bodily expressions of joy: performance, spontaneity, dance

- Musicality and the sounds of joy

- Disciplining joy: artificial joy, self-help literatures, medical enhancement, positive thinking

- Psychological and psychoanalytic conceptions of joy: desire, longing, memory, anti-Oedipus

- Philosophical perspectives of joy: Braidotti, Leibniz, Spinoza, Deleuze, etc.

- Religion, spirituality and joy

- Joy and pedagogy

- Bibliophilia, cinephilia, etc.

- Joyfulness in writing or reading literature

- Joyful characters or episodes

- Aesthetics of joy and its manifestations in popular culture

- Humour, the comic and the production of joy

- Speculative notions of joy, science-fiction, and (bio)technology

We call upon scholars, intellectuals, and creative writers to submit proposals of no more than 250 words for a 20-minute talk, as well as a brief biographical statement of no more than 50 words, by October 4, 2013 via our website:

Please contact for any questions.

The Word Hoard

November 15, 2013

Word Hoard is an inter-disciplinary graduate journal that foregrounds a uniquely dialogic model. For its third issue, "Pop/Corn", we are seeking submissions dealing with pop culture and the aesthetics of corniness and kitsch. Submissions will be accepted no later than November 15th, 2013.

We invite submissions between 3000-5000 words related to the provocation and concept of “Pop/Corn.” Submissions are due 15 November 2013. Accepted submissions can expect online and print publication in the summer of 2014. All submissions will be peer-reviewed, all accepted submissions will be responded to within our dialogic, multi-generic format, and all disciplines relating to arts, culture, and the humanities are invited to submit. The first two issues of Word Hoard can be found at:

Submissions should be formatted according to MLA guidelines, and should also include a brief biographical sketch of the author; abstracts are appreciated but not required. Articles, interviews, and other forms of content submission should not contain the author’s name or obvious identification marks to ensure an objective peer-reviewing process. To submit, or for more information, please contact

For more information please view the PDF here .

2nd Biennial University of Toronto Graduate Student
Conference on South Asian Religions:
The Methods of Memory
November 1-2, 2013

We extend a cordial call to graduate students for papers exploring the nature, scope, and practice of memory in South Asian religious traditions.

While memory is often popularly conceived as the act of recollection or as a mental storage space, recent theorizations encourage a much more diverse and dynamic understanding of memory and its role in cultural phenomena. Scholars of South Asia in particular, including Christian Lee Novetzke, Prachi Deshpande and Ramya Sreenivasan, have highlighted memory’s role in the formation of public spheres, the emergence of regional identities, and the authorizing of particular discourses about the past. This conference seeks to continue and expand this ongoing conversation on memory with respect to a wide range of South Asian religious phenomena including, but not limited to, the engagement with sacred texts, the creation and veneration of sacred figures and places, the design and performance of rituals, and the projection and transmission of visualized and embodied aesthetic forms.

In doing so, we hope to raise questions such as the following:
• What is memory, or rather, when is memory, and how and at which temporal junctures is it evoked in South Asian religious traditions?
• How are memories transmitted and enacted, performed and deployed, encouraged and suppressed? How reliable are these archives?
• What role does remembering – or forgetting – play in the construction of identities and in the negotiation of sacred time and space?
• How is the past imagined and realized through memory, and what part does memory play in the envisioning of competing futures?
• What is the role of memory in historiography and what are the opportunities memory offers for an alternative understanding of history?
• How useful is memory as an analytic category in the study of South Asian religious traditions?

Proposals broadly addressing themes such as these are welcomed from graduate students engaged in original research in any field related to the study of South Asian religious traditions (e.g. Religion, Philosophy, Anthropology, History, Art History, Sociology, South Asian Studies, Diaspora and Transnational Studies, Women and Gender Studies, Linguistics, etc.). This conference will offer a congenial platform for graduate students to present, discuss, and receive feedback on their work from both their peers and faculty in related disciplines.

It gives us great pleasure to announce that Vasudha Dalmia, Chandrika and Ranjan Tandon Professor of Hindu Studies at Yale University, will be delivering the conference’s keynote address.

Proposals of no more than 300 words, a list of five keywords, and a CV should be sent to by September 1, 2013. For further enquiries, please contact or .

For more information please view the PDF here.

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