Negotiating Land: New Readings

The English Graduate Student Organization
University at Albany
Negotiating Land:
New Readings
April 17th-18th, 2009
University at Albany

University Hall, Uptown Campus, SUNY Albany

Keynote Speaker

Thadious Davis, University of Pennsylvania
The Polarities of Space: Segregation and Alice Walker's Intervention in Southern Studies (.pdf)

A Lecture in Two Parts:
1) Reconstruction of Southern Racial Space
2) Geographies of the Black Female Body

Call for Proposals

Contemporary conversations about changing global spaces continue to prompt interrogations of dominant and alternative geographies—planetary, technological, literary. This has resulted in the emergence of new perspectives on how to understand the spaces—textual, pedagogical, political, geographical, etc.—from which, into which, and about which we read land and terrestriality. This conference will encourage discussion that spans temporal and cultural milieus and will enable graduate students working in a variety of areas and disciplines to address the ways in which 21st century scholarship considers issues of spatiality. It also presents a unique opportunity to engage ways in which diverse theories are always-already explicitly and implicitly activating larger vocabularies of landscape and land. Possible areas of inquiry may include but are not limited to:

  • Terrestriality and the Non-Human
  • Processes of Naturalization
  • Ideologies of Cartography/Mapmaking
  • Issues of Cosmopolitanism/Planetarity
  • Landscape: Noun or Verb?
  • Environmental/Geographic Readings of Texts
  • Borders, Citizenship, Subjectivity, and Sovereignty
  • Transnational/Intercontinental Mediations
  • Virtual and/or Technological Landscapes
  • Travel/Tourism Discourses
  • Homeland
  • Urban Development
  • Constructs of Time, Terrestrial Time
  • Genealogical/archival space(s)
  • Regional literatures


Paper proposals (250 word maximum) should be sent to by no later than March 1, 2009. Please label e-mail subject as “2009 conference”. For more information, visit our website:

Symposium Program


Negotiating Lands: New Readings
Tentative Schedule

Friday, April 17
6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. Reception (University Hall Atrium)
7:00 p.m.-7:15 p.m. Introductory Remarks (Mike Hill, Associate Professor and English Department Chair; Tomás Urayoán Noel, Assistant Professor) (University Hall 110A/B)
7:20 p.m.-9:00 p.m. Placing Poetics: A Creative Reading (UNH 110A/B)
Molly Belmont, Sam Truitt, Natalie Knight, Menoukha Case (University at Albany)

Saturday, April 18
8:45 a.m -9:15 a.m. Registration; Breakfast (University Hall Atrium)
9:15-9:45 Introductory Remarks (Marjorie Pryse, Professor of English and Dean of Graduate Studies; Helen Elam, Associate Professor and Interim Director of Graduate Studies) (UNH 110A/B)

10:00-11:30 Creative Roundtable: Placing Poetics (UNH 110)
Moderator: Tomás Urayoán Noel (Assistant Professor, University at Albany)
Molly Belmont, Sam Truitt, Menoukha Case (University at Albany)

Panel 1: Designing/Redefining Space (UNH 107)
Moderator: Bonghee Oh
~ Negotiating Landscape: Thoreau’s Surveying Work (Iuliu Ratiu, University at Albany)
~ On or Off the Beaten Path(ology): Founding Xil-Atlantis (Ryan Rashotte, University of Guelph)
~ Transversing “Home”: From the Architecture of Dread/Refuge to “Emotionally Durable Design” (Natalie Knight, University at Albany)

11:45 a.m. -1:15 p.m. Panel 2: Mapping the Masculine/Feminine (UNH 110A/B)
Moderator: Erin Casey
~ Tracing Masculinities in Bessie Head’s The Collector of Treasures and other Botswana Village Tales (Magdalena Bogacka, CUNY Graduate Center)
~ Cartographies and Choreographies: Traversing Gendered Frontiers (Susan B. McGee, Binghamton University, State University of New York)
~ Re-mapping the Post-Colonial Family Tree in Nuruddin Farah and Viola Chandra (Staisey Divorski, University of California, Los Angeles)
~ Discipline and Dispossession: War Accumulations (William Whalen, University at Albany)

1:15-1:45 Lunch (University Hall Atrium)

2:00-3:30 Panel 3: Politics, Ethics, and Land (UNH 110A/B)
Moderator: Lucas Hardy
~ Impossible Worlds, Impossible Ethics: Finding New Political-Ethical Modes of Being in Said, Agamben, and Pullman (Guy Risko, Binghamton University, State University of New York)
~ Sovereign Power, Democracy and Dictatorship in Moby-Dick (Matthew Heuston, University at Albany)
~ No Future: (Un)sustainability and the Lifeless Landscape of The Road (Sarah Dunlap, State University of New York, Fredonia)

Panel 4: Alternative Sites: Place As… (UNH 107)
Moderator: Joshua Bartlett
~ Enchanted Economics: The Rhythms of Exchange in Contemporary Poetry (Carl Kelleher, University of Massachusetts)
~ Critically Reading Instructional Sites: Writing Centers as Examples of “Educational Landscapes” (Chirstopher Dibiase, University of Massachusetts)
~ The Wild Child: Childhood as Territory and Spectacle in Nineteenth Century American Novels (Heather Heim, CUNY Graduate Center)

3:45-5:15 Panel 5: Colonizing/Reconceiving Land (UNH 110A/B)
Moderator: Jonas Williams
~ Land Tenure and Human Rights in the Sierra Huichol (David Bassano, University at Albany)
~ “Bewildred in the Woods”: Puritan Nature and the Crisis of King Philip’s War, (Joshua Bartlett, University at Albany)
~ Usable Land, Uncanny Landscape: Economy, Cartography, and Colonialism in Book II of Spenser’s The Faerie Queene (Erin Casey, University at Albany)

Panel 6: Textual Spaces, Textual Codes (UNH 107)
Moderator: Rebekah Bale
~ “Geometry and Slaughter!”: Entropy and Orthos in Thomas Pynchon’s Mason & Dixon (Nicholas Roth, Cornell University)
~ The Garden IRL: Heterotopias Between the Real and the Virtual (Jodi Austin, Brandeis University)
~ Re-reading the Plantation: Faulkner’s “The Fire and the Hearth” (Christina Thyssen, University at Albany)

5:15-6:00 Afternoon Break; Refreshments (University Hall Atrium)

6:00-7:30 Keynote Address (Thadious Davis, University of Pennsylvania) (UNH 110)
The Polarities of Space: Segregation and Alice Walker's Intervention in Southern
Studies, A Lecture in Two Parts:
1) Reconstruction of Southern Racial Space
2) Geographies of the Black Female Body

Local Information

Symposium Location

University Hall, Uptown Campus, University at Albany SUNY

Campus Map
Directions, Housing, Parking Information