Mardi Gras Conference
The LSU English Graduate Student Association’s annual Mardi Gras Conference takes place every year on the week prior to Mardi Gras. This conference has a long and prestigious history, and it is currently in its 23rd year through the financial support of PSIF Organizational Support, the English department, and the EGSA. Presenters have come not only from the United States but also from across the world, including Canada, Israel, England, Germany, and a host of other countries. Furthermore, the conference has attracted many top scholars as keynote speakers, such as Terry Eagleton, Brian McHale, Cathy Davidson, Timothy Brennan, and Meredith McGill.
28th Annual Mardi Gras Graduate Student Conference at LSU
Rendering Rituals: On Memory and Memorializing
Keynote Speaker: Cynthia Cruz
February 7-9, 2018
Mardi Gras as an event, a reiteration of experience across time, and a kind of ritual renders the new
and the old as occurring simultaneously: our past always directly affects our present. This temporal
boundary crossing reiterates and simultaneously invokes the past in every instance. In Gender Trouble ,
Judith Butler describes ritual as related to the repetition of gender performance across time, which
denaturalizes the concept and instantiates gender as socially constructed. What if we apply Butler’s
logic of the ritual to other concepts of human experience, such as race, religion, sexuality, and
disability? Orienting ourselves within this Butlerian logic, we as scholars might think about how to
interpret these ritual practices in memory. We as humans consistently memorialize the past, so
during this conference, we want to ask: how does such memorialization affect contemporary life?
While this concept of ritual does exist in the theoretical realm, how does this become materialized
and embodied in the world, such as in festivals like Mardi Gras or in physical sites such as the
archive? To this end, how does memory as something internal affect and influence our external and
material world? We hope to investigate these questions and consider a wide range of scholarship and
perspectives as we interrogate the tensions between, and influences of, the past and the present.
Finally, we ask: how do the metaphoric and the literal interact as we memorialize histories across
time? The 28th annual Mardi Gras Graduate Student Conference welcomes submissions on a variety
of topics relating to the interdisciplinary study of language, history, literature, culture, rhetoric, new
media, performance, and pedagogy. Graduate students are encouraged to submit papers, and we
welcome a variety of proposals from different fields of study in hopes of productively engaging with
the tensions across different disciplinary sites.
This year’s keynote speaker is American poet Cynthia Cruz, the author of Wunderkammer (Four Way
Books, 2014), The Glimmering Room (Four Way Books, 2012), and Ruin (Alice James, 2006). She has
published poems in numerous literary journals and magazines including the New Yorker , Kenyon
Review , the Paris Review , and the Boston Review , and in anthologies including Isn't it Romantic: 100 Love
Poems by Younger Poets (2004), and The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetrie s (2004). She is the
recipient of fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and a Hodder fellowship from
Princeton University. Cruz teaches writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She has previously taught at
the Juilliard School, Fordham University, the Rutgers-Newark MFA Program and Eugene Lang
College. Born in Germany, Cruz grew up in northern California, where she earned her BA at Mills
College, her MFA in Creative Writing at Sarah Lawrence College, and her MFA in Art Writing &
Criticism at the School of Visual Arts. She and has published essays, interviews, book and art
reviews in the LA Review of Books , Hyperallergic , Guernica , The American Poetry Review , and The
Rumpus. She lives in Brooklyn.
Please email Carly Rubin and Jeremy Cornelius at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions
For more information, see our website: mgcon2018.weebly.com