The British Modernities Group

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Call for Papers: “‘Changing the Subject’: Subjectivity, Habitus, Behavior, and the End of the Subject”

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“‘Changing the Subject’: Subjectivity, Habitus, Behavior, and the End of the Subject”

British Modernities Group, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

May 4-5, 2017 (*tentative dates)

Keynote Speakers: TBD

The British Modernities Group (BMG) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign invites graduate students to present papers at its twelfth annual interdisciplinary conference, “Changing the Subject’: Subjectivity, Habitus, Behavior, and the End of the Subject.”

Our conference brings together innovative work in ontology, literature, philosophy, psychology, and related fields of study to consider how scholars have responded to questions about subjectivity and ontology, specifically how behavior, habit, embodiment, and the mind affect our understanding of the everyday material existence of the ostensibly individual, coherent subject. As recent developments in domestic and foreign policy (such as the immigration ban) have reanimated questions of who is imagined to be the citizen-subject deserving of humanity, inclusion, and civil rights, our conference confronts the explicit and implicit stakes of reifying subjectivity–and the forms of being that the “subject” excludes and forecloses from our imaginary.

We hope to foster responses to questions concerning the subject, the abject, the reject, and the object. What does focusing on subjectivity in literature and other disciplines teach us? How do the oft-overlooked, banal, everyday categories of behavior, habit, and embodiment shape and determine the conditions of possibility for subjectivity and our lived orientation to the world? When exploring the forms of lived experience that constitute the ontology of the subject, what new forms-of-life along with their attendant interactions with and orientations to the world emerge? How might theories of the mind, behavior, psychology, disability, queer, and non-normative embodiments enliven and re-awaken conversations concerning the relationship between being and everyday existence? What new considerations of ontology as everyday lived practice might reading, writing, film, visual art, and other expressive genres foster? How do questions of being re-orient spectators to their own being-in-the-world? Do such reformulations of subjectivity disrupt or unsettle our understanding of the objects that surround us? How might historic and contemporary scientific studies attempting to define and explore what it means to be shape our understanding of literary texts, representation, and reader reception? Does a reformulation of subjectivity affect our understanding of the citizen, law, nation, and racialization?

The British Modernities Group invites novel paper proposals from any discipline and theoretical background. Possible paper topics and methodologies include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Learned behavior
  • Studies in subjectivity
  • Alternate subjectivities
  • Theories of the mind
  • Queer subjectivities
  • Non-normative bodies and minds
  • Cognitive theories
  • Disability and illness
  • Science and embodiment
  • Reflex and automatic behavior
  • Theories of the everyday
  • Affect and the mind
  • Object oriented ontology
  • Ontology and materiality
  • Forms-of-life other than the subject
  • Ontology in film, visual art, and expressive culture
  • Theories of reading and writing
  • Theories of racialization and subjectivity

Abstracts of no more than 250 words for individual papers (or 350 words for panels) should be submitted to by Monday, March 6, 2017. Please include your name, along with your departmental and institutional affiliations, in your email. Conference papers must not exceed 20 minutes. Visit our website ( or check us out on Facebook ( and Twitter (@BMGmodernities) for more information about the BMG.



Written by modernities

January 30, 2017 at 7:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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  1. […] BMG will accept abstracts of no more than 250 words for individual paper (or 350 words for panels), and papers should not exceed 20 minutes. Submissions should include students name as well as departmental and institutional affiliation. See the official call-for-submissions here. […]

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