UCLA Friends of English Southland Conference

At a Glance:

  • A graduate conference taking place May 10-11, 2019 at Kaplan Hall, UCLA
  • Keynotes by Rei Terada (UCI) and Sarah Tindal Kareem (UCLA)
  • Deadline for abstracts: March 25, 2019
  • Organizing committee: Lillian Lu, Rhonda Sharrah, Samantha Solis, Tony Wei Ling, & Jesslyn Whittell
  • Send questions and abstracts to southland.conference.2019@gmail.com


Our CFP:

“What exactly is ordinary language? Is it possible to write in something other than ordinary language? … And is it really true that in order to break the stranglehold of ideology, intellectuals must use a special, philosophical vocabulary?”

––Toril Moi, Revolution of the Ordinary

Ordinary –– from “order.” In literary scholar and philosopher Toril Moi’s Revolution of the Ordinary (2017), she points out that ordinary language can shape the way scholarship thinks about itself; turning, as Wittgenstein does, to the example rather than to the theory can allow a different kind of orientation to sticky intellectual problems. Usually, we only notice ordinary things when they get in the way of being orderly: doctor appointments; Twitter feeds; free samples; ugly feelings that resist climax, catharsis, or resolution. The ordinary can enable theory, but it can also resist and exhaust theory—the ordinary needs to be felt and done, in real time. The ordinary is orderly and messy –– things dismissed as unremarkable until we find ourselves at a loss to describe them except in allegory or exaggeration. Since ordinariness permeates (and perhaps constitutes) our everyday lives, we reach for an understanding of it through the extraordinary event of narrative, even as the ordinary seems to exceed the bounds of language.

Scholars have often combed through records of ordinary events trying to find the beginnings of systems and historical movements, but perhaps the ordinary can also provide a frame for a more inclusive and richly textured chronicle of life across, within, and outside of dominant narratives. Is the ordinary closer to the “real” than the extraordinary? Who has access to the ordinary and the routine? What does it mean to crave the ordinary? What happens when the ordinary is undone, or when is the ordinary not enough?

We welcome paper proposals from any discipline that consider these concepts as they might appear in various fields, including but not limited to:

  • ordinary reading practices
  • ordinary language philosophy
  • queerness and the everyday
  • ordinariness amidst apocalypse
  • ideal ordinaries, domestic ordinariness
  • commonplace books and writers’ notebooks
  • moving between the ordinary and sublime
  • climate change as everyday and/or sublime
  • narrative temporality, novel time
  • epic as ordinary
  • genre as extra/ordinary
  • routine, habits, cycles
  • calendar time, clock time, apocalyptic/messianic time
  • chronic illness, mental pain, exhaustion
  • indifference, inuring, boredom
  • the urban as ordinary and/or sublime
  • parataxis, cognitive dissonance

Please send a 200-300 word abstract and bio to southland.conference.2019@gmail.com by Monday, March 25 with your name, contact information, department, and institution.

Accepted papers will be pre-circulated to the panel and respondent a week prior to the conference. Suggested paper length: 7-10 pages.