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College of Humanities & Sciences | Creative Writing Conference

Creative Writing Conference
Thinking Its Presence: The Racial Imaginary

March 12-14, 2015

Creative Writing Conference
Thinking Its Presence: Race & Creative Writing

Creative Writing Conference

2015 Conference Theme: The Racial Imaginary

At this year’s conference, the keynote speaker will be poet and writer Claudia Rankine. Discussions will focus on her new collection Citizen, about micro-aggressions as they relate to race, and on the anthology The Racial Imaginary, coedited with Beth Loffreda and Max King Cap, forthcoming in November from Fence Books.

The Racial Imaginary is based on an expansion and deepening of Rankine’s 2011 “Open Letter” web-project, in which writers explore art’s failure, thus far, to adequately imagine race and culture. In response to Rankine’s project, writers question the effects and affects of racial difference and explore what it means for art to fail and to adequately imagine. Many of the more than thirty contributing writers will read from the anthology as well as present papers and panels.

Other featured writers and scholars will include Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Marilyn Chin, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Emma Pérez, William S. YellowRobe, and Ofelia Zepeda, among many others. We are interested in soliciting writing and scholarship— in the form of panels and readings—on Wanda Coleman, Amiri Baraka, Stuart Hall, and Fred Ho.

Now in its second year, Thinking Its Presence: Race, Literary Study, and Creative Writing examines innovative creative writing and scholarship that re-thinks the complex and inseparable links between literary forms and the racialized thinking, processes, and histories that have shaped this country since its founding. The conference brings together the discipline and teaching of creative writing with perspectives from critical race theory, poetics, performance studies, literary theory, literary history, ethnic literatures, and Native American and Indigenous studies. We intend to foster a dynamic exchange among creative writers and scholars. To that end, the conference will include readings, panels devoted to scholarship, and panels devoted to critical discussion of pedagogies and institutional practices.

 The title of this conference comes from scholar Dorothy Wang’s book Thinking Its Presence: Form, Race, and Subjectivity in Contemporary Asian American Poetry (Stanford University Press, 2013). Wang’s book makes the larger case “that aesthetic forms are inseparable from social, political, and historical contexts when it comes to the writing and reception of poetry.”

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University of Montana

Creative Writing Conference

University of Montana | Missoula, MT 59812

Prageeta Sharma | LA 211 | Office: (406) 243.2029 | Cell: (718) 451-6179 | prageeta.sharma@mso.umt.edu