Each year since 2014, undergraduates from SFU’s World Literature Program have hosted an interdisciplinary academic student conference addressing cultural, social, and aesthetic frames of reference. Our panels range across literature, cinema, & the image, and investigate the socio-political, cultural, & literary fallouts of cross-national encounters.
Our 6th annual academic conference takes place this coming November. Each of our previous conferences have been attended by nearly 200 students, faculty, and members of the public. Addressing a shared conference theme, each year some 24-30 undergraduates from different departments have presented papers across 4 focused conference panels on aspects of World Literature and global culture. We have never had less than 48 audience members at any of our parallel sessions, and most of the attendees remain for the Gala reception immediately afterwards. Our host organization is the World Literature Student Union, and, since January 2016, a rotating student production team of between 32 and 47 individuals (Co-Curricular Credits given). We are grateful for financial and logistical support through SFSS, Arts Central, and the FASS office of Student Engagement.
Since 2018 we have been in conversation with the FASS Director of Student Engagement, Dr. Bettina Cenerelli, and the team at Arts Central. On occasion we have expanded our conference to include the formal participation of other departments within the faculty. This initiative began a trial run that year, and in 2019 we welcomed student presenters from FRENCH and FIRST NATIONS STUDIES. Our goal is to expand the event to allow the addition of a third parallel session. Eventually, we hope to open our conference to the faculty as a whole, with focus on the process of creating shared themes and joint panels. That we are ready to expand the conference is testimony to the dedication and professionalism of our student team, and to their willingness to work in concert with other student groups and disciplinary platforms.
The 2020 CONFERENCE will be taking place as an interactive INTERDISCIPLINARY VIRTUAL EVENT. Student work will be posted on a mixed-media web platform for viewers to read, watch, and engage with. Then, on Friday November 20, 2020, we will meet for a virtual Q&A session where presenters will have a chance to speak about their work and answer any questions from the audience. This year’s conference theme is “ART & DEFIANCE : NARRATIVES of DISOBEDIENCE” and it asks, in our time of protest around the world, to what degree cultural expressions such as fiction and film provide traction of the stories societies tell themselves?
The 2020 WL Student Conference team is presently in the process of finalizing the infrastructure of the event. For practical information on submissions, visit the Call for Submissions page.