EXTENDED Proposal Deadline:     Midnight / Friday, March 6th
Conference Date:                               Friday November 20, 2020

The 2020 WORLD LITERATURE STUDENT CONFERENCE is now accepting submissions for its annual event.  This year, the theme is ART & DEFIANCE: NARRATIVES OF DISOBEDIENCE.  As protests across the world continue to show us, defiance can be a violent act.  Should art be defiant as well?  Does art have to defy the stories a society tells itself?  Whether in art, media, culture, or social confrontation, cultural narratives arrange today’s complexities into a neat, linear package, pressing ideas and people that do not fit into the margins.  Can disobedient narratives force us to see a different image?  What does it mean for an artist to disobey?  In our era of unstable social formations and cross-cultural exchange, stories shape and are shaped by the way we view the world.  At the same time, narratives of disobedience allow people to reassert themselves back into the stories they tell.  This interdisciplinary conference seeks to examine conflicting narratives alongside moments in which defiance acts as a medium of expression.

Whether you have taken a World Literature course or a course in a related program (social sciences, English, history, film, etc.), we invite undergraduates across all faculties & year levels to submit papers or other kinds of projects for presentation at the conference.  We encourage presentations which use different perspectives, including geographic, ideological, colonial, linguistic, psychological, or environmental approaches.  Submissions from all departments will be treated with equal attention & confidentiality.  A completed project is not needed at the time of proposal, only a short abstract or description of 150+ words.


Each speaker will have four to five minutes to present their paper, meaning that the actual papers should be no more than 500–600 words in length, and may represent a shortened version of a longer piece of writing.

Papers can also be interdisciplinary: you may choose to read an essay, speak from notes, offer a PowerPoint, or deliver a joint presentation. We look forward to reading your interpretations and responses to this year’s theme!

EXTENDED Proposal Deadline:  Midnight / Friday, March 6th


Here is some inspiration in regards to topics & theses that past presenters have presented on. For inspiration regarding visuals, visit our Facebook page. 

If you have trouble coming up with a relevant topic or thesis, compare the following topics and theses to their respective conference themes. 

  • The Road No Longer Taken: Do Oral Stories Still Have a Place in the Modern World? (Rodman Joseph, 2018)
  • The Paradox of the Passions: The Artistic Neutering of LGBTQ+ Cinema (Karina Asaikpuka, 2018)
  • Traduction Intersémiotique et Censure Dans la Poésie Catalane (Liza Siamer, 2018)
  • The Refugee's Tale of Hope (Hanna Choi, 2018)
  • Making an ‘Other’: Native Americans in Civil War Westerns (Jasper Cattell, 2017)
  • Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis: A tale of Freudian Regression (Jaiden Dembo, 2016)
  • Beyond Lonely Starbucks Lovers: Agency & Persona in Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” Video (Melanie Hiepler, 2015)
  • Baudrillard’s Persona Simulacra: Investigating Richard III and In the Heart of the Country (Maya Gal, 2017)
  • Beyoncé and the Greeks: Using Femininity for Political Purposes (Brigitte Malana, 2016)
  • The Gardener & Garden: The Internalization of Man in Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals (Elda Hajdaravoc, 2016)