Call for Submissions: Pop Praxis


Pop Praxis: Social Justice & the Media

Keynote Speaker: Andi Zeisler, co-founder and editorial/creative director of Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture

University of Cincinnati

Conference date: April 8th, 2011

Deadline for submissions: January 5th, 2011

Notifications of acceptance will be sent by January 15th, 2010

Pop culture: what are its possibilities? Its consequences?  It produces representations of race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, and religion. It crosses boundaries of identity, teaching us (or professing to teach us) about others. It permeates our everyday, sending us messages about ourselves and our place in the world. It has potential to define the cutting edge just as it reinforces the hegemonic status quo. It comments on society; it creates society. Pop culture is praxis: the grounds for theoretical exploration as well as political action.

Pop Praxis: Social Justice & the Media seeks paper, presentation and workshop submissions for a conference to be held on Friday, April 8th, 2011 at the University of Cincinnati. Pop culture—television, movies, music, etc.—represents a central site of inquiry for scholars and activists who work toward social justice. This conference provides a space for dialogue about the intersections of pop culture, theory and practice.  We will explore the roles we all can play in the production and thoughtful consumption of culture.

We look forward to reading your proposal regarding pop culture as it relates to feminism, race, disability or queer theory, class, consumption, and all forms of political activism or cultural production.

Topics include, but are not limited to:

Analysis of scripted television (e.g., LOST, Sex & the City, Mad Men)

Analysis of reality television (e.g., The Real L Word, Jersey Shore, anything on Vh1)

The culture and/or activism of social networking (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, myspace, YouTube)

Lady Gaga (e.g., her music, videos, performance, fashion, politics, persona)

Ableism & representations of disability in pop culture (e.g., Weeds, Million Dollar Baby, crip-hop)

Political porn? (e.g., feminist, queer, etc.)

Gender and sexuality in music videos (e.g., Ke$ha, Justin Bieber, Beyoncé)

Indie publishing and production (e.g., zines, blogs, documentaries, podcasts)

Cinema (e.g., The Kids Are All Right, Avatar, Precious, The Blind Side)

Race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, religion, nature, etc. in pop culture

This event will be free and open to the public. Info about accommodations will follow.

Proposal format:

We will accept proposals from undergraduates, graduates and faculty. Presentations will run 15-20 minutes each and can include papers, films or workshops oriented toward practice (activism, media production, performance). Your proposal should be sent as a Word document and include: title, 300-word abstract, description of A/V needs, your contact info, and a bio of no more than 100 words including your university affiliation. Send your submissions and/or questions to no later than January 5th, 2011.


Book Release Party for Christine Sneed’s New Book

Christine Sneed will have a release party for her recent story collection, Portraits of a Few of the People I’ve Made Cry (University of Massachusetts Press 2009). This collection has been well received, and it won AWP’s 2009 Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction.

Read below for details on the release party, which everyone in the English Department at DePaul is encouraged to attend:

When: 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, November 17
Where: Women and Children First, 5233 N. Clark St in Andersonville. An independent bookstore and Chicago literary fixture.

Refreshments will be served.

Below is the review from the Oct. 4 issue of  Publishers Weekly

Starred Review.  Portraits of a Few of the People I’ve Made Cry: Stories Christine Sneed. Univ. of Massachusetts, $24.95 (160p) ISBN 978-1-55849-858-7

Ten finely delineated tales featuring protagonists entangled in less-than-ideal romantic scenarios constitute this year’s winner of the Grace Paley Prize. The best stories feature women caught up in liaisons with men either much younger or older. In “Quality of Life,” a 26-year-old woman begins seeing a wealthy man more than double her age, Mr. Fulger, who takes her out infrequently and presses money on her, which she takes because it “made her life more easeful.” She dates other men her age, but can’t seem to stop seeing Mr. Fulger, whose solicitousness eventually has unexpected consequences. In the title story, the granddaughter of a late, famous artist becomes involved with a young artist who may be playing her to obtain the precious notebooks bequeathed to her. Teetering on the brink of self-possession, Sneed’s protagonists aren’t sure they trust themselves, such as the 55-year old narrator of “By the Way” who can’t admit to her much younger lover her fears of faltering memory and mortality. Sneed writes with the care of a fine stylist and the heart of a sympathetic reader. (Nov.)

MAWP Alumna Wins Creative Writing Competition

Tamara Ghattas (MAWP ’10) was the first place winner (Young Adult Division) in the Union League Civic & Arts Foundation’s Creative Writing Competition. Her winning story, “In Blue Seclusion,” will be published in a winner’s anthology this year.

The CAF Creative Writing Competition for Young Writers is, according to, the best contest in the Midwest. There is very generous prize money, no entry fee, and a focus on students who live or study within 100 miles of the Loop.

The Future of the Book and Other Quandaries

Please join us as Literary Agent Michele Rubin, of Writer’s House in New York, discusses “The Future of the Book” on Tuesday, October 26, 2010. She is the first speaker in the Humanities Center’s second 2010-2011 lectures series: Digital Humanities: The Future of the Book and Other Quandaries. Please see attached flyer and below for details.

The Future of the Book
and Other Quandaries

Tuesday, October 26, 2010
DePaul Student Center, 314
2250 N. Sheffield Ave.
5:30 reception • 6:00 lecture
Michele Rubin
Literary Agent, Writer’s House, New York “The Future of the Book”

In the last 10 years, digital technology has changed the human landscape as significantly as the Gutenberg Bible did in the 15th century. It is swiftly evolving and growing and changing our culture in ways that we cannot always see and with consequences we cannot always unravel. The most profound and immediate impact is on the concept of the written word — what gets written, published, taught, remembered. Literary agent Michele Rubin will discuss some of these changes and their impact on the book and on the humanities.

Michele Rubin is a Senior Literary Agent at Writers House, one of the largest and most successful agencies in the world. She represents a range of writers, focusing mostly on non-fiction. She is also the Literary Agent for the Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr, and was responsible for the creation of the new King Legacy Series Imprint at Beacon Press.

This event is free and open to the public.

Tomorrow is the National Day on Writing

Wednesday, October 20, 2010 is the National Day on Writing! Started by the National Council of Teachers of English, the National Day on Writing seeks to celebrate the significance of writing in our everyday lives. As stated on their website, the National Day on Writing will:

  • celebrate the foundational place of writing in Americans’ personal, professional, and civic lives.
  • point to the importance of writing instruction and practice at every grade level, for every student and in every subject area from preschool through university.
  • emphasize the lifelong process of learning to write and composing for different audiences, purposes, and occasions.
  • recognize the scope and range of writing done by the American people and others.
  • honor the use of the full range of media for composing.
  • encourage Americans to write and enjoy and learn from the writing of others.  

The University Center for Writing-based Learning seeks to bring the national celebration of writing to DePaul’s campus with several events throughout the day. Because the National Day on Writing coincides with Human Dignity Week, the Writing Center is acknowledging and celebrating both with writing events that focus on identity and self-expression through writing.  

MAE and MAWP students should pay particular attention to the Roger Graves reading at 6pm titled “From Belles Lettres to Rhetorical Genre Studies: Writing Studies and Rhetoric in Canada 1900-2000.” Professor Graves and his wife Professor Heather Graves were both professors in the English Department at DePaul before relocating to Canada around 2005. We welcome Professor Graves back to the campus and look forward to his talk.

Read about all of the events, hosted by the University Center for Writing-based Learning, below:

11-5 DePaul Center Student Union
Scrabble Tournament
Challenge Writing Center Tutors and Writing Fellows to a game of Scrabble, or help the Lincoln Park Office battle the Loop Office in a cross-campus, electronic Scrabble game!

Gallery of Writers Poster Making
Who are DePaul Writers, and What Do They Write? Come let us know and create a poster that promotes YOU as a writer!

If you contribute a poster to our Gallery of Writers, you will receive a free “I Write with Pride.” t-shirt.

4-6 DePaul Center 8002
Multicultural Poetry Reading
The University Center for Writing-Based Learning invites you to come to a multilingual poetry reading. Share your original work in any language, or read one of your favorite poems.

11-5 Lincoln Park Student Center Atrium
Human Dignity Celebration & Gallery of Writers Poster Making
Come share how writing helps you express your views and identity, and add your thoughts to how writing helps achieve social justice.

If you contribute a poster to our Gallery of Writers, you will receive a free “I Write with Pride.” t-shirt.

12-5 McGaw Hall Atrium
Scrabble Tournament
Challenge Writing Center Tutors and Writing Fellows to a game of Scrabble, or help the Lincoln Park Office battle the Loop Office in a cross-campus, electronic Scrabble game!

5-7 Student Center, Room 120
Making Connections: Careers in Communication & Writing
Panelists from several experience levels will guide those who wish to pursue a career in journalism, creative/technical writing, public relations, organizational communication, and/or media studies.

6:00 Schmitt Academic Center 254
Guest Speaker Series
The Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse invites guest speaker Roger Graves for the Rhetoric and Writing Across Borders series. His talk is titled “From Belles Lettres to Rhetorical Genre Studies: Writing Studies and Rhetoric in Canada 1900-2000”

Life’s Marrow

Guest-post by graduate assistant and MAE student Matthew Fledderjohann. Interested in learning about the choices involved with joining the Peace Corps? Read on.

“English literature, eh? So, uh, what will you do with that exactly?”

As I neared the completion of my undergraduate degree, the questions that had confronted my educational aims for the past four years only increased in intensity. “What’s the marketability of that education?” “Can you get a job with that?” “But how will you make rent?” With less than six months before graduation, I had no idea how to answer any of them. My, “Oh, I’ll come up with something,” was wearing thin.

So, over Christmas break I escaped from the looming reality of Real Life and went to Malaysia. My sister and brother-in-law were teaching in Penang, and they invited me to spend three weeks on the shores of the Indian Ocean with them, sipping watermelon juice and avoiding washed-up jellyfish. Beyond being a wonderfully relaxing way to spend the holidays, my time in Malaysia provided me the opportunity to observe how two Americans could thrive within a foreign environment. My sister and her husband were living well. They knew their neighbors and their city. They knew which vendors had the best shrimp in the market and how to avoid the rude monkeys in the park. In the midst of all that was unfamiliar, they were living life, common life in an uncommon place.

I came home from Malaysia knowing that whatever else I might do after graduation, I wanted what my sister had. I wanted to live normal life in a foreign country. Go to work. Hang out with friends. Buy groceries. But all in an obscure country. A little bit of online research gave me the idea that the United States Peace Corps would be the most direct means to attaining that goal.

And it did just that. As I came to learn, the Peace Corps excels in simply establishing individuals in some of the further corners of the world, providing them with the support they need, and giving them the freedom to just live life. Two months after receiving that indirect degree in Literature and Communications, the Peace Corps responded to my application with an invitation to join their education initiatives in Kazakhstan. My first question, “Where’s Kazakhstan?” was followed closely by my answer, “Absolutely.” One month later I was learning Russian, teaching English, and, yes, eating horsemeat in northwestern Kazakhstan.

While I didn’t truly settle into the ease of common life until my second year of service, the ongoing excitement of new experiences carried me well through my first year. The intimidation of walking into my first American Literature class after having been introduced as a distinguished foreign scholar (only to find that none of the students had textbooks). The time I accidentally bought five kilograms of sour apples. Trying to explain to my host family why my water distiller blew out their electrical grid. Life as an English teacher in geographic Siberia didn’t start out very normally.

But by the fifteen-month mark, I had found a working routine and established a solid base of local friends. I found myself easing into the normality of Kazakhstan life. Those quirks of life were becoming part of the everyday. Washing laundry in the bathtub. Writing out lesson-plans by hand. Using an outhouse in sub-freezing weather. Ordering donor kabobs and local beer at a favorite Soviet diner. In the midst of all that was otherwise unfamiliar, I was living life, very common life in a very uncommon place.

Post Script: As I quickly discovered upon my return to the United States, living in Kazakhstan for twenty-seven months doesn’t exactly answer all those questions about careers possibilities in English Literature. Actually, it doesn’t answer them at all. I’m currently hoping that graduate school will offer the ultimate life-direction that the Peace Corps didn’t. I guess we’ll see about that.