Extended to Aug 31 | CPF – Peripheral Matters Graduate Conference


An Interdisciplinary Conference

October 27, 2017


Department of Comparative Literature

The Graduate Center, CUNY

New York, NY


While often conceived of as a mere edge, a periphery is, etymologically, a space that encircles and contains. Historically, this constitutive ambiguity has led to an impoverished notion of periphery in which what occurs on the edge has often been considered only secondarily. Such a subordination is the result of a centrifugal movement from a purportedly dominant center towards an allegedly chaotic outskirt, a periphery that becomes merely the receptacle of outcast entities: whether individuals, social groups, or cultural narratives at large.

Deconstruction and postcolonialism have aggressively challenged this view and peripheries are now recognized as having an inherent centripetal force. These liminal spaces are no longer the passive recipient of cultural and social discards but have, on the contrary, become the origin of cultural stimuli that shake and re-define the core tenets of a center. With this in mind, current social debates require us to reconsider peripheries, leveraging them to question well-established cultural assumptions.

The Department of Comparative Literature is proud to host Peripheral Matters, the 2017 edition of its annual Graduate Conference, in order to survey the role of peripheries in literary and cultural studies. We wish to explore how peripheries matter in their geographical, social, and political implications, as well as in their representation in the arts and within the arts themselves. We aim to investigate the relevance of peripheral matters as cognitive tools to posit epistemological hierarchies. Given the relevance of the notion of periphery, the conference is open to scholars from a wide range of fields, such as: geography, architecture, social studies, humanities, literature, visual arts, film and TV studies, critical theory, music.


Possible topics include but are not limited to:


• World Literature and Literatures across space and time

• Postcolonial Studies

• Visual Arts: Painting, Sculpture, Comic Books

• Film, TV, New Media, and Music

• Architecture and Urban Studies 

• Geography and Sociology

• Critical Theory and Political Sciences

• Gender Studies and Queer Theory

• Linguistics


Please submit a 200-word abstract to peripheralmatters@gmail.com for a 15 minute paper by August 31st. Proposals should include the title of the paper, the presenter’s name, a 50-word bio including institutional and department affiliation, and any technology requests.


Martin Aagaard Jensen

Christopher Campbell

Alberto Gelmi

Evan Knight

Ariel Leutheusser

Nicole Paronzini