College of Arts and Sciences

Call for Papers

14th Annual EGO / ΣΤΔ Conference

EGO Conference 2017Empathy and Anger

The English Graduate Organization (EGO) and the Sigma Tau Delta ( ΣΤΔ ) Phi Delta chapter of Western Illinois University call for paper or panel proposals from graduate students, undergraduate students, and faculty for our fourteenth annual conference in Macomb, IL on Friday, Nov. 3rd and Saturday, Nov. 4th, 2017.

The contemporary world is overwhelmed by both excessive expressions of anger and desperate calls for empathy. During the past year, pundits and cultural critics ceaselessly remark on the inflation of these emotional appeals and the correlative devaluation of reason. In this cultural context, scholars of literature and writing studies have unique and important perspectives to offer. The very roots of ancient rhetoric are steeped in debates about emotion, sophistry, and truth. Extreme emotions are everywhere in literature: the anger of Achilles, the sentimental novels of the eighteenth and nineteenth-century ( Pamela and Uncle Tom’s Cabin ), and contemporary cinema, television, and new media (from screaming on reality TV to the ubiquity of internet trolls). Indeed, literature has traditionally been defined by its complex understanding and deployment of sentiment, and its key role in shaping how political subjects imagine themselves. Moreover, the recent “affective turn” in literary theory and cultural studies not only provides new languages to understand and describe feelings, but also allows critics to trace the forces that might be accountable for such intensities of sentiment.

This  year’s conference theme is  empathy and anger, but we welcome paper and panel proposals on any subject in English Studies. We also welcome submissions of creative work .

Keynote: Dr. Peter DeGabriele is  the author of Sovereign Power and the Enlightenment: the Problem of the Political in Eighteenth Century England (Bucknell 2015). His talk will consider questions of responsibility, violence, and feeling  from the sixteenth century to our contemporary era: “Sovereign (Ir)responsibility: Leviathan among the Drones,” on Friday, Nov. 3rd, 2017 at 7:00 PM, 109 Morgan.

EGO Conference 2017 - Peter DeGabriele

Proposals: This year, we invite proposals for papers or for complete panels, critical or creative. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • Anger
  • Empathy
  • Affect, sense, and the body
  • Class Conflict
  • Emotion, reason, and contradictions of the enlightenment
  • Film and affect
  • Focus on major authors (e.g.  Emerson; Nadine Gordimer; Edgar Allen Poe; Sara Suleri, etc. )
  • Interventions by feminist, gender, and queer theorists
  • Liberalism and liberal sensibilities
  • New writing of resistance/insistence/demand: zines, blogs, tweets, etc.
  • Objective Correlatives
  • Pedagogy
  • Protest Movements
  • Reason and pathos
  • Sentimental and sensation novels
  • Shakespeare, anger, and empathy  
  • Violence

Please send 250-word abstracts or inquiries to by October 20th, 2017.

The English Graduate Organization / Sigma Tau Delta Conference

The Department of English, 124 Simpkins Hall, Macomb, IL. 61455.  309.298.1103

For further information, please visit our website:


Directions for Undergraduate Conference Paper Awards:

Undergraduate members of Midwestern chapters of Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society are eligible to apply for prizes of $100, $50, and $25 for the best three overall papers (critical or creative) and $50 for the best paper (critical or creative) responding to the common reader, The Book of Unknown Americans, by Christina Henríquez, which are presented at the fourteenth annual STD/EGO Regional Conference at Western Illinois University. To apply, students must send their complete work, as it will be presented, of no more than 10 double-spaced pages in 12-point Times New Roman font, as a Microsoft Word attachment to Midwestern Regent Dr. Magdelyn Helwig ( no later than 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, October 21, 2017. Winners, who will be announced at the end of the conference, must attend and present their papers at the regional conference on Saturday, November 4, 2017.


Directions for Graduate Conference Paper Awards:

Graduate students presenting at the conference are eligible to apply for cash prizes, awarded for the best three critical essays. A panel of judges will consider both the written essay and the quality of its presentation at the conference.  To apply, students must send their complete critical essay, as it will be presented, in a Microsoft Word attachment to the Director of Graduate Studies in English at Western, Dr. David Banash ( no later than 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, October 21, 2017. Essays should follow MLA style and must include a works cited list. Winners will be announced and prizes awarded at the end of the conference on Saturday, November 4, 2017.