University News

EGO Conference to Examine Roles of the Body in Literature

October 30, 2008

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MACOMB, IL - - "The Body: Images, Perceptions and Representations" is the theme of Western Illinois University's English Graduate Organization's (EGO) fifth annual conference which will be held Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 8-9 in the University Union.

"We are excited to have so many scholars from WIU and other universities, both here and abroad, presenting at this year's conference," said Emily Brackman, EGO president and a conference organizer, along with Michael Baumann. "It gives us the opportunity to share our ideas and meet other graduate students and professionals in our specific areas of interest."

Graduate students from 19 universities from across the Midwest and East Coast, as well as Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada; Lakehead University, Ontario, Canada; Atilim University, Ankara, Turkey; and the University of Hong Kong, will give presentations on the major themes of technology, the environment, masculinity, femininity, and selfhood, religion and the body, disability, female image, love and fashion, colonialism and the black body, mental and spiritual health and medicated bodies. Conference information, including a listing of the topics, times and rooms, is available at

The keynote address by Martha Stoddard Holmes, associate professor and literature and writing studies department graduate program adviser at California State University San Marcos, will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 9 in the University Union. Holmes presentation will be "Cancer Comix: Narrating Cancer Through Sequential Art."

A scholar of Victorian literature and culture, Holmes' key area of focus is in disability studies, which is an analysis of the cultural and social construction of identity. She is the author of "Fiction of Affliction: Physical Disability in Victorian Culture" (University of Michigan Press, 2004); and she is co-editor, with Diane P. Freedman, of "The Teacher's Body: Embodiment, Authority, and Identity in the Academy (SUNY Press, 2003).

"Dr. Holmes has a great deal of experience in the field of disability studies and Victorian literature and culture. Her presentation will be a wonderful conclusion to the numerous discussions being held throughout the weekend," Brackman said.

English graduate student presenters from Western Illinois include Brackman, who will present "Deep Ecology and the Human Body;" Anne Schnarr (Glenview, IL), whose topic is "DeLillo and The Body of the Crowd;" Danelle Jordan (East Moline, IL), "The Dichotomy Paradox: Innocent Girl and Fallen Woman in 'The Quaker City';" Carissa Miller (Aurora, IL), "The Problematic Identity Constructions of Adam and Eve;" Holly Luetkenhaus (Macomb), "Ungendered Feminism in Orlando;" and Craig Finlay (Bushnell, IL), "Byron and Orientalism."

Sponsors of the EGO conference include Western's English Graduate Organization, the English and journalism department, University Theme Committee, Visiting Lecture Committee and the Office of the Provost.

For more information, contact Brackman at

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