Wilson College Humanities Conference
The Alien and The Aliens: Difference, Otherness, and “Little Green Men”
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Held in the Brooks Complex of Wilson College
sponsored by Wilson’s M.A. in Humanities Program
The theme of this year’s Wilson College Orr Forum is concerned with inequality, from social justice to wealth and status to the veritable “Eye of the Needle,” referencing the New Testament story about a rich man asking Jesus what is needed for salvation. Wilson’s annual Humanities Conference seeks to broaden this theme by focusing on concepts of alienation and alien-ing—on that which causes us to create or notice difference, and that which causes us to react to those differences as well.
The Other suggests that which is of society but still different from it—meaning that the Other is recognizable as an element of society, even if originating elsewhere. The Alien, though, suggests some things—beings, concepts, people, ideas, beliefs, values, systems—that seemingly differ so much that they must originate from outside of society—from other worlds and outer spaces, metaphorically or (in some cases) literally. Aliens, after all, in their most basic definition, are beings not of this Earth, and as such, they are strange to us indeed.
This conference looks to how the various fields represented by the Humanities explore our own relationship to these concepts of The Alien and The Aliens. How can we use the Humanities to make sense of that which seems so different? How can we use what we study to understand more about our own fears and fascinations for what is seen as dissimilar, and strange, and unusual? Or, conversely, how does the Humanities bridge the gap between The Alien and what is deemed socially normative, or socially desirable, or simply capable of being comprehended?
Please feel free to interpret the theme of this conference liberally. Our goal is to bring a group of Humanities scholars from around the region together to articulate and celebrate these always intriguing and confounding questions of difference, o/Otherness, inequality, alienation, and, yes, even little green men and women; we hope to use this conference to explore all relevant aspects of what is alien.
Faculty, graduate students, and independent scholars are invited to submit.
Undergraduate students may also submit abstracts, but their submission must be sponsored by a current faculty member at their institution. (For more on this, please contact the conference director.)
To submit a presentation, please send an abstract of approximately 200 words to the email address below.
Send abstracts to:
Dr. Michael G. Cornelius
Program Director, MA in Humanities
Submit the abstract as either a .rtf, .doc, or .docx file, or simply place it into the text of the email itself.
Individual presentations will last no more than 15 minutes; panels of up to 3 individuals may be submitted as well. Special panels or creative approaches are happily considered; please contact the conference director for more information. Each conference participant may submit only one abstract. Abstracts are due by JANUARY 15, 2017.
The conference is sponsored by Wilson’s M.A. in Humanities program, in conjunction with the Orr Forum 20176-17 Lecture and Performance Series.