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Department of Literatures in English Graduate Student Organization (EGSO) Conference

Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 9:00am

Virtual Event

2021 Virtual Conference: Vulnerability
April 16th - 17th, 2021

“Vulnerability,” defined as a sense of exposure or openness, carries multiple connotations. As a source of intimacy in intersubjective relationships, it is associated with care and frequently valorized, evoking trust, honesty, and emotional sincerity. By contrast, vulnerability as a social condition tends to connote negative images —of contingency, precarity, and threat, particularly at the points where economic and political infrastructures begin to fail or decompose. Our various ways of being exposed thus include not only a sense of closeness and dependency, but also an unwilled receptivity and susceptibility to harm. In both cases, however, to be vulnerable, one must not only be open, but also be at risk. The language of risk is inherent to vulnerability, whether deliberate or incidental.  What, then, is at risk when we invoke vulnerability, and for whom? How does the problematic of vulnerability shape our thinking about community, agency and resistance, especially at a time when illness and racialized violence impinge on us? What are the possible affordances, threats, and repercussions of being made open or making oneself open?

Friday, April 16
5:30-6:30 PM: Keynote Speaker, Travis Chi Wing Lau, "Chronic Pains, Chronic Vulnerabilities."
6:30-8:00 PM: Q&A and reception to follow 

Saturday, April 17
9:00 AM-6:30 PM: Panels with Social Hour to follow

*Register here. Conference participants must create a profile and be approved in advance, to access the material.
Keynote Speaker Bio:
Travis Chi Wing Lau (he/him/his) is Assistant Professor of English at Kenyon College. His research and teaching focus on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British literature and culture, health humanities, and disability studies. Alongside his scholarship, Lau frequently writes for venues of public scholarship like Synapsis: A Journal of Health Humanities, Public Books, Lapham’s Quarterly, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. His poetry has appeared in Barren Magazine, Wordgathering, Glass, South Carolina Review, Foglifter, and The New Engagement, as well as in two chapbooks, The Bone Setter (Damaged Goods Press, 2019) and Paring (Finishing Line Press, 2020 forthcoming). []
This conference is sponsored by Cornell’s EGSO, Thriving RED: Supporting Student Life, Flora Rose House, William Keeton House, Alice Cook House, Hans Bethe House, and Carl Becker House.

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