Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference

Submitted by Michael Neininger on
Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference

This year’s interdisciplinary graduate student conference was a resounding success. Not only was the work presented at the conference thought-provoking and insightful, but the sources of these remarkable pieces of research were truly global, with participants flying in from as far away as Brazil, India, and Sweden. While most attendees were concentrated in the Humanities, there were also forays into topics like medicine, economics, and public policy, indicating an awareness that greater interdisciplinary moves will be necessary for future research in order to make them more relevant and impactful in today’s society.


Under the guidance of not one but three UW-based keynote speakers – Professor Odai Johnson (Drama), Professor Gary Handwerk (English), and Dr. Liina-Ly Roos (Scandinavian Studies) – the discussion was energetic and productive, as the keynotes used their deep wells of experience to help connect themes across disciplinary boundaries, genres, and subjects to generate a vibrant and scholarly atmosphere. That is not to say that graduate attendees were idle; on the contrary, all who attended contributed a great deal to ongoing discussions, providing unique observations to bolster each other’s work.


The success of this conference would not have been possible without the help of dedicated organizers. Our thanks go out to Vanessa Hester (Germanics), Matthew Childs (Germanics), Jeff Jarzomb (Germanics), Matt Straus (Drama), Jingsi Shen (Comparative Literature, Cinema & Media), Rogerio de Melo Franco (Comparative Literature, Cinema & Media), Brad Harmon (Scandinavian Studies), Connie Amundson (Scandinavian Studies), and Camille Richey (Scandinavian Studies).


Furthermore, we would like to thank the Departments of Germanics (with special recognition of the money provided by the Hilde Bial-Neurath Fund), Scandinavian Studies, and Comparative Literature, Cinema & Media Studies as well as the School of Drama for the generous funding. We would also like to thank the Simpson Center for the Humanities for providing their beautiful conference space for us to use once again. A further thank you to our keynote speakers for taking time out of their extremely busy schedules to discuss their highly interesting research and to guide the burgeoning scholars who attended our conference. A final thank you to all our participants. We hope that this conference has helped to energize and inspire you and your work. We wish everyone the best of luck in their future endeavors!



Below is the information from the original CfP as well as participants’ names and the titles of their work.


Residues and Remnants: (re-)Presenting Cultural Memory, Contamination, and Destruction



“Without remembrance and without the reification which remembrance needs for its own fulfillment and which makes it, indeed, as the Greeks held, the mother of all arts, the living activities of action, speech, and thought would lose their reality at the end of each process and disappear as though they never had been.”


– Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition



As Hannah Arendt intimates, all action, speech, and thought are dependent upon the act of remembering. Indeed, without the remembrance of things past, the present becomes a time and space filled with anxiety, all the more so when the problems surrounding how and what to remember are considered at the level of culture. The interdisciplinary graduate student conference entitled “Residue and Remnants: (re-)Presenting Cultural Memory, Contamination, and Destruction” will investigate the complexities surrounding cultural residues pertaining to the reproduction and erasure of traditions, artistic practices, and mythologies, thus posing questions about what remains and how it has arrived. Answers to these questions have been offered from a multitude of disciplines including, but not limited to: sociology, philosophy, anthropology, political science, drama, history, psychology, comparative literature, philology, and media studies. What narratives and histories dominate the popular imaginary? How have they come to us? How have these legacies been written/performed/expressed? What are the influences that have shaped the stories we tell? What can we learn from that which has survived and where is the place for that which has been erased?


Keynote Panel


Professor Odai Johnson – Eating the Ottoman: the persistent cultural memory of Crusader cannibalism

Professor Gary Handwerk – Modern Mythic Memory: Criss-Crossing Crusoe

Dr. Liina-Ly Roos – The Not Quite Child: Proximate Migration and Transcultural Memory in Nordic Literature



Panel 1: (Re)making Mythology


Moderator: Brad Harmon


Speaker 1: Connie Amundson, University of Washington, “Reimagining Nordic Mythologies of Healing”


Speaker 2: Liane Sponberg, California State University Long Beach, “Fierce Fairy Tales: Recycling and Rewriting Cultural Norms”


Speaker 3: Mariana Pini, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, “The Conservative Filtering of Classics: A Brazilian Case”


Speaker 4: Emma Murray, University of Victoria, “The Myth of the Heavenly Hundred: From Ordinary Ukrainians to Revolutionary Martyrs”



Panel 2: RuiNation and Memory


Moderator: Rogerio de Melo Franco


Speaker 1: Brad Harmon, University of Washington, “Cinema After Auschwitz: Remnants of Nazism in Roy Andersson’s Guilty Welfare State”


Speaker 2: Adam Davis, University of California Davis, “TBD”


Speaker 3: Alexander Kofod-Jensen, Karlstadt University, “TBD”


Speaker 4: Braden Russell, University of Victoria, “The Pervasiveness of Austria’s First Victim Myth within National Holocaust Memorialization



Panel 3: Memory and Mediation in Transnational Contexts


Moderator: Connie Amundson


Speaker 1: Sanjana Kumari, Ambedkar University Delhi, “With the Invisibilized, Wrinkled Residues: Beyond ‘Development’ by Coming Together in Abandonment, Death and Healing”


Speaker 2: Gustavo Segura, University of California Davis, “Remedying/Remediating the Past: Media, Memory, and the Case of Chile’s ‘Caravan of Death’”


Speaker 3: Ahmad Nadalizadeh, University of Oregon, “Rhythms of Memory: Towards a Poetics of Recollection in Mehdi Akhavan-Sales”


Speaker 4: Juana Torralbo, University of Missouri, “Genauso deutsch wie Özdamar und Tawada”


Speaker 5: Fillipe Augusto Galeti Mauro, University of São Paulo

and the University of Paris III, Sorbonne Nouvelle, “Landscapes of Memory: Resonances of the Proustian Style in the Novels of Cyro dos Anjos, Jorge Andrade, and Pedro Nava”



Panel 4: Performing Memory


Moderator: Matt Straus


Speaker 1: Carlos Salazar, University of Washington, “Gods, Monsters, and Lividness: The Caribbean Carnival as a Medium for Cultural Negotiation”


Speaker 2: Shadow Zimmerman, University of Washington, “The Invisible Impact of Menander and Residues of Character”


Speaker 3: Jonathan Rizzardi, University of Washington, “‘I’ll intermingle everything he does’: Othello’s Desdemona as a Paradigm for Early Modern Transnational Interconnectivity”


Speaker 4: Taylor Twadelle, University of Hawaii, “Art, Media and Assembly: Performing Historical Memory”