Thinking Its Presence

2015 Conference Theme: The Racial Imaginary

At this year’s conference, the keynote speaker will be poet and writer Claudia Rankine. Discussions will focus on her new collection Citizen, about micro-aggressions as they relate to race, and on the anthology The Racial Imaginary, coedited with Beth Loffreda and Max King Cap, forthcoming in November from Fence Books.

The Racial Imaginary is based on an expansion and deepening of Rankine’s 2011 “Open Letter” web-project, in which writers explore art’s failure, thus far, to adequately imagine race and culture. In response to Rankine’s project, writers question the effects and affects of racial difference and explore what it means for art to fail and to adequately imagine. Many of the more than thirty contributing writers will read from the anthology as well as present papers and panels.

Other featured writers and scholars will include Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Marilyn Chin, Thomas Sayers Ellis, William S. YellowRobe, and Ofelia Zepeda, among many others. We are interested in soliciting writing and scholarship— in the form of panels and readings—on Wanda Coleman, Amiri Baraka, Stuart Hall, and Fred Ho.

Now in its second year, Thinking Its Presence: Race, Creative Writing, and Literary Study examines innovative creative writing and scholarship that re-thinks the complex and inseparable links between literary forms and the racialized thinking, processes, and histories that have shaped this country since its founding. The conference brings together the discipline and teaching of creative writing with perspectives from critical race theory, poetics, performance studies, literary theory, literary history, ethnic literatures, and Native American and Indigenous studies. We intend to foster a dynamic exchange among creative writers and scholars. To that end, the conference will include readings, panels devoted to scholarship, and panels devoted to critical discussion of pedagogies and institutional practices.

 The title of this conference comes from scholar Dorothy Wang’s book Thinking Its Presence: Form, Race, and Subjectivity in Contemporary Asian American Poetry (Stanford University Press, 2013). Wang’s book makes the larger case “that aesthetic forms are inseparable from social, political, and historical contexts when it comes to the writing and reception of poetry.”

2015 Participants

Janelle Adsit / Vidhu Aggarwal / Charles Alexander / Will Alexander / Ari Asercion / Diana Arterian / Adam Atkinson / Lillian-Yvonne Bertram / Sherwin Bitsui / Benedicte Boisseron / Tisa Bryant / Sarah Shun-lien Bynum / Heather Cahoon /Teresa Carmody / Geneva Chao / Casey Charles / Ching-In Chen / Marilyn Chin / Eduardo Chirinos / Charlene Choi / Franny Choi / Bruce Covey / Ricardo Dominguez / Thomas Sayers Ellis / Blas Falconer / Shanyn Fiske / Tonya Foster / Todd Fredson / Gabrielle Fuentes / Shamala Gallagher / Sarah Gambito / David Greenberg / Quan Ha / Anna Caroline Harris / Sterling HolyWhiteMountain / Jen Hofer / Anna Maria Hong / Ailish Hopper / LeAnne Howe / Erica Hunt / Anita Huslin / John Hyland / Luisa A. Igloria / Roland Jackson / Lisa Jarrett / Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela / Danell Jones / April Joseph / Sarah Kahn / Katie Kane / Bhanu Kapil / Joy Katz / John Keene / Jimmy Kendell / Eunsong Kim / Myung Mi Kim / Joanna Klink / Ruth Ellen Kocher / Rochelle Kulei / Youna Kwak / Karen An-hwei Lee / Brandon James Lewis / Krishna Lewis / Robin Coste Lewis / Sandra Lim / Beth Loffreda / Lorna Lowe / Victoria Matsui / Farid Matuk / Kayla Miller / Rachel Mindell / David Moore / Tracie Morris / Alicia Mountain / Leisa Greene Nelson / Peter Orner / Kirsten Ortega / Rae Paris / Hannah Park / Soham Patel / Ed Pavlic / John Isiah Pepion / Vanessa Place / Claudia Rankine / Amanda Ngoho Reavey / Paisley Rekdal / Mg Roberts / Diana Roffman / Jess Row / Metta Sama / Brett Salsbury / Susan Scarlata / Kathryn Shanley / Prageeta Sharma / Aja Mujinga Sherrard / Sun Yung Shin / Brian Silberman / Lisa Simon / Carmen Gimenez Smith / Bishakh Som / Rebecca Couch Steffy / James Thomas Stevens / Brooke Swaney / Jennifer Tseng / Michel Valentin / Theodore C. Van Alst / Ruth Vanita / Paul Vangelisti / Sarah Vap / Anna Vitale / Dorothy Wang / Elissa Washuta  / Ronaldo Wilson / David Witzling / Orlando White / Jane Wong  / Ryan Wong / Erika T. Wurth / William S.YellowRobe / Ofelia Zepeda / Magdalena Zurawski