The English department holds a biennial symposium focusing on literature, race, ethnicity, and other topics. Each symposium features a variety of distinguished guests—writers, professors, journalists, and others well recognized in their fields—who speak and lead discussions during the course of the three-day event.

Several book volumes have been published based on papers given during the symposia. Learn more by reading through the following list of past symposia.

2024: Cultural Representations of African American War Experience

The English Department Biennial Symposium this year is titled “Cultural Representations of African American War Experience,” and it will feature thirteen presentations by scholars, in a variety of disciplines, from institutions as nearby as Auburn and as far away as the American College of Greece.  Jennifer James, author of A Freedom Bought With Blood:   African American War Literature from the Civil War to World War II, will be the keynote speaker.  All events will be held in the Bryant Conference Center (Feb. 22-23), and all English Department graduate students and faculty members are invited to the symposium reception, which will take place on the Byant Conference Center balcony at 5:00 PM on Thursday, Feb. 22, immediately following Professor James’s keynote presentation.

Link to the Full 2024 Symposium Schedule

2022: “Race and Medievalism in the U.S. South and Beyond”

Directors: Alex Cook, Cassie Smith, and Donna Beth Ellard.

Participants: Matthew Vernon (University of California–Davis), Hilary Green (Davidson College), Lori Garner (Rhodes College), Paula R. Stiles (Edgecombe Community College), Michael LeMathieu (Clemson University), Jacob Hiserman (University of Alabama), Kathy Lavezzo (University of Iowa), Amanda Louise Johnson (Rice University), Peter Ingrao (University of Texas–Dallas), Michel Aaij (Auburn University–Montgomery), Christopher Hanlon (Arizona State University), Rachel Stephens (University of Alabama)

2019: “Digital Rhetoric/Digital Media in the Post-Truth Age”

Directors: Amber Buck and Cindy Tekobbe

Keynote Speaker: Alice Marwick (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

Participants: Abigail Bakke (Minnesota State University, Mankato), Estee Beck (University of Texas at Arlington), Chen Chen (Winthrop University), Jeremy David Johnson (Penn State University), Carmen Kynard (John Jay College of Criminal Justice/Graduate Center, CUNY), Zachary Lundgren (East Carolina University), Jennifer Sano-Franchini (Virginia Tech), LaToya Sawyer (St. John’s University), Ryan Shepherd (Ohio University), Erika Sparby (Illinois State University), Laura Tetreault (SUNY Albany), Michael Trice (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Douglas Walls (North Carolina State University), Xiaobo Wang (Emory University-Oxford College), William Wolff (Saint Joseph’s University), Kathleen Yancey (Florida State University), Kathryn Drago (Local Activist Speaker), Amanda Reyes (Local Activist Speaker), Justin Vest (Local Activist Speaker), Gabriel Cabán Cubero (Local Activist Speaker), Victoria Siciliano (Local Activist Speaker).

2017: “Black/White Intimacies: Reimagining History, the South, and the Western Hemisphere”

Directors: Andy Crank, Trudier Harris, and Cassie Smith

Keynote Speakers: Michael Bibler (Louisiana State University), E. Patrick Johnson (Northwestern University), and Rebecca Wanzo (Washington University, St. Louis)

Participants: Kavon Franklin (Alabama State University, Montgomery), Jamie Warren (City University of New York), Angelita Reyes (Arizona State University), Austin Carter (University of California Irvine), Qiana Whitted (USC-Columbia), Elijah Gaddis (UNC Chapel Hill), Donna Beth Ellard (University of Denver), Matthew Sutton (Independent Scholar, Georgetown, Kentucky), Diamond Forde (University of Alabama), Amrita Chakrabarti Myers (Indiana University), Daryl Cumber Dance (University of Richmond), Amy K. King (Georgia Institute of Technology), Erich Nunn (Auburn University), Carmen Gillespie (Bucknell University), Emmeline Gros (Université de Toulon, France)

2015: “Literature of Status / The Status of Literature”

Director: Albert Pionke

Keynote Speaker: Marshall Brown (University of Washington)

Participants: Shelby Heathcoat (University of North Alabama), Deirdre Mikolajcik (University of Kentucky), Samantha S. Caddis (University of Alabama), Robert White (Alabama State University), Maria Bachman (Middle Tennessee State University), Adam Parkes (University of Georgia), Amy Chen (University of Alabama), Matt Seybold (University of Alabama), Anne Reef (Rhodes College), Jen Zellner (University of Cincinnati), Maria Bachman (Victorians Institute Journal), Marshall Brown (Modern Language Quarterly), Dan Waterman (University of Alabama Press), Amy Elizabeth Holley (Swansea University), Russ McConnell (University of Alabama), Megan Holt (Tulane University), Susie Warley (Texas A & M University – Commerce), Cameron Dodworth (Spring Hill College), Frank Emmett (Shelter Island School), Michelle Golden (Georgia State University), Albert D. Pionke (University of Alabama), Claudie Massicotte (University of California, Los Angeles), Eloise A. Whisenhunt (Young Harris College)

2013: “Elemental Ecocriticism”

Directors: Sharon O’Dair (chair), the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies

Keynote Speaker: Cary Wolfe (Rice University)

Participants: Lowell Duckert (West Virginia U), Karl Steel (Brooklyn College, CUNY), Valerie Allen (John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY), Jeffrey Cohen (George Washington University), Julian Yates (U Delaware), Sharon O’Dair (U Alabama), Steve Mentz (St. John’s University), Anne Harris (DePauw U), Chris Barrett (LSU)

Publication: Elemental Ecocriticism: Thinking with Earth, Air, Water, and Fire, eds. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Lowell Duckert. U of Minnesota P, 2015.

2011: “Exploring the Boundaries and Applications of Corpus Linguistics”

Directors: Dilin Liu (chair), Alicia Cipria, Robert Nelson, Michael Picone, Albert Pionke, Robert Summers

Keynote Speakers: Michaela Mahlberg (University of Nottingham), Stefan Th. Gries (UC Santa Barbara), Mark Davies (Brigham Young U)

2009: “Race and Displacement”

Directors: Phil Beidler, Jessica Lacher-Feldman, Maha Marouan, and Merinda Simmons

Participants: Houston Baker (Vanderbilt U), Regina Barnett (Florida State U), Ashon T. Crawley (Duke U), Deborah Katz (Brown U), Matt Dischinger (U of Alabama), Lauren Vedal (U of Wisconsin-Madison), Melanie Fritsch (U of Tübingen, Germany), Walter Bosse (U of Cincinnati), Cassander L. Smith (Purdue U), Delia Hagen (UC-Berkeley), Abigail Manzella (Tufts U), Marquetta Goodwine (Queen Quet), Jonathan Glover (U of Florida), Yumi Pak (UC-San Diego), Kathrin Kottemann (U of New Orleans), Laura Jones (Louisiana State U), Trudier Harris

Publication: Submitted to Palgrave

2007: “Eruptions of Funk”

Director: Tony Bolden

Participants: C. Leigh McInnis (Jackson State U), Amy Nathan Wright (U of Texas), Carmen Phelps (Longwood U), Howard Rambsy II (Southern Illinois U at Edwardsville), Brenda Dixon Gottschild (Temple U), Kalamu ya Salaam, Tracie Morris (Eastern Michigan U), Rickey Vincent (UC-Berkeley), Thomas Sayers Ellis (Sarah Lawrence College), Karen Ohnesorge (Ottawa U, Canada), Rondee Gaines (Georgia State U), Melva Sampson (Spelman College), Sabrina Freeney (Georgia State U), Emily Lordi (Columbia U), Ondra Thomas-Krouse (U of Georgia), Scot Brown (UCLA), Cheryl Keys (UCLA), Aldon Lynn Nielsen (Penn State U), Mark Anthony Neal (Duke U), R. Scott Heath (Georgetown U)

Publication: Erruptions of Funk

2005: “Women and Others: Racial and Gender Difference in Anglo-American Literature and Culture”

Directors: Celia R. Daileader, Rhoda Johnson, and Amilcar Shabazz

Participants: Alice Walker, Andrea Smith (U of Michigan), Maxine Montgomery (Florida State U), Vron Ware (Yale U), Indira Ghose (Free U of Berlin), Patricia S. Parker (U of North Carolina), Carolyn Cooper (U of the West Indies), Trudier Harris (U of North Carolina), Lawrence Hogue (U of Houston), Joyce Green MacDonald (U of Kentucky)

Publication: Women and Others: Racial and Gender Difference in Anglo-American Literature and Culture

2002: “English and Ethnicity”

Directors: Catherine Evans Davies, Janina Brutt-Griffler, Lucy Pickering

Participants: Alamin Mazrui (Ohio State U), Cynthia Goldin Bernstein (U of Memphis), Ronald R. Butters (Duke U), Nikolas Coupland (U of Cardiff, Wales, UK), Yunte Huang (Harvard U), Simon Ortiz (U of Toronto, Canada), A. Jacqueline Toribio (Penn State U), John Baugh (Stanford U), A. Suresh Canagarajah (Baruch College, CUNY), Marcia Farr (U of Illinois, Chicago), Donna Patrick (Brock U, Canada), John R. Rickford (Stanford U)

Publication: English and Ethnicity, eds. Janina Brutt-Griffler and Catherine Evans Davies. Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

2001: “Writing Race Across the Atlantic World: 1492-1789”

Directors: Gary Taylor and Philip Beidler

Participants: Barbara Fuchs (U of Washington), Karen Ordahl Kupperman (NYU), Gordon Sayre (U of Oregon), Joseph Roach (Yale U), Jennifer Morgan (Rutgers U), Kim Hall (Fordham U), Mary Floyd-Wilson (Yale U), Francesca Royster (DePaul U), Benjamin Braude (Boston College), David Baker (U of Hawai’i).

Publication: Writing Race Across the Atlantic World: 1492-1789, eds. Philip D. Beidler and Gary Taylor. Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

1999: “Magical Muse: The Drama of Tennessee Williams”

Directors: Ralph Voss and Don Noble

Participants: Jackson R. Bryer (U of Maryland), George Crandell (Auburn U), Albert Devlin (U of Missouri), Allean Hale, W. Kenneth Holditch (editor, Tennessee Williams Literary Journal), Philip Kolin (U of Southern Mississippi), Colby H. Kullman (U of Mississippi), Dan Sullivan (U of Minnesota), Nancy Tischler (Penn State U)

Publication: Magical Muse: Millennial Essays on Tennessee Williams. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 2002.

1997: “Myth, Memory, and Migration: The Black South in the Cultural Imagination”

Director: Karla Frye

Participants: Houston Baker (U of Pennsylvania), Trudier Harris (U of North Carolina), Gerald Early (Washington U), Dolan Hubbard (U of Georgia), Philip Page (California State U-San Bernadino), Lawrence Rodgers (Kansas State U), Carol Marsh Lockett (Georgia State U), Rhoda Johnson (U of Alabama), Farah Jasmine Griffin (U of Pennsylvania), Karla F. C. Holloway (Duke), Jerry Ward (Tougaloo College), Deborah McDowell (U of Virginia), C. Eric Lincoln (Duke), Virginia Whatley Smith (U of Alabama-Birmingham)

1995: “Futures — For Jacques Derrida”

Directors: J. Patrick Hermann and Richard A. Rand

Participants: Derek Attridge, Geoffrey Bennington, Paul Davies, Hent De Vries, Alexander García Duttman, Peter Fenves, Christopher Fynsk, Rodolphe Gasché, Werner Hamacher, Peggy Kamuf, Tom Keenan, Ned Lukacher, J. Hillis Miller, Claire Nouvet, Jean-Michel Rabaté, Avital Ronell, Nicholas Royle, Gayatri Spivak, Elisabeth Weber, Samuel Weber, Jacques Derrida

Publication: Futures of Jacques Derrida, ed. Richard Rand. Stanford U P.

1994: “Scott, Zelda and Alabama”

Director: Donald R. Noble

Participants: Jack Bryer (U of Maryland), Scott Donaldson (College of William & Mary), A. E. Elmore (Athens State College), John Kuehl (NYU), Anne Little (Auburn U-Montgomery), Alan Margolies (CUNY), Alice Hall Petry (Rhode Island School of Design), Ruth Prigozy (Hofstra U), Mike Reynolds (North Carolina State U), Kendall Taylor (American University, Washington, DC)

1993: “Is There a Discipline in This Department?”

Director: James C. Raymond

Participants: Stanley Corkin (U of Cincinnati), Louie Crew (Rutgers), Thomas Dabbs (Francis Marion U), Stanley Fish (Duke), Phyllis Frus (Vanderbilt), George Garrett (U of Virginia), Gerald Graff (U of Chicago), Paul Lauter (Trinity College), Walter L. Reed (Emory), Tilly Warnock (U of Arizona), Brackette Williams (U of Arizona)

Publication: English as a Discipline: Or, Is There a Plot in This Play?, ed. James C. Raymond. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 1996.

1992: “The Emperor Redressed: Critiquing Critical Theory”

Director: Dwight L. Eddins

Participants: M.H. Abrams (Professor Emeritus, Cornell), Nina Baym (U of Illinois- Urbana), Frederick Crews (U of California-Berkeley), Denis Donoghue (New York U), David Lehman (Poet & Critic), Richard Levin (SUNY-Stony Book), Paisley Livingston (McGill U), Gary Saul Morson (Northwestern), John R. Searle (U of California-Berkeley)

Publication: The Emperor Redressed: Critiquing Critical Theory, ed. Dwight Eddins. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 1995.

1990: “Wisemans Treasure: The Production of English Renaissance Culture”

Director: David L. Miller, Sharon O’Dair, Harold Weber

Participants: Francis Barker (U of Essex), Catherine Belsey (U of Wales), Margaret Ferguson (U of Colorado), Richard Halpern (Yale), Clark Hulse (U of Illinois- Chicago), Christopher Kendrick (Loyola U of Chicago), Richard Lachmann (SUNY-Albany), Joseph Loewenstein (Washington U), Gordon Teskey (Cornell)

Publication: The Production of English Renaissance Culture, eds. David L. Miller, Sharon O’Dair, and Harold Weber. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1994.

1989: “Literacy Online: The Promise (and Peril) of Reading and Writing with Computers”

Director: Myron Tuman

Participants: Peter Dow Adams (Essex Community College), Stanley Aronowitz CUNY), J. David Bolter (U of North Carolina), George Landow (Brown U), Richard Lanham (UCLA), Ted Nelson (software developer and author), Pamela McCorduck (author), Eugene Provenzo (U of Miami), Victor Raskin (Purdue), Helen Schwartz (Indiana U), Gregory Ulmer (U of Florida)

Publication: Literacy Online: The Promise (and Peril) of Reading and Writing Online, ed. Myron Tuman. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 1992.

1988: “The Steinbeck Question”

Director: Donald R. Noble

Participants: Jackson J. Benson (Steinbeck biographer), Sylvia Jenkins Cook, John Ditsky, Mimi Gladstein, Tetsumaro Hayashi (Editor, The Steinbeck Quarterly), Robert S. Hughtes, Robert E. Morsberger, Louis Owens, Susan Shillinglaw (Director, Steinbeck Research Center, San Jose State U), Harry Stoneback (folklorist), John Timmerman, Peter Lisca

Publication: The Steinback Question: New Essays in Criticism, ed. Donald R. Noble. Troy: Whitson, 1993.

1987: “Our Academic Contract: The Conflict of the Faculties in America”

Director: Richard A. Rand

Participants: Timothy Bahti (U of Michigan), Alan Bass (author), Geoffrey Bennington (Sussex U), Jacques Derrida (Ecole Pratiques des Hautes Etudes), Werner Hamacher (John Hopkins), Carol Jacobs (SUNY-Buffalo), Peggy Kamuf (Miami U of Ohio), David Krell (Essex U), John Llewelyn (U of Edinburgh), Christie McDonald (U of Montreal), J. Hillis Miller (U of California-Irvine), Naomi Schor (Brown U), David Sperling (Hebrew Union College), Robert Young (Southampton U)

Publication: Logomachia: ‘The Conflict of the Faculties’, ed. Richard A. Rand. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1992.

1986: “The Differences Within: Feminism and Critical Theory”

Directors: Elizabeth Meese and Alice Parker

Participants: Jane Marcus (U of Texas), Catharine Stimpson (Rutgers), Michele Barrett (City U, London), Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Emory), Barbara E. Johnson (Harvard), Jonathan Culler (Cornell), Hortense J. Spillers (Haverford College), Houston A. Baker (U of Pennsylvania)

Publication: The Differences Within: Feminism and Critical Theory, eds. Elizabeth Meese and Alice Parker. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 1989.

1985: “Ezra Pound: The Legacy of Kulchur”

Directors: Marcel Smith and William A. Ulmer

Participants: Alfred Kazin (Hunter College, CUNY), Chang Yao-Hsin (Nankai U, PRC), Hugh Kenner (Johns Hopkings), James Laughlin (New Directions), Michael North (UCLA), Harriet Zinnes (Queens College, CUNY), J. J. Wilhelm (Rutgers), Leslie Fiedler (SUNY-Buffalo)

Publication: Ezra Pound: The Legacy of Kulchur, eds. Marcel Smith and William Ulmer. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 1988.

1984: “What Is a Poet?: Poets & Critics Discuss the Nature of Poetry”

Director: Hank Lazer

Participants: Charles Altieri, Charles Bernstein, Kenneth Burke, David Ignatow, Denise Levertov, Marjorie Perloff, Louis Simpson, Gerald Stern, Helen Vendler

Publication: What Is A Poet?, ed. Hank Lazer. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 1987.

1983: “The Autonomous Voice: Encounters with Style in Contemporary Fiction”

Directors: Allen Wier and Don Hendrie, Jr.

Participants: Max Apple, Donald Barthelme, Doris Betts, George Garrett, William Gass, John Irving, Wright Morris, Lee Smith

Publication: Voicelust: Eight Contemporary Fiction Writers on Style, eds. Don Hendrie, Jr., and Allen Wier. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1985.

1982: “After Strange Texts: The Role of Theory in the Study of Literature”

Directors: David L. Miller and Gregory S. Jay

Participants: Geoffrey Hartman (Yale), Edgar Dryden (U of Arizona), Stephen J. Greenblatt (U of California, Berkeley), Fredric Jameson (Yale), Annette Kolodny (U of New Hampshire), Frank Lentricchia (U of California, Irvine)

Publication: After Strange Texts: The Role of Theory in the Study of Literature, eds. David L. Miller and Gregory S. Jay. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 1985.

1981: “The Mythologizing of Mark Twain”

Directors: Philip Beidler and Sara D. Davis

Participants: James M. Cox (Dartmouth), Henry Nash Smith (UC-Berkeley), Stanley Brodwin (Hofstra), Louis J. Budd (Duke), Everett Emerson (U Mass), Allison Ensor (Tennessee), John C. Gerber (SUNY-Albany), William M. Gibson (Wisconsin), Alan Gribben (Texas), Harold H. Kolby, Jr. (Virginia)

Publication: The Mythologizing of Mark Twain, eds. Philip Beidler and Sara D. Davis. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 1984.

1980: “The Unknown Samuel Johnson”

Directors: Donald Kay and John J. Burke, Jr.

Participants: Donald J. Greene (USC), Jean H. Hagstrum (Northwestern), Marshall Waingrow (Claremont), Maximillian E. Novak (UCLA), Paul K. Alkon (Minnesota), Richard B. Schwartz (Wisconsin), Leopold Damrosah, Jr. (Virginia)

Publication: The Unknown Samuel Johnson, eds. John J. Burke, Jr., and Donald Kay. Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1983.

1979: “Literacy as a Human Problem”

Director: James C. Raymond

Participants: Walter J. Ong, S. J. (St. Louis U), Edward P. J. Corbett (Ohio State), John Simon (Esquire and New York magazines), Thomas H. Middleton (Saturday Review), E. D. Hirsch (Virginia), Frank D’Angelo (Arizona State), Vivian I. Davis (Bishop), Richard Lloyd-Jones (Iowa), James Sledd (Texas)

Publication: Literacy as a Human Problem, ed. James C Raymond. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 1982.

1978: “The American Writer in the 1930s”

Directors: Ralph F. Bogardus and Fred Hobson

Participants: Irving Howe (CUNY), James T. Farrell (N.Y. City), Hugh Kenner (Hopkins), Daniel Aaron (Harvard), Sylvia Jenkins Cook (Missouri-St. Louis), Victor A. Kramer (Georgia State), Elinor Langer (Portland, OR), Townsend Luddington (UNC-Chapel Hill), Jack B. Moore (U of South Florida), Donald Pizer (Tulane), Louise D. Rubin, Jr. (UNC-Chapel Hill)

Publication: Literature at the Barricades: Essays on the American Writers of the 1930s, eds. Ralph F. Bogardus and Fred Hobson. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 1982.

1977: “Signs and Symbols in Chaucer’s Poetry”

Director: John J. Burke, Jr., and J. Patrick Hermann

Participants: D.W. Robertson, Jr. (Princeton), John Gardner (SUNY-Albany), Bernard F. Huppe (SUNY-Binghamton), Edmund Reiss (Duke), James I. Wimsatt (UNC- Greensboro), Chauncey Wood (U of Iowa), David Chamberlain (U of Iowa), U. A. Kolve (Virginia), John B. Friedman (U of Illinois)

Publication: Signs and Symbols in Chaucer’s Poetry, ed. J. Patrick Hermann and John J. Burke, Jr. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 1981.

1976: “Hemingway: A Revaluation”

Director: Donald R. Noble

Participants: Alfred Kazin (CUNY), Philip Young (Penn. State), Richard Hovey (South Carolina), Leo Gurko (Hofstra), Jackson Benson (Cal. State, San Diego), Michael Reynolds (NC State)

Publication: Hemingway: A Revaluation, ed. Donald R. Noble. Troy: NY: Whitstone Pub. Co., 1982.

1975: “Shakespeare’s Romances”

Directors: Henry E. Jacobs and Carol McGinnis Kay

Participants: Northrop Frye (Toronto), David Bergeron (New Orleans), Morris Carnovsky (Shakespearean Actor), Howard Felperin (Yale), Charles Forker (Indiana), Charles Frey (Washington), Joan Hartwig (Kentucky), Cyrus Hoy (Rochester), Clifford Leech (Toronto), Joan Warchol Rossi (Illinois), Norman Sanders (Tennessee), David Young (Oberlin)

Publication: Shakespeare’s Romances Reconsidered, eds. Carol McGinnis Kay and Henry E. Jacobs. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1978.

1974: “Faulkner: 50 Years After The Marble Faun”

Director: George H. Wolfe

Participants: Cleanth Brooks (Yale), Louis D. Rubin, Jr. (UNC-Chapel Hill), Joseph Blotner (Michigan), James B. Meriwether (South Carolina), Richard P. Adams (Tulane), Sally R. Page (Meredith), Lewis P. Simpson (LSU), Floyd Watkins (Emory)

Publication: Faulkner: 50 Years After The Marble Faun, ed. George H. Wolfe. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 1976.