The UNA English Department Announces:

Confinement: From the Prison Block to the Margins

Call for Proposals due December 30, 2016

Conference to be held February 24-25, 2017

From Charlotte Brontë’s infamous “madwoman in the attic” to Orange Is the New Black, stories of imprisonment, confinement, and discipline pervade literature and popular culture.  In its most literal form, confinement can represent imprisonment for a crime, but “imprisonment” as a concept manifests in different contexts and across a broad spectrum.  Various individuals and groups are confined to the margins of society or oppressed by structures of inequality, among other forms of confinement or disempowerment.  These ideas of oppression, marginalization, and discipline have shaped how writers represent imprisonment or confinement in diverse forms.

The University of North Alabama’s Department of English invites proposals for scholarly papers which investigate any aspect of this theme in language, literature, or other media.  For example, topics might include analyses of works that incorporate themes related to oppression, confinement, or discipline, among other similar topics within a broader context; analyses of specific genres or texts that use these themes, such as crime fiction and Gothic literature, are also encouraged.  We solicit submissions that focus on various types of texts, from canonical works to contemporary or nontraditional texts or media.  As for creative works, we recommend short fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry that explores these themes of imprisonment, marginalization, or oppression in its myriad manifestations.

 Possible topics, foci, or texts may include (but are not limited to):

  • Theoretical lenses such as Postcolonialism, Gender studies, Feminist theory, Queer theory, Deconstruction, Race studies, and/or Disability studies.
  • Theorists such as Michel Foucault, Gayatri Spivak, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and/or Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar
  • Texts like prison literature and narratives, Victorian literature and texts, captivity narratives, and/or crime fiction
  • Perspectives such as imperialism and colonialism, globalization, social inequality
  • We also welcome papers on nontraditional texts and film and television

 The keynote speaker for this conference is death row exoneree Gary Drinkard.


We welcome proposals from current students and recent graduates (within the last five years) of MA or PhD programs.  Presentations that utilize audiovisual elements are encouraged.  Please email proposals of 250-300 words to by December 30, 2016.  Suggestions for panels are also welcomed.  All proposals will receive a decision on acceptance by January 15, 2017.