2006 Conference

Contours of Captivity: Resignifying Expressions of Power

November 2-3, 2006

Keynote speaker: Marianne Hirsch

Call for Papers

In early 2005, the image of an allegedly-captured American solider was posted on a militant website. Dressed in desert camouflage fatigues, the solider appeared to be at the mercy of captors but was quickly exposed as the “Cody” action figure from Dragon Models USA Inc. Removing this image from the weight of its national and political specificity, one sees that toys exist which allow people to play realistically at war while being safe from actual conflict. Even so, this computer-based image also shows how forms of technology work together to produce new arenas of fear and imaginative control. Apart from simply stretching our credulity, this picture reminds us of historical images of war while simultaneously gesturing toward our own entertainment practices. Moreover, the way in which this picture was received reminds us how we are captive to media transmissions even as we perceive of and define others as captives.

In this conference, then, we will explore captivity–one of war’s constituent parts–and confinement–one of culture’s chief means of control. Throughout this conference, we seek a range of interdisciplinary approaches to the material and will consider the broadest definitions of these terms. To do so, we invite presentations addressing anything from present-day or historical wars, slavery, imprisonment, and debilitating work practices to narratives of captivity or confinement in literature, film, video games, and other media to the control and dissemination of information via journalism, government agencies, and blogs. During the conference, we hope to consider how captivity and confinement work together to ensure societal control as well as how they work as instruments of physical control while also being promoted as forms of entertainment in either writing, film, or
games. In so doing, we hope to illustrate the ongoing relevance of literary and cultural study to understanding mundane and extraordinary forms of physical and ideological control.

Possible research areas include but are not limited to:

Political, Religious, and Cultural Captive’s Stories

Agency, resistance, and freedom in captivity narratives or slave narratives
Calvinism and the economics of redemption
Postcolonial narratives in resistance to empire
Biographical and autobiographical accounts from incarcerated inmates

Memory, Empathy, and Interpretations of Experience

Internment, ethnicity, and national memory
Endurance of political captivities in the public imagination
Forgiveness, fear, or vengeance in response to captivity
Examinations of the Stockholm Syndrome

Real and Fictional Horrors in Multiple Media

Graphic representations, the spectacle, and limits of the gaze
The Truth of the news in newspapers, journals, and blogs
Fantasy and sci-fi stories of war, captivity, or alien abduction
Confining and captive elements of video games
Images of the captive, pain, and punishment in horror movies

Binding Fictional Narratives

Captivity, heroism, and issues of normativity in fairy tales
Confinement, discipline, and agency in the domestic novel
Bodice rippers, bondage, and the body
Imagination of confining or captive worlds in comics

Economic Macro and Micro Crushes

Globalization of the economy and the captivity of debtor nations
Economics in the recurrence of slavery, kidnapping, and piracy
Sweatshops, migrant labor, or the sex trade
Economics, paid labor, and the expansion of the prison system

Social and Cultural Boundaries

Definitional barriers of language
Pedagogical approaches to confinement and agency in the classroom
Passing/In and Out – public perceptions of race and sexual identity
Transgender definitions of confinement and the body

We invite individual paper and panel topic submissions from graduate students and faculty members. Proposals should be 500 words or less, and the deadline for submissions is September 1, 2006. To submit electronically (preferred), please go to the conference submissions page and follow the instructions. To submit in hardcopy format, please mail abstracts to:

Ramona Caponegro
“Contours of Captivity” Submissions Coordinator
Department of English
The University of Florida
P.O. Box 117310
Gainesville, FL 32611-731


Keynote: Marianne Hirsch (Columbia University)
Holocaust Studies/Memory Studies: The Witness and the Archive
Keene Faculty Center
Friday, November 3 at 8pm

Thursday, November 2
Emerson Alumni Hall, Warrington AB

Panel #1: 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
The Yoke of Power: Class, Gender, and Race Imbalances in Victorian Fiction

Madhura Bandyopadhyay (University of Florida) — “The Chain and Padlock Round her Neck: Victorian Pornography, Subjectivity and the Working-Class Woman’s Body in Hannah Cullwick’s Diaries”

Carolyn Kelley (University of Florida) — “Jane Eyre’s Anti-Feminist Message: Captivity in the Fairy Tale”

Rachel Slivon (University of Florida) — “Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s ‘The Runaway Slave at Pilgrims Point’: The Voice of an Abject”

Moderator: Peter D’Ettore (University of Florida)

Panel #2: 10:45 AM – 12:15 PM
American Narratives: Confining Self, Other, and Genre

Daniel Bell (University of Florida) — “Constructing the Mask of Unknowability: The Safe Haven of Self Imprisonment”
Cortney Grubbs (University of Florida) — “Writing toward Survival and Salvation: Adolescent Literatures as Captivity Narratives”

Amanda Baker (York University) — “‘Captured’ Nationalism: The Captive Hero in Samson Agonistes and Rowlandson’s Narrative”

Moderator: Melissa Mellon (University of Florida)

Lunch: 12:15 PM-1:30 PM

Panel #3: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Tricked and Trapped: Becoming a Captive in Children’s Literature and Culture

Ramona Caponegro (University of Florida) — “Cruel and (Un)usual: Performing Justice in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series” (University of Florida)
Lisa Dusenberry (University of Florida) — “Captive within ‘You’: Illusory Choice and the Choose Your Own Adventure Format”

Cari Keebaugh (University of Florida) — “‘Ogres are like Onions’: Performatives, Multi-Layered Messages, and the Captive Audience of Children’s Films”

Moderator: Horacio Sierra (University of Florida)

Panel #4: 3:15 PM-4:45 PM
Caught in the Moment: Apocalypses and Dystopias

Andrea Wood (University of Florida) — “Surviving Undead Hegemony: Queer Temporality and Alternative Kinship Structures in Apocalyptic Zombie Films”
Joanna Shearer (University of Florida) — “Thou Shalt Not Anything: American Theocracy and Female Captivity in The Handmaid’s Tale”

Moderator: Velina Manolova (University of Florida)

Friday, November 3
Emerson Alumni Hall, Classroom

Panel #1: 9:00 AM-10:30 AM
Captured in the Frame: Imprisonment in Visual Space

Aaron Kashtan (University of Florida) — “The Prison-House of Visual Language: Sacco’s ‘Moderate Pressure’ and the Comics Frame as Confined Space”
Elisabet Takehana (University of Florida) — “Seduction and Photography: Death and Wanting More”

Moderator: Aaron Cerny (University of Florida)

Panel #2: 10:45 AM-12:15 PM
Spectatorship and Sideshows: Subject and Object

Kiel Hume (McMaster University) — “Warring with Death: Bio-Politics and ‘Body Worlds'”
Ofra Amihay (Tel Aviv University) — “Put Me in the Zoo: The Absence of Captivity in the Depiction of the Zoo in Children’s Literature”

Christopher Hazlett (University of Florida) — “Inmate Discursive Identity and Electronic Surveillance Captivity”

Moderator: Christy Duncan (University of Florida)

Lunch: 12:15 PM-1:30 PM

Panel #3: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
All the World Over: Identify-Confining Politics

Meredith Legg (University of Central Florida) — “East and West German Women and Reunification, Before and After”
Ramsey Scott (City University of New York) — “Resisting Arrest, Reading Against Pleasure in Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson”

Delores Amorelli (University of Florida) — “‘Her own elsewhere’: Strategies of Resistance in Calixthe Beyala’s The Sun Hath Looked Upon Me”

Moderator: Joshua Coonrod (University of Florida)

Panel #4: 3:15 PM-4:45 PM
What’s Real: Perceptions of War and Terror

Neil Balan (York University) — “On Genealogies of Confinement and Strange Attractors: Representation, Postructuralist Theory, and Operational Images of War”
Arun Rodrigo (York University) — “Anomie Mine: Reconstituting the Self after Terror”

Matt Snyder (University of Florida) — “Who Dares (to Embellish) Wins (the Book Contract): Examining Bravo Two Zero and The One That Got Away in Light of Societal Expectations of the Returning Soldier’s Tale”

Moderator: James Liner (University of Florida)

Keynote: Keene Faculty Center, 8 p.m.
Marianne Hirsch (Columbia University)
Holocaust Studies/Memory Studies: The Witness and the Archive


We would like to thank everyone who has helped with this conference from our supportive sponsors to our fantastic conference committee. First, we are indebted to our sponsors who have contributed muchneeded funds for the execution of this conference; they include the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Student Council (CLASSC), Orange and Blue Textbooks, ACCENT, and the Department of English. We would also like to thank all of our volunteers and organizers for their substantial support in coordinating program content, website design, catering services, audio/visual equipment, site management, and communications: Clay Arnold, Kate Casey-Sawicki, Lisa Dusenberry, Cari Keebaugh, Mike Mayne, Josh Miller, Horacio Sierra, Lindsay Skorupa, Kristen Smith, and Christina Van Houten, with a special thanks to EGO officers Ramona Caponegro, Regina Martin, and Jeff Rice. The talented (and patient) Jane Dominguez designed our poster art and worked with us through multiple revisions–thanks Jane. Finally, we extend our thanks to our family and friends for their support!

Melissa Mellon and Leeann Hunter,
EGO Co-Presidents and Conference Coordinators