Annual Conference

Image of person climbing between two books

Image of person climbing between two books
Art by Taylor Daniels, UMN major in Fine Arts

The annual English Undergraduate Conference in spring semester is a celebration of talent and new ideas emerging from our majors. The 2018 conference will take place the evening of April 12 and all day April 13, in Lind Hall 207A.

Students present academic and creative works in a supportive environment of peers, graduate students, and English faculty. Free meals bookend the panel sessions, which provide opportunities to meet other English majors and chat with professors. For an idea of the program, check out last year's schedule below.

Panelists gain practice with academic conference and work presentations. Students also acquire professional experience by helping to plan, publicize, and coordinate the conference. Email if you’re interested in helping with the conference!

Submit your papers here!


Last year's schedule


6-7 pm: Opening dinner

7-8:30 pm: Ivory Tower magazine presents Creative Writing Showcase (MCs: Ivory Tower Fiction Editor Gabby Granada and Nonfiction Editor Anna Rosin)

  • Special guest Roy Guzman (MFA candidate) wrote and published a chapbook last summer to benefit the victims of the Pulse nightclub shootings in Orlando, Florida. Here's more about Roy. 
  • Unfortunately BA alum Tom Rademacher will not be able to appear, due to illness. The 2014 Minnesota Teacher of the Year, he's written a memoir about teaching, It Won’t Be Easy: An Exceedingly Honest (and Slightly Unprofessional) Love Letter to Teaching, out April 25 with the University of Minnesota Press. Here's a sample!
  • Lydia Hollen, excerpts from “Two Years and Two Months”
  • Z Makila, excerpts from “A Guide To Anxiety”
  • Andrea Nelson, excerpts from “Rain-Bos”
  • Erienne Nelson, "Precipice"
  • Christian Oehrlein, excerpts from “Good Night, Grrnpa"
  • Annelise Rittberg, “Untitled”
  • Ben Schroeder, “Bare Fruit” and “Though Your Flowers Be Small”
  • Lisa Tolles, "One," "Two," “Three (For My Aunt, Who Feels Like Me),” and “Phlegmatic"


9:30-10 am: Breakfast

9:50-10:50 am: Session 1, Student Presentations: "Youth & Its Disconnects" (Moderator: Professor Josephine Lee)

  • Grace Berke, "Securing the New Audience: How Arts Organizations in the Twin Cities Are Engaging Millennials"
  • Jennifer Brown, "The Duck Days of Summer" [fiction]
  • Catherine Dang, "Gritty Henry Nguyen" [screenplay]
  • Jordan Ecker, "Imperial Paradigms and Structural Requisites of the Colonial Adventure Novel"
  • Jessica Hassan, "Repetition as Order and Meaning in Hemingway's 'On the Quai at Smyrna'"

11 am-12 pm: Session 2, Student Presentations: "Subjectivity, Self-Consciousness, & Performance" (Moderator: Professor Elaine Auyoung)

  • Carter Blochwitz, "A Case for the Modernist Criticism of John Murry"
  • Allison Dohnlek, "Belonging to America: the Production of Immigrant Subjectivity in Americanah"
  • Z Makila, "Wagner Didn't Make Me Queer" [memoir]
  • Nicholas Ohren, "The Second Star" [fiction]
  • Madeline Phelps, "Destabilizing Disabled Subjectivity in the Daredevil Comics"
  • Colin Wingate, "A Grammar Book of Subject(ion): Slave Subjectivity in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave"

12:15-12:45 pm: English Faculty Lightning Talks: Your professors describe their research adventures, in five minutes--or less! And they'll stick around for lunch and questions. Featuring Professors Elaine Auyoung, Christopher Pexa, Katherine Scheil, Kim Todd, and Amit Yahav

12:45-1:45 pm: Lunch buffet

1:45-2:45 pm: Session 3, Student Presentations: "Communication . . . or Its Opposite" (Moderator: Professor Lois Cucullu)

  • Martha Amdahl, "Shattering Shakespeare's Ceiling: How Portia Paved the Way for Other 'Nasty Women'"
  • Tyler Derus, "Strange Love: Queer Optimism as Decolonial Praxis"
  • Elizabeth Schleisman, "Discovering Solidarity Through True Communication"
  • Laura Schmidt, "Close to Home" (stageplay)

3-4 pm: Session 4, Student Presentations: "The Politics of Movement" (Moderator: Lecturer John Pistelli, PhD alumnus)

  • Ashley Olson, "Playing the Game of Thrones: A Moral Man's Journey Through Westeros"
  • Lucas Paulson, "Reading the Refugee: Modernity and the Malleable Other"
  • Grace Schleisman, "Crawling Through the Pipeline: Exploring Discipline Policies in Twin Cities Schools"
  • Ben Schroeder, "Apomictic Man" [poetry]
  • Anne Thompson, "Human Behavior in New York City"