All proposals must be submitted by September 15th!
- “I’m First”: First-Generation Graduate Students and Mentors (Roundtable) [Graduate Student Caucus] April Fuller, University of Maryland, College Park; firstname.lastname@example.org
A large number of graduate students are first-generation. This session seeks to cultivate a discussion about common questions, concerns, and advice for graduate students and postdocs as they navigate academia. However, this isn’t designed only for students, but it also aims to provide mentors with advice on how to better support students’ success and retention rates. This roundtable is intended to create a space in which seasoned professionals and early career scholars can share tips and ideas for first-generation graduate students, describe mentoring experiences, and foster mentorship relationships.
To that end, roundtable participants will provide suggestions and advice for creating welcoming, supportive environments for first-generation students; different metrics for success in graduate programs; how to negotiate work and home life; and ways to foster healthy relationships between faculty and first-generation students. Participants are encouraged to tailor their proposals and advice to the ever-changing and increasingly challenging landscape of academia, addressing—though not limited to—any of the topics listed above.
- [De]constructing Enlightenment [Graduate Student Caucus] Megan Cole, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, email@example.com
In the last few years, Medieval Studies has undergone a very public reckoning with the way its symbols, themes, and texts have been mobilized for white supremacist aims. Though less discussed, the eighteenth century has similar issues to confront, as white supremacists frequently express their allegiance to supposed Enlightenment ideals. As Paul Gilroy has argued, the Enlightenment has always been bound up with white supremacy, sexism, and imperialism. For those of us passionate about the eighteenth century, this raises significant questions: What do we mean by “Enlightenment?” What is the relationship between eighteenth-century scholarship and cultural nostalgia for what are seen as Enlightenment values? What kind of work can we do—as both scholars and teachers—to trouble accepted definitions and assumptions about the long eighteenth century? This panel works to generate discussions about how the next generation of C18 scholars can work to deconstruct normative narratives of the Enlightenment and in their place construct more nuanced, expansive, and productive understandings. We seek papers that approach this work from a variety of perspectives: papers that wrestle with the Enlightenment’s legacy, center marginalized authors (of either primary or theoretical texts), analyze eighteenth-century critiques of Enlightenment thought, offer innovative pedagogical approaches for our current climate, or otherwise trouble our understanding of Enlightenment are welcome.