Date: April 1-2, 2016
Location: Administration Building, University of Alaska Anchorage [click here for directions]
Keynote Speakers: Dr. Scott Slovic, University of Idaho, &
Dr. David Bowie, University of Alaska Anchorage


The Conference and Call for Papers

Place is both the how and where of what we experience. Our memories are shaped by liminal moments, delineating instances in time and space that are particularly dominant. Language too, is influenced by space, evolving to suit our surroundings even as we name those surroundings according to what we value. We use language to inhabit social places even as we navigate physical and metaphysical spaces by using our understanding of the world, an understanding intrinsically shaped by language. It is therefore the personal and universal, exclusive and inclusive, physical and imaginative, political and educational, cultural and ideological aspects of language and place that we at the University of Alaska Anchorage ask you to explore with us in this, our 21st annual Pacific Rim Conference on English Studies.

Organized by the graduate students within the English department, the Pacific Rim Conference on English Studies invites submissions in literature, rhetoric and composition, linguistics, anthropology, history, journalism, gender studies and other related fields. The theme of this year's conference is "Knowing One's Place: Understanding the Influence of Place in Language." For this conference, we ask presenters and speakers to question how they impact our interactions with one another as individuals and as members of a community, how physical, socioeconomic, gender, and cultural places impact literature, how a more global cultural landscape might be influenced by a convergence of language withing digital spaces, and how, historically, the confluence of languages have been viewed within diverse cultural spaces.

We hope to explore how the intersections of place and language are necessarily complicated with the emerging nature of the global community, the influence of digital revolution, and the evolution of modern education systems. At this year's conference, we hope to investigate some of these questions:
  • How do we construct space through the use of language, and how do we establish our unique identities through our identification of space?
  • How is language used to build communities that transcend space and yet are influenced by the geographic backgrounds of participants?
  • How do people navigate through the digital age using language, place, and the influence of both on their identities?
  • How do cultural spaces contribute to the development of literature and the emergence of global literacies?
  • How do physical, socioeconomic, gender, and cultural "places" or positions impact literature?
Individual Paper Proposals
Please send a 250 word abstract for a 20-minute presentation, including the title of the paper, your name, institutional affiliation, mailing address, phone and fax number, and email address.
Panel Proposals
In addition to providing detailed contact information for each panel member, please send an abstract of no more than 500 words summarizing the panel and describing each paper.

Roundtable Proposals
in addition to providing a detailed contact information for each participant, please send a title and an abstract of no more than 250 words for the proposed roundtable discussion topic.

In addition to the aforementioned requirements, your abstract(s) should connect your topic(s) to this year's conference theme.

Please submit your proposals to no later than January 20th, 2016. 

Please direct questions to:
Blanche Sheppard, Conference Director
Jason Collins, Assistant Director
Department of English, ADM 101, University of Alaska Anchorage
3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, Alaska 99508

Keynote Speakers

SlovicDr. Scott Slovic moved to the University of Idaho in 2012 after teaching for 17 years at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he helped to create the prominent graduate program in literature and environment and develop the Academy for the Environment and the undergraduate environmental studies program. He has published more than 200 articles, interviews, and reviews and is the author, editor, or co-editor of 22 books, including "Going Away to Think: Engagement, Retreat, and Ecocritical Responsibility" (2008), "Nature and the Environment" for EBSCO/Salem Press's Critical Insight Series (2012), a second edition of the textbook "Literature and the Environment" (2013), and "Ecoambiguity, Community, and Development: Toward a Politicized Ecocriticism" (2014). His latest books include "Ecocriticism of the Global South," "Currents of the Universal Being: Explorations of the Literature of Energy," and "Numbers and Nerves: Information, Emotion, and Meaning in a World of Data," among others. Scott served as the founding president of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) from 1992 to 1995, and since 1995 has edited the journal ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment.

BowieDr. David Bowie is a sociolinguist and dialectologist who grew up in Southern Maryland, where fried green tomatoes are an ordinary food rather than just the name of a movie, and the people are likely to use "coke" as a generic term for a soft drink as they are to call it anything else. He bounced around from major to major as an undergraduate until he accidentally fell into linguistics, and received a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, where he wrote his dissertation on the quantitative modeling of the linguistic behavior of individuals who move to a new dialect region in adulthood. After that he held faculty positions at Brigham Young University and the University of Central Florida, and came to the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2009, where he is now an associate professor. His early research compared the way people perceive and produce language, but he's since drifted into the connection between language and aging, and the ways individuals express their social identities (particularly religious affiliation) through language. He was attracted to Alaska in part by the relative lack of serious work on the connection between linguistic behavior and identity that had been done there (which makes Alaska the last frontier for linguistics, as well!) and really, the opportunity to work in a place with so much left to do is nothing but fun for a dialectologist.