Interdisciplinary Conference2016
Alt + Shift: Alternative Methodologies, Marginal Positions
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Call For Papers

NEXUS 2016 Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference:
Alt + Shift: Unlocking Alternative Methodologies and Marginal Positions

7th Biennial Conference
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Thursday, March 3 – Saturday, March 5, 2016

The short-key action “Alt+Shift” is supposed to change the keyboard language. However, this function no longer changes these language settings, as it once could do, and it may not regain functioning without altering the system itself. To help change and alter the system, more research and collaboration is needed. In the same way, this conference seeks to promote connectivity between various disciplines and their approaches to changing mainstream research to recover marginal voices and discover effective alternative methodologies. Recent conversations concerning immigration, environment, vaccinations, LGBTQ communities, women, race, and violence have illustrated ongoing concerns of alienation and subjugation of marginalized perspectives in society. While the topics of debate are not new, the presence of these conversations are exposing the oppressive effects associated with mainstream narratives and dominant research paradigms.

This conference aims to bring together scholars, creative writers, and educators from a broad range of disciplines in order to provide a space to share the myriad ways that scholars are alternatively researching materials and recovering marginalized voices from the prevailing dominant paradigms. While the rise in use of alternative methodologies has opened up new opportunities for research, social action, and expression by previously under-recognized and underrepresented groups, important questions remain. Particularly, how can we actively shift from the idea of "other" in such a way that the foundation of research practice changes?

If we cross over our disciplinary confines, then we can work more fluidly to successfully answer this prevailing question. Therefore, we are seeking submissions from all disciplines, such as but not limited to English, Rhetoric/Composition, Linguistics, Sociology, Psychology, Musicology, Art, Film, Anthropology, Geography, Biology, Mathematics, and more. Abstracts (250 – 300 words) are invited on a broad range of topics including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Archives, recovered narratives, and construction of new archives
  • Hegemonic constructions in research and methodology in a given field
  • Representations of indigenous communities and scholarship
  • Role of the media in identity formation and representation
  • Influence of cultural environments on communicative practices
  • Influence of geography and environment on spatial development and body awareness
  • Employment of theoretical paradigms (feminism, cultural studies, post-colonialism, disability studies, etc.) to recover marginal perspectives or to develop alternative methodologies
  • Phenomenology engaged in art, film, literature, music, etc.
  • Influence of geography on race and/or gender relations
  • Representations of gender identity and/or sexual preference in MMORPGs, film, music, etc.
  • Analysis of mass media’s use of tropes/metaphors to cultivate xenophobia
  • Use of social media in composition pedagogy to expand audience and communication awareness
  • Employment of mindfulness in the humanities and sciences as pedagogical practices
  • Reconsideration of institutional/university practices to support alternative scholarship
  • Non-reductionistic biology engaged in ecology, behavior, history, mathematics, etc.
  • Creative submissions of all genres and media will also be considered

Individual papers or panel proposals will be considered. Please consider submitting proposals that may not fit neatly into the ones listed above.

Please submit abstracts to by January 3rd, 2016 by 11:59pm.

Plenary Speakers

Dr. Andrea Kitta

Associtate Professor at East Carolina University

Andrea Kitta is a folklorist with a specialty in medicine, belief, and the supernatural. She is also interested in Internet folklore, narrative, and contemporary (urban) legend. Her current research includes: vaccines, pandemic illness, contagion and contamination, stigmatized diseases, disability, health information on the Internet and doctor/patient communication. She is co-editor for the journal Contemporary Legend, a scholarly journal published annually by the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research.

Dr. Kitta is the recipient of the Bertie E. Fearing Award for Excellence in Teaching (2010-2011), and her monograph, Vaccinations and Public Concern in History: Legend, Rumor, and Risk Perception, won the Brian McConnell Book Award in 2012. She also participated in the 2012 US-China Exchange Program between the American Folklore Society and the China Folklore Society. Her research on vaccines won the Bernard Duval Prize at the Canadian Immunization Conference and she received the Graduate Student Union's Award for Teaching Excellence for 2008.

She is currently working on The Kiss of Death: Contamination, Contagion, and Folklore (Utah State University Press). More Information...

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Dr. Dorothea Lasky

Assistant Professor at Columbia University School of the Arts

Dorothea Lasky is the author of Thunderbird, Black Life, and AWE, all out from Wave Books. She is also the author of several chapbooks, including Poetry is Not a Project (Ugly Duckling Press, 2010), The Blue Teratorn (YesYes Books, 2012), and Matter: A Picturebook (Argos Books, 2012). Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, and Boston Review, among other places. She is the co-editor of Open the Door: How to Excite Young People About Poetry (McSweeney's, 2013) and is a 2013 Bagley Wright Lecturer on Poetry. She holds a doctorate in creativity and education from the University of Pennsylvania and has been educated at Harvard University, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and Washington University.

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Dr. Malea Powell

Associate Professor of Writing, Rhetoric & American Cultures - American Indian Studies Program Faculty - Michigan State University - Editor Emeritus, Studies In American Indian Litertures

I’m a mixed-blood of Indiana Miami, Eastern Shawnee, and Euroamerican ancestry. I grew up on a small farm in Northcentral Indiana just outside of Swayzee, surrounded by family & history. Every part of who I am still lives in that cornfield -- every part of who I can become lives with my ancestors, my relatives, and the family & students who will continue after I’m gone.

I’m currently the Chair of the Conference on College Composition & Communication -- no small task. I spent 5 years as Director of the Rhetoric & Writing graduate program at MSU, 7 years as editor of SAIL: Studies in American Indian Literatures and 2 years as Associate National Director of the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers & Storytellers. Because of those experiences, I’m deeply interested in the intellectual affordances of administrative work and in creating more ethical approaches to graduate education.

My current scholarly work focuses on American Indian material rhetorics and the degree to which these “everyday” arts are related to written rhetorical traditions. I’m working on a book manuscript, Rhetorical Powwows, that examines this continuum of indigenous rhetorical production, and on a critical memoir, The X-Blood Files, that explores my own experiences of the constellation of space, history, family & identity in Indiana (land of the Indians). I also supervise the Cultural Rhetorics Theory Lab -- a humanities research collective.

In my spare time, I serve on the Advisory Board of the National Center for Great Lakes Native American Cultures, Inc. (Portland, IN), hang out with crazy Native women artists & poets, do beadwork & quillwork, and write romance novels.

My main goal as a scholar, teacher, mentor, and colleague is to change the way that knowledge by, about, and for American Indians is produced, distributed, taught, and received. While my attempts in this arena are firmly centered in the discipline of Rhetoric Studies, especially theories & histories of rhetoric, my commitments to American Indian Studies, to Native communities (local, national, tribal, intertribal), and to indigenous students are at the heart of everything I do.

All of my current scholarly work is somehow related to my long-term research project – Rhetorical Powwows -- that focuses on articulating an American Indian rhetorical continuum, and on how Native writers, intellectuals, activists and artists have negotiated the complicated pressures of colonization while continuing to carry our cultural traditions forward for the survival of all our relations.

Recently, I began working as a member of the Cultural Rhetorics Theory Lab -- a collective space in which we make theory through the practice of cultural rhetorics. Our goal? To expand notions of “rhetoric” and “culture” in order to decolonize Rhet/Comp’s disciplinary narratives about ourselves and our work.

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Conference Schedule


Tentative Schedule

Thursday, March 3rd
5:00-6:00 Registration
6:00 Keynote Address (Dr. Malea Powell)-Lindsay Young Auditorium
Friday, March 4th *Hodges 212, 251, 252
9:00-9:30 Registration and Breakfast
9:45-10:45 Session 1, Panels 1-3
11:00-12:00 Plenary Talk (Dr. Andrea Kitta)-Lindsay Young Auditorium
12:15-1:30 Lunch
1:45-2:45 Session 2, Panels 4-6
3:00-4:00 Session 3, Panels 7-9
5:00-7:00 Creative Speaker (Dr. Dorothea Lasky)-Hilton Downtown
Saturday, March 5th *Hodges 212, 251, 252
10:00-10:30 Registration and Breakfast
10:40-11:40 Session 4, Panels 10-12
12:15-3pm Closing Reception-McClung Museum

Area Dining

Downtown and Old City Area:

  • Coffee shops:
    • Coffee and Chocolate — 327 Union Ave. - , , $
           Great coffee and unique desserts in an urban atmosphere. Just off of Market Square.
    • Downtown Grind — 418 S. Gay St. - $
           Serving gourmet coffee & coffee products as well as fresh baked pastries, scones, muffins and cakes.
    • Higher Grounds — 625 S. Gay St. - $
           Cappuccino, lattes, breakfast, daily lunch specials and one of the best chocolate milkshake downtown. Closes at 3 p.m. Daily.
    • Old City Java — 109 S. Central St. - , , $
           Knoxville’s oldest coffee shop specializes in locally roasted coffee blends, gourmet store-baked treats, multitudes of espresso drinks, full breakfast and lunch served all day, monthly art shows.

  • Dining:
    • Cafe 4 — 4 Market Square - , $$
           A cafe and bakery with an American southern fusion serving up-scale comfort food with a gourmet twist. Dedicated to cutting back on waste, this restaurant focuses on being not only a place for great food but a responsible aspect of the community.
    • The Bistro — 807 S. Gay St. - , $$
           One of Knoxville's oldest restaurants featuring fresh fish, pastas, home-style specials, a Saturday brunch 11-3pm and Happy Hour from 3-6pm. Featuring live jazz on the weekends!
    • Downtown Grill & Brewery — 424 S. Gay St. - , , $$
           Fresh hand-crafted brews, mesquite-grilled specialities, jumbo pastas and salads served in a historic downtown setting with a patio. Voted Best Brewpub four years running by Metro Pulse readers.
    • Bistro 31 — 31 Market Square - , , $$$
           Known for its Latin and Southern cuisine, this cozy bar features Spanish and South American wines, inventive margaritas, mojitos, caipirinas and an eclectic beer list.
    • The Butcher Shop Steakhouse — 806 World's Fair Park Dr. - $$
           Grain-fed and aged Midwest beef to stick to your ribs. Also great fish selections. Runner-up for Best Steak in Metro Pulse's 2009 Best of Knoxville Guide.
    • Koi Fusion — 19 Market Square - , , $$
           Serving Asian-French cuisine in an elegant, comfortable atmosphere. Drink specials. Accepts cash and all major credit cards.
    • Mahogany's — 401 Summit Hill Dr. - $$$
           Specialities include premium Black Angus beef, the Friday night Prime Rib and seafood buffet and Sunday brunch. Hours: Opens at 5 pm. Located in Crowne Plaza.
    • Barley's Taproom and Pizzeria — 200 E. Jackson Ave. - , , $$
           In the heart of the historic Old City, Barley’s serves up the best New York-style hand-tossed pizza in the region, plus huge calzones, pasta and appetizers like Black Bean Hummus and Hand-battered Buffalo Fingers. Located in Old City.
    • Pasta Trio — 119 S. Central Ave. - $$
           Cozy Southern Italian dining in the Old City with candle-lit tables, affordable lunches and nightly specials. Newly introduced wine list, plus BYOB with a reasonable cork fee. Located in Old City.

  • Nightlife:
    • Preservation Pub — 28 Market Square
           Winner of Best Neighborhood Bar/Pub and Runner-up for Best Beer Selection in Metro Pulse's 2009 Best of Knoxville Guide. The Pub’s new menu features various salads, pasta and sandwiches from 3pm-10pm with free pizza Mon-Fri after 5pm.
    • Sapphire — 428 S. Gay St.
           Sapphire is a modern bar and restaurant featuring 60 wines by the glass (including 10 sparkling wines), and creative cocktails in a sexy atmosphere. Featuring an expansive and unique new sushi menu.
    • Urban Bar — 109 N. Central Ave.
           A relaxing spacious atmosphere with a patio that puts you right in the middle of the Old City. They offer twenty different draft beers and they are smoker friendly. Enjoy one of the many pool tables or dart boards. Located in Old City.

Campus Area:

  • Coffee shops:
    • Golden Roast — 825 Melrose Pl. - , , $
           Perhaps the only coffee shop in the world with a Mars crater named after it, this academic hangout offers its own roasted Fair Trade coffee, plus homemade soups, salads and sandwiches, fresh pastries and desserts. A short walk from campus.

  • Dining:
    • Copper Cellar — 1807 Cumberland Ave. - $$
           Friendly atmosphere with 15 HDTV screens and handcrafted microbrews. Runner-up for Best Hamburger and Best Brunch in Metro Pulse's 2009 Best of Knoxville Guide. Steakhouse and seafood.
    • Ephesus Mediterranean Grill — 1823 Cumberland Ave. - , $
           Delicious Mediterranean cuisine located within walking distance of UT campus.
    • Half Barrel — 1829 Cumberland Ave. - , , $$
           Knoxville’s newest multi-tap bar also offers salads, sandwiches, appetizers such as fried pepper jack cheese orbs and hummus, and “pub plates” such as satay chicken and a Cajun tofu platter. Located within walking distance of UT campus.
    • Sunspot — 2200 Cumberland Ave. - , , , $$
           Polycultural menu features Southwestern, Caribbean and Latin American dishes. Exceptional Sunday brunch features weekly chef specials in addition to favorites. A laid-back little place, where tye-dyes and neckties unite, reminding you that you don't have to be in college to enjoy "The Strip." Its extensive selection of drafts, wines and spirit is enjoyed in a cozy smoke-free bar.

=free wifi
options available

=full bar
$$=moderately priced



A sampling of taxi companies in Knoxville include (*recommended):
  • Big Orange Express | (865) 694-8979
  • *West Side Taxi | (865) 523-3400
  • A Negotiable Taxi | (865) 384-8601
  • College Cab | (865) 523-2537
  • Odyssey Airport Taxi | (865) 577-6767
  • Yellow Cab | (865) 523-5151


Knoxville's downtown area also has a free trolley line.

Conference-goers can ride the trolley on Friday from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. and the late night trolley runs from 6 p.m.-3:30 a.m. (This trolley line is open to the general public.) During the day, the trolley runs every 10 minutes, and during the evening it runs every 15 minutes.

As the complete map of the trolley lines on the following page indicates, the Orange Line serves a circular route between West Summit Hill Drive (where the Crowne Plaza is located) and the University of Tennessee campus. There is a stop close to the Student Center on Cumberland Avenue, between Phillip Fulmer Way and Volunteer Blvd.

The Late Line serves a route from campus through the Old Town. There are stops on Cumberland, as listed above, on Gay Street near the Crowne Plaza, and in the Historic Old City District.

A complete map of the Trolley Lines is available at the KAT website:


Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) buses run between the intersection at Cumberland & James Agee (at the UT end) and Gay Street & Summit Hill (at the Downtown end); they do not run as often as the trolley does, but below please see the listed times that fill in the gaps, so to speak, around the Trolley Line.

From UT to Downtown:

Route 11: Weekdays: 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m.
Saturday: On the hour, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Night Rider: Weekdays: On the half-hour, 7:15 p.m. to Midnight
Saturday: On the half-hour, 7:15 p.m. to Midnight

Fares: One way $1.50

UT Transit Information Line: (865) 637-3000


Parking tags will be provided free of charge for those attendees who asked for a permit when registering for the conference.

The garage, UC, and library are all handicap accessible.

The UC and the entrance to the UC Garage are located along Philip Fulmer Way. A campus map is available here:

Street Parking

Street parking in downtown Knoxville is free after 6 p.m. and free all day on weekends. Street parking is available along many of the streets in downtown Knoxville. The link below will take you to a Downtown Parking map.

Parking Garages

Public parking garages are also free after 6 p.m. and on weekends, but we must emphasize that this applies to only public parking garages. Three such garages are available:
  1. State St. Garage (Near the corner of Clinch and State)
  2. Market Square Garage (Near the intersection of Walnut and Union)
  3. Locust St. Garage (Near the corner of Locust and Union)
The Market Square Garage is probably the best option, as it is located only a block from the Crowne Plaza Hotel and about two blocks from the Downtown Gallery. Also, a map highlighting available parking downtown is linked in .PDF:

Note: Maps and information will also be made available to you upon registration.


Recommended Accommodations

The Oliver Hotel
407 Union Avenue
Knoxville, Tennessee 37902
(865) 521-0050

Holiday Inn Select
525 Henley St
Knoxville, TN 37902
(865) 522-2800

Crowne Plaza Downtown Knoxville
401 W. Summit Hill Dr.
Knoxville, TN 37902
Hotel Front Desk: 1-865-5222600
1 877 2 CROWNE (877 227 6963)

Four Points by Sheraton (formerly Cumberland Inn)
1109 White Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37916
Phone: (865) 971-4663


The University of Tennessee's NEXUS conference was first established as a symposium organized by Brian Gempp in 2004. As president of UT's Graduate Students in English, Gempp started a lecture series that brought three speakers to campus. This lecture series morphed into a much larger project: the creation of NEXUS: An Interdisciplinary Conference.

NEXUS was conceived as a biennial, graduate-student-run conference that would bring in senior scholars and practicing artists both as plenary and panel speakers. In 2004, Gempp involved faculty and students from the departments of Art, Sociology, Music, and English and brought in experimental filmmaker and composer Tony Conrad, who is also a professor at the State University of New York-Buffalo. Working with faculty advisors Amy Elias and Allen Dunn, Gempp was able to put together an impressive roster of symposium invitees. Other speakers at the first NEXUS included Joseph Tabbi from the University of Illinois-Chicago, Scott Herring from Indiana University, and a number of other scholars and arts practitioners, who presented papers at the one-day symposium.

The event was such as success that we were able to expand it two years later into a full-blown academic conference which featured both invited speakers and , run by Elaine Childs and Misty Krueger. In addition to being a success for the department, the 2006 event provided the template for future NEXUS conferences.

Past NEXUS Conferences:

2004Organizer: Brian Gempp (Dr. Amy Elias and Dr. Allen Dunn, faculty advisors)
Keynote Speakers: Tony Conrad, SUNY Buffalo; Daniel O’Hara, Temple University

2006Organizers: Elaine Childs, Misty Krueger (Dr. Amy Elias, faculty advisor)
Theme: Religion and Nation
Keynote Speakers: John D. Caputo, Syracuse University; Diane Glancy, Macalester College
Link: NEXUS 2006

2008Organizers: Matt Raese, Teresa Saxton (Dr. Amy Elias, faculty advisor)
Theme: Collected and Collective Identities
Keynote Speakers: Brent Hayes Edwards, Columbia University; Shelley Jackson
Link: NEXUS 2008

2010Organizers: Teresa Lopez, Dennis McGlothin (Dr. Jane Bellamy, faculty advisor)
Theme: Trauma and Testimony: New Perspectives
Keynote Speakers: Cathy Caruth, Emory University; Julia Levine
Link: NEXUS 2010

2012Organizers: Katie Burnett, Bushra Malaibari, Dennis McGlothin
Theme: Voice and Voicing in a Technological Era
Keynote Speakers: Dr. Adam J. Banks, University of Kentucky; Dr. Barclay Barrios, Florida Atlantic University; Dr. Nancy Paterson, OCAD University
Link: NEXUS 2012

2014Organizers: Jacqueline Kerr, Stephanie Metz, Matt Smith
Theme: Greenways: The Interconnected Pathways of Communication and the Environment
Keynote Speakers: Sandra Alcosser; Dr. Mark Pedelty, University of Minnesota; Dr. Jennifer Peeples, Utah State University
Link: NEXUS 2014