Sunday, February 25, 2007



"Art Made Tongue-Tied By Authority": Expression, Suppression, and Censorship

Conference date: Friday September 21 ­ Saturday September 22, 2007
Place: Department of English, University of Ottawa
Deadline for proposals: June 1, 2007

According to playwright Eugene O'Neill, "Censorship of anything, at any time, in any place, on whatever pretence, has always been and always will be the last resort of the boob and the bigot." Censorship continues to be a major impediment to freedom of speech in literature, music, and visual and other arts. Indeed, for every act of artistic expression there seems to be
an opposing act of artistic suppression.

Why have artistic works been censored throughout history, and why, in countries that pride themselves on freedom of speech like Canada and the U.S., do they continue to be? Have the reasons for censoring texts changed over history, or do they remain essentially the same? Who exactly are the "boob[s] and bigot[s]" that censor texts? Are there instances where
O'Neill's characterization of the censor is too narrow-minded or even inappropriate? Are there cases where censorship is appropriate or justifiable? Can suppression act as an influence for creative expression or re-presentation?

The Third Annual University of Ottawa English Graduate Conference invites graduate student papers that deal with the censorship of texts (books, films, music, visual arts, advertisements, etc.) in "any time, in any place, [and] on whatever pretence."

Possible topics for consideration include (but are certainly not limited to):

* Individual authors/artists who have been censored
* Censored/Banned/Burned Texts
* Taboo subjects/words
* Mechanisms of censorship (i.e. how it is implemented and enforced, and how these have changed over time)
* Censorship in the cause of political correctness
* The teaching of controversial literature and banned books
* The censoring of children's literature (high school libraries, etc.)
* Censorship of/and History (ie. Holocaust denial, history textbooks, war letters)
* Anti-censorship campaigns (ie. Canada's "Freedom to Read" Week)
* Censorship and Technology (internet, television, computer games, etc.)
* Censorship of the body
* The recovery of repressed or suppressed texts (religious texts, Aboriginal writing, etc.)
* Censorship and minority groups
* Journalistic censorship (Pamphlet wars, media control and ownership, etc.)
* Self-Censorship
* "bleeping" in music and television
* Censorship after 9/11 (journalism, film, etc.)
* Positive aspects of censorship (i.e., J.M. Coetzee: "there may even be cases where external censorship challenges the writer in interesting ways or spurs creativity.")

Submission Guidelines

Please email a 250 to 300 word abstract and a short biographical statement
to by June 1, 2007. Papers should be 15-20
minutes in length. Please specify if you require any A/V equipment.