Call for papers: Cultural Constructions Conference 2021

The organizers of the 2021 Cultural Constructions Conference hosted by the Department of Modern Languages at The University of Texas at Arlington invite papers and complete panels on any aspect of this year's theme: "Resilience and reinvention."


The question of resilience has become increasingly significant in the year 2020 on many levels, both in personal and professional contexts. We are seeking papers that examine the ability of languages and cultures to perform despite unpredictable events. The purpose of the conference is to open up a dialogue about resilience and reinvention in their broad sense: overcoming, surviving, preserving, remaking, renewing, reaffirming. We ask scholars to consider engagements with languages and cultures, the people that represent them, and the professions that surround them, in terms of ongoing processes of adaptation. We welcome proposals for fifteen-minute papers as well as planned panels of three to five papers pertinent to these themes and their manifestations anywhere in the world.

We welcome papers for a range of approaches and disciplines:

  • • linguistics (bilingualism, sociolinguistics, variation)
  • • second language acquisition and second/foreign language pedagogy
  • • translation, localization, and interpreting
  • • literary and cultural studies
  • • creative writing

Undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to participate. In an effort to be inclusive, we ask for all presentations to be delivered in English. Some exceptions may be granted on an individual basis.


  • • January 5, 2021: deadline to submit
  • • January 15, 2021: participants receive notification of acceptance
  • • March 4-5, 2021: conference broadcast live on Microsoft Teams

Ready to submit? Send your 300 word abstract to us at this link.


Undergraduate and graduate students presenting at the conference are eligible to receive a "Best Presentation" award, which includes a $50 prize.

  • • Two awards will be given to UTA students presenting on Mexican, Mexican American, and/or Latinx Studies (funded by the Center for Mexican American Studies);
  • • One award will be give to a UTA student presenting on any topic related to the conference theme (funded by the McDowel Center for Global Studies);
  • • Two awards will be given to students presenting on any topic related to the conference theme (funded by the Department of Modern Languages).


The biennial Cultural Constructions Conference at The University of Texas at Arlington brings together student, professional, and faculty presenters for collegial and engaging multidisciplinary conversations. Admission is free and open to the public. This year's conference features two keynote speakers, Dr. José Alaniz and Dr. Kris Knisely. 

Dr. José Alaniz is a professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Washington, Seattle. His research interests include death and dying, disability studies, film studies, critical animal studies, latinx studies, and comics studies. His current book projects include Resurrection: Comics in Post-Soviet Russia and Beautiful Monsters: Disability in Alternative Comics.

Alaniz has published over forty articles, reviews, and encyclopedia entries on subjects as diverse as the representation of disability in comics and cinema; contemporary Russian cinema and literature; comics of the former Eastern Europe; and superheroes. His articles and reviews have appeared in the International Journal of Comic Art, The Comics Journal, Ulbandus, Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema, The Slavic and East European Journal, Comics Forum, The Journal of Modern Jerwish Studies, and KinoKultura, among others. His work has appeared in edited anthologies such as The Ages of The Avengers: Essays on Earth's Mightiest Heroes in Changing Times (McFarland, 2014); Disability in Comic Books and Graphic Narratives (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016); Cultures of Representation: Disability in World Film Contexts (Wallflower Press, 2016); Seeing Animals: Visuality, Derrida, and the Exposure of the Human (Lexington Books, 2017); and Critical Animal Studies and Superheroes: The Heroic Beasts of Total Liberation (Lexington Books, 2017). 

Kris Aric Knisely (Ph.D., French and Educational Studies, Emory University, he/they) is an Assistant Professor of French and Intercultural Competence as well as affiliated faculty in both SLAT and TSRC at the University of Arizona. Knisely’s research, in its broadest form, considers gender and sexuality in the linguistic, socio-cultural, and instructional dimensions of second language (L2) learning. This entails asking how the linguistically- and culturally-situated ways that we perceive and embody gender enter into L2 education, what normativities manifest there, and how those normativities can be laid bare, upended, and unscripted by L2 teachers and learners. Within this general frame, Knisely focuses on the culturally-situated linguistic practices of trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming speakers of French, particularly as they can inform the development and articulation of trans-affirming L2 curricula, materials, research, training, and pedagogies. Dr. Knisely’s work has appeared in a variety of journals including Contemporary French Civilization, Foreign Language Annals, The French Review, Gender and Language, Journal of Applied Measurement, and Pensamiento Educativo, among others.


Contact Dr. Cynthia Laborde at if you have any questions regarding how to submit your abstract or details about the conference.