Official Call For Papers 2018


Reformatting the World: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Technology and the Humanities

The Graduate Program in Humanities and the Humanities Graduate Student Association (HuGSA) at York University are pleased to announce an interdisciplinary conference interrogating the critical role of technology, both past and present, in shaping human culture and society. Technology, in the broadest sense, has enriched our lives by opening up new vistas of knowledge about ourselves (or our selves) and the natural world. Digital technologies, for example, have made possible new, highly-advanced forms of social organization. They have also revolutionized almost every aspect of our lives, from travel, communication, entertainment, culture and the arts to food, medicine, education, politics, and science.

However, technology is also associated with the rise of technical rationality and a cold, calculating approach to the creation and application of technological innovation. From the industrial revolution to the development of the atomic bomb, politics in alliance with private interests have wreaked havoc on the environment, peoples and communities across the world, and threatens to alter or destroy the things we value the most. Where, for instance, is the place for privacy, freedom, spirituality, and other aspects of the human experience as we move forward in increasingly technologically administered bodies and societies? Are we destined to become slaves to our own creations, the “sex organs of the machine world,” as Marshall McLuhan predicted? Can humanism and morality withstand—or even make use of—technology for the genuine betterment of humankind?

Or, perhaps it is technology itself that must be rethought. What changes if we conceive of a technology as anything instrumental (a material, tool, text, medium, digital platform, etc.) and/or social (writing, discourse, institution, etc.) that exerts its own subtle pressure, penetrating deeply into in human experience or culture? What happens when our discourses of social/political/cultural technological “progress” are supplemented with that of “affordances” and “constraints?” In other words, can we attend to the stakes of technicity itself as an increasingly prominent (and often assumed) conceptual framework? How can such interdisciplinary approaches trace the real and imagined effects of a given technology across past and present human societies, and where do discourses and practices of technology and the humanities converge?

  • Panel themes and topics might include (but are not limited to):
  • Digital Humanities: collaboration, new perspectives and communicative technology
  • Technology and the Arts: literature, fine arts, music, film, theatre, sound, fashion, etc.
  • Human–Machine Interaction: cyborgs, the social and the technological,
  • Biotechnology and Biopolitics: policies, ethics and technologies of living organisms
  • Epistemologies: disciplines, divides and the production of knowledge
  • Media Studies: communication and culture, social impact of media
  • History and Philosophy of Technology: past and present perspectives
  • Profit and loss: Potentials of new technologies and what is made antiquated in turn
  • Prophets and the lost: how varieties of spirituality have adapted with/to technology

We welcome submissions from graduate students of any level, as well as early career researchers, from a wide cross-section of disciplines, fields and critical approaches, including (but not limited to) anthropology, art history, classics, communications and culture, comparative literature, critical theory, cultural memory, digital humanities, education, film studies, fine arts, futurism, historicism, history of science and technology, media studies, medical humanities, medicine, philosophy, popular cultural studies, religious studies, representation studies, sociology, translation studies, and women’s studies.

Submissions may take the form of 20-minute papers, or 12–15 minute roundtable papers in either English or French. Those wishing to participate are invited to submit a 250-word abstract to by 8 December, 2017. Submissions must be accompanied by:

-the presenter’s name
-institutional affiliation, program and level of study
-e-mail address
-tentative title
-a short (150-word) bio
-as well as an indication of whether any computing or electronic equipment (e.g., laptop, projector) is needed
We are also very pleased to welcome practitioners of digital technologies who wish to present their work. We are offering access to the Digital Media Studio in the York University School of the Arts, Media, and Performance & Design building in the evenings for post-panel workshops. This room is equipped with Oculus Rift and Vive virtual reality hardware and Unreal virtual reality software. For those wishing to organize such a session, please contact us with technology requirements [etc.?]. Other submissions, in the form of poster sessions, visual art, or performance, will also be considered.Hugsa Logo

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HuGSACon 2017 is now over!

Death is the wish of some, the relief of many, and the end of all. – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

And so ends HuGSACon 2017, a conference on death and morbidity. This was our second year in a row hosting such an event, and the conference executive has been so very grateful for the support that not only our department, but also you – yes, you! – the panelists and moderators have given us twice in a row.

Your support and belief in the Humanities and the necessity of creating an ongoing dialogue on interdisciplinary fields on a variety of topics makes HuGSACon exciting and different. Last year we pondered the historical understandings of the humanities, and this year we questioned death. Where will next year take us?

In the coming days, participants and moderators will receive an email with a gentle plea to complete our conference questionnaire. We want to know what you thought of HuGSACon 2017: what were the highlights, the lowlights? What was the best thing ever and what could be improved? Your thoughts are important to us in moving forward and establishing a well-received and exciting new topic and conference for next year.

Keep an eye out on our website in the coming weeks for information on HuGSACon 2018, and as always, feel free to drop us a line at if you have any questions… or just want to tell us how great of a time you had!

We look forward to seeing you again, but until then, with the words of Jack Lemmon — “Death ends a life, not a relationship.”

The HuGSA Conference Executive Team

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Hotel Reservation Deadline Extension

Hello Conference Attendees,

We have been allotted an extension from the Holiday Inn at Yorkdale for anyone still wishing to book a room with the group discount rate of $134.00 (CAD) per night.

You can book through our “Accommodations” page:

We are also offering a room split service. Please let us know if you wish to split a room with a fellow attendee via email and we will put you in touch with anyone else who is interested.


-Conference Exec

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Conference Raffle Draw

Every year, we host a raffle draw at the end of the conference with prizes directly related to the conference death – and this year is no different. HuGSACon is pleased to announce that Dundurn Press has kindly provided us with several ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) of fiction and non-fiction books related to the theme of death.

Conversations on DyingOne lucky ticket purchaser will win Phil Dwyer’s “Conversations on Dying: A Palliative-Care Pioneer Faces His Own Death.”

Visit our Conference Raffle Draw page for more information, as well as further titles as they come in!

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Abstract Submission Closed

Thank you all for sending in your abstracts! The submissions will be evaluated and panels announced soon. Those who are accepted are invited to buy early bird tickets (lower price) for the for the Conference and Keynote dinner.

Conference Tickets:

Conference Keynote Dinner with Dr. Patricia Rae:


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Abstracts Due on Monday, Dec. 5th.

Have you written an abstract yet? Is it currently a work in progress? We are accepting abstracts until the end of the 5th.

Here’s how you can submit:

  • Visit our call for papers page and submit it directly.

Please make sure to include the following:  presenter’s name, e-mail address, tentative title, a short (150-word) bio, as well as an indication of whether any computing or electronic equipment (e.g., laptop, projector) is needed.

We are looking forward to putting together another great conference with insightful work from fellow graduate students!

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Frequently Asked Questions:


Planning & Submitting

Q: I am a graduate student at a university outside of Canada. May I submit a paper to the conference?

A: Yes. We encourage international attendance and have a block of rooms provided for your stay while you visit.

Q: I am not a graduate student, but still wish to present my research. May I submit a paper?

A: Our CFP is open to all research, and our conference committee will accept non-graduate student papers on a case to case basis.

Q: I am a in a Masters degree program and not a Ph.D. program. May I submit my paper?

A: Yes.

Q: Must I submit a paper in order to participate in the conference?

A: No. You may attend the conference and engage in panels as an audience member. We also encourage you to attend our Keynote events, which given by distinguished professors each year. The second Keynote is a dinner and will require a ticket for attendance.

Keynote page:

Q: I will not be able to travel to Toronto in person. May I still participate?

A:  Yes. We have the equipment to have participants Skype in for their panels. However, we do prefer papers to be given in person.

Q: Is there a conference fee and how do I pay? 

A: Yes. We do have a conference fee. You may pay online via eventbrite or upon arrival at the conference. Please stay tuned for early bird prices.

Ticket page (linked to fb event):

Paper Requirements

Q: May I submit a paper in a language other than English?

A: .Yes. We accept both French and English papers.

Q: Am I required to submit a final copy of my paper? 

A: No. Your paper presentation does not require a formal copy for the conference committee or the panel chair.


Q: When will I know the conference schedule and my presentation time? 

A: We will design the conference time table early January and announce it on our website.

Q: Should I bring any presentation materials (handouts, PowerPoints, ect)?

A: We encourage presenters to bring materials that are necessary for their presentation; however, it is up to each individual what materials are used. However, please notify the conference committee of your Tech needs before the conference.

Q: Do I need to stay for the entirety of the conference?

A: No. We ask that all invited participants stay for the entirety of the conference, but it is not required. We acknowledge scheduling conflicts, religious restrictions, and limited travel budgets. Please feel free to attend for however long you can on either day.


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