From the call for proposals:

“When I was a child the two most rhythmic things that happened to me were spanking and poetry.” (Tendencies 182)

Eve Sedgwick lovingly, if none too gently, slapped open the sphincter-tight boundary rings of critical scholarship on the sexual and affective relations between bodies. This conference invites continued play with the tools she created for examination of “all the different surfaces that make a self for most of us, printed pages, ‘our’ ideas, institutional relations and activism, vibrations of a voice, the gaping abstractions and distractions of creativity, the weird holographic projections of our names and public personae, the visible and impressible extent of the parts of our bodies” (Tendencies 104-05). We welcome paper proposals on any aspect or application of her critical, literary, and artistic work, inviting scholars to broadly consider and reconsider Sedgwick’s intersections with and influences upon their fields. In the spirit of her own perversion of academic style, we particularly encourage proposals that expand the boundaries of the conventional conference paper through experimental or creative critical practices. We also seek papers engaging with Sedgwick’s pedagogical practices and proposals, as expressed in her written work or as performed in her classes at The Graduate Center or other institutions.

The Spanking and Poetry conference was nearly canceled due to an unexpected snowstorm that shut down much of the city—including the CUNY Graduate Center, where the conference was to be held. Many incoming flights were delayed or canceled, and keynote speakers Jonathan Goldberg and Michael Moon were unable to get to the city. Thanks to the efforts of the conference’s organizers, Tracy Riley and Margaret Galvan, CUNY agreed to open its doors for an informal plenary session. Around fifty people made their way through the snowy streets to attend a lively and moving series of panels. Attendee and presenter Mia Chen wrote an in-depth review of the conference here.