2022 Call for Proposals

Call for Proposals: English Symposium 2022

Toward A Beloved Community and a Culture of Belonging

Symposium Dates: February 24-25, 2022

Proposal Deadline Extended: December 15, 2021

Proposal Submission Link

“But the end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the beloved community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opposers into friends. It is this type of understanding goodwill that will transform the deep gloom of the old age into the exuberant gladness of the new age. It is this love which will bring about miracles in the hearts of men.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from “Facing the Challenge of a New Age,” 1956

The Annual English Symposium gives us an opportunity to gather as a community of students, faculty, friends, and family in goodwill to share discoveries and insights inspired from the study of English. Inspired by the enduring words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. about creating a “beloved community” and by BYU’s renewed commitment to foster a culture of belonging, we welcome students’ spirited inquiries into the way the English discipline engages these topics in meaningful and relevant ways.

We invite proposals across the following strands, wherein we recognize student learning within all four tracks of the new English major, the English Teaching major, and English+ experiences. Proposed presentations may include traditional papers, multimodal research projects, and/or teaching modules. Please submit proposals here by December 15, 2021 (extended).

  • To propose an individual presentation (10-15 minutes), please submit a 150-200 word description of the thesis that guides the research with a brief outline of the presentation and/or the paper’s central argument(s). Accepted presentations will be grouped into panels around common topics by the symposium organizers.
  • To propose a panel (45-60 minutes), please submit one 300-400 word overview of the proposed session’s unifying theme that outlines the specific contributions of each panel participant, including titles and/or brief descriptions of their papers. 

Successful proposals will demonstrate a specific and original claim, a clear purpose, and a connection to the symposium theme. Please do not submit full papers at this time; accepted presenters will have the opportunity to submit their full papers in February for publication in BYU Scholars Archive.  

Questions? Contact Symposium chair Dr. Amber Jensen at englishsymposium@byu.edu 

English Symposium 2022 Strands

Literary Studies

Building communities across time and space is a key element of literary studies. How does literature do this? How might reading create and nourish “beloved” communities? How does literature connect generations, the living and the dead? How can literary study help us get beyond our limited selves and inhabit other worlds and experiences? How does cultural memory, embodied in books, serve the purposes of community-building?

For this strand, we invite research papers/presentations that address these and other questions relevant to building communities and/or recognizing the strength of cultural exchanges.

Literary Media and Cultures

Studying the ways stories and storytelling represent community through media and cultures is a key element of this track. How does the passing on, adapting, and receiving of stories invite better, more beloved, communities? How do popular stories teach people about their place in the world and in their communities? What stories and groups may be misrepresented or missing from popular media, and what are the consequences? How do popular literature and media perpetuate storytelling, along with positive and less beneficial attitudes and consequences?  To what effect? What do contemporary adaptations, media franchises, and storytelling tell us about current problems and possibilities in the world we have inherited and want to improve? How does storytelling within a certain medium (oral, written, printed, broadcast, or digital) affect how universal, accessible or inclusive a given story is? How do non-print versions of stories invite or include the full range of human subjects or audiences?

 For this strand, we invite research papers/presentations that address these and other questions relevant to building communities and recognizing the deeper necessities of telling diverse stories in varied media to create better worlds.

Professional Writing and Communication

Professional writing and rhetoric construct communities and emerge from them. They situate and respond to cultures as they develop and evolve. How are communities imagined, hailed, constituted, or constrained by rhetorical practice? How do specific communities tell their stories? How do rhetorical practices create cultural identities? What’s the relationship between genre and community? How do writers resist oppressive community norms? How can professional writing be used to create inclusive communities and cultures? What are affinities and tensions between academic and professional writing cultures? How do students successfully navigate both? What kinds of questions, problems, or opportunities would motivate academics and professional writers to collaborate? How might they collaborate, and what contributions would such collaborations produce?

We invite research papers/presentations that address these and other questions that explore and contend with the challenges and opportunities of professional writing and rhetoric that can build, speak to, and reflect communities and cultures.

Creative Writing

Works of creative writing will be honored by invitation to winners of the following writing contests to read their pieces at the English Symposium. To submit, please see details at the links below (Deadline: January 15).

English Teaching

Fostering communities of learners, readers, and writers is at the core of the English teaching profession. How do students’ own communities and cultures affect their experiences as learners, readers, and writers? What teaching strategies invite meaningful inquiries into community and culture in secondary English Language Arts (ELA) classrooms? How do the different domains of ELA (reading, writing, speaking, listening) respond to, create space for, and/or constrain the range of communities and cultures represented in the classroom? How do teachers build communities of belonging and use culturally-sustaining pedagogies through relevant literacies? What communities do teachers themselves belong to? How does their participation in professional communities foster identities and pedagogies that support learning?

We invite English Teaching students to present research papers/presentations and/or teaching modules (e.g., lesson plans, unit plans, assignments) that highlight the intersections between ELA teaching and inquiries into community and/or culture.


A highlight of the BYU English Major for many students is extending their learning beyond the classroom walls in an English+ internship, study abroad, or Applied English course. We invite students to participate in an English+ Panel at the symposium by preparing a five-minute Ignite-style presentation about their English+ experience. Please contact Dr. Jamin Rowan (jamin_rowan@byu.edu) or Trina Harding (trina_harding@byu.edu) by January 15 if you are interested in being part of this panel.