2023 Conference: Malady


Friday, October 20th, 2023



8 AM

Breakfast in New North 307, 309 and 311


9 AM – 9:45 AM

Jerome McGann, Professor Emeritus, University of Virginia

Keynote Speech and Q&A

New North 311


10 – 10:50 AM

Rethinking The Body – Moderated by Desi Isaacson 

New North 311

  1. The State of Mourning in Philip Roth’s The Ghost Writer

Desi Isaacson, Georgetown University

2. We Are Not Sick: Family Planning, Gender, and Race in the Twentieth Century

Hayley Maritza Serpa, Florida International University 

3. Between Abnormal and Normal Body: Shift in Narrative and Reclaiming Self in Ali Abbasi’s Border

June Yoon, Georgetown University 


11:10 – 12:10 PM

Resistance – Moderated by Zoe Giglio

New North 311

  1. Shakespeare’s Arden: A Diseased Wasteland 

Ananya Bhardwaj, George Washington University 

2. Power, Profits & Professional Resistance: Medical Training in the United States of America

Vinayak Jain, MedStar Georgetown Washington Hospital Center

3. The Body is a Parable: Addiction and Recovery Narratives in Kaveh Akbar’s Calling A Wolf A Wolf

Paria Rahmani, University of North Texas

4. ‘I’m Not Crazy, Baby, Naw. I’m an America’: Rethinking Black Women’s Citizenship Through Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer Lore

Alexis Harper, Howard University


1:30 – 2:30 PM 

Social Maladies  – Moderated by Rin Baker

New North 311

  1. “A Machine-Made Thing”: The Worker’s Hand and Mechanical Apocalypses in Samuel Butler’s Erewhon

Sarah Licht, Georgetown University

2. The Politics of Illness and Infection in BP Koirala’s “Writer Baje”

Shubi Basnyat, Yale University

3. Emotional Dysregulation in Jane Eyre: Trauma Response, Risky Behaviors, and Physical Distress

Alisa Chen, Northeastern University

4. Intersections of Illness & Confinement in Junauda Petrus’ The Stars and the Blackness Between Them

Nik’talia Jules, University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee


2:50 – 3:50 PM

Bad Readings – Moderated by Caroline Hannum 

New North 311

  1. Leopold and Loeb on Film: Queer Criminality and Medical Machinations from 1959 to 1992

Eden Rea-Hedrick, Yale University 

3. Malady as Metaphor: Fascism, Anti-Democracy, and the Body Politic

Jack West, New York University

3. “Things That Were Not Openly Discussed”: The ‘Child’ in Atwood’s Surfacing 

Kavita Premkumar, Georgetown University

4. “The Most Terrific Liar You Ever Saw in Your Life”: Unreliable Narration and the Confessional Form

Morgan Lehofer, Boston University

4:10 – 5 PM

Dis-Abling Narratives – Moderated by Miles Cooper

New North 311

  1. The Not-So-Lonely Disease: TikTok’s Archive of Asian American Autism

Callie Martindale, Miami University

2. Sickness Inaudible: Words for Deafness in late-nineteenth-century China

Oscar (Zhenhao) Yu, Georgetown University

5 – 5:45 PM

Chris Hansen, PhD Student, SUNY Buffalo

Keynote Speech and Q&A

New North 311


6 PM


New North 311

‘Malady’ was only possible thanks to:


The Conference Organizing Team (Miles Cooper, Sarah Licht and Kavita Premkumar); The English Graduate Student Association (Halle Trang, Caroline Hannum, Zoe Giglio, Kyra Green); Desi Isaacson and Rin Baker. 


Professor Christine So; Professor Patrick O’Malley; Professor Daniel Shore; Professor Ricardo Ortiz and Professor John Glavin.


Karen Lautman, Patricia Guzman and Chris Doyle. 


And with the support of:

The English Department; The Erikka Gray Gift; The History Department; The Georgetown Humanities Initiative and The Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice. 


Call for Papers: 

The English Graduate Students’ Association (EGSA) at Georgetown University invites submissions for our 2023 conference, “Malady,” taking place October 20th in Washington DC. 

Maladies, broadly construed as an illness or sickness, have formed the foundation of countless theoretical and philosophical conundrums. From Hippocrates to Joseph Lister, these questions have led to solutions that have shaped the way we have come to view maladies as inherently interdisciplinary, requiring a community effort to ponder, analyze, and attempt to solve. In light of recent times, the need to continue these conversations has intensified. This conference seeks to foster an interdisciplinary dialogue between fields such as literature, disability studies, philosophy, and the medical humanities within the combined thematic, theoretical and critical orientation provided by “malady.” The English Graduate Student Association of Georgetown University seeks proposals from various disciplines and theoretical approaches addressing, but not limited to, the following questions: What does it mean to be ill? What does it mean to be healed? What does illness look like? Who/What can be considered ill?

Proposals may also be considered for inclusion in Predicate, EGSA’s interdisciplinary journal in the humanities, which will be published in Spring 2024.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
● Illnesses of the body and/or the mind
● Disability studies
● Social maladies
● Bad readings
● Environmental maladies
● Apocalypse
● Health and healing
● Rethinking the Body
● Resistance and Resilience
● Sensationalism/Sentimentality
● Spirituality