For a PDF of the Call for Papers, please click here.

Claims to the artificial or fake have often examined the ways information, images, and objects create misleading or unnatural presentations of realities and truths. From the proliferation of ‘fake news’ on social media in Trump-era politics, to the moral and ethical implications behind female robot citizenship in Saudi Arabia, artifice asks us to consider the social, cultural, political, and technological modes that construct our perceptions of what is real and how we determine fact from fiction. Artifice also suggests ingenuity and skill in the creation of visual facades that conceal unpleasant or destructive truths. The 2019 Midwest Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference (MIGC) inquires how artifice and the artificial can be used to interrogate how we delineate the boundaries of reality and uncloak the veneer of oppressive deceptions and falsehoods.

Artifice must also consider the tools and devices used to frame images and words as authentic and real. In her book The Surveillance of Women on Reality Television: Watching The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, Rachel E. Dubrofsky considers how reality TV employs surveillance as a technology of confession and a mediator of emotion privileging white women on their journey to romance. “The artifice,” she contends, “allows for the construction of authenticity,” where the scripted processes of production, editing, and promotion work to verify the authentication of the self under surveillance (22). Dubrofsky’s interdisciplinary approach to the fields of feminist surveillance studies and gender and race in media cultures serves as a springboard into how we can explore artifice, not just as a constructed apparatus, but as a cultural intermediary that influences the creation of ideas and movements, as well as the regulation of gendered and racialized bodies.

We invite emerging scholars in the humanities, arts, and humanistic sciences to present work that broadens our current understanding of artifice and how it engages with culture, theory, and society. What theoretical frameworks and methodologies expand our conceptions of artifice? How does artifice emerge in literature, the visual arts, and performance? What are the historical precedents that have led to contemporary notions of artifice? How is artifice considered in data collection and information presented to the public? When does artifice conceal or expose social and cultural inequalities?

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

• Tracing the emergence of “post-truth” politics

• Studies of mythology and myth-making

• Framing the academy as artifice

• Rethinking virtual reality

• Critical research and alternative/subversive research methodologies

• Performative blackness in the 21st century

• Revisiting Donna Haraway’s “A Cyborg Manifesto”

• Invisible disabilities, trauma, and memory

• LGBTQ+ identities and the construction of normativity

• Documentary and cinéma vérité techniques

• Nonfiction storytelling and memoir

• Studies of affect, emotion, and performance

• Architecture and gentrification

• The rhetoric of artificial intelligence

• Transnational identities and borders

• Historical revisionism

• Gaming and digital avatars

• Surveillance in marginalized communities

Please use the form below to submit your 300-word submissions for individual papers, panels, posters, roundtables, workshops, or other formats by December 15th, 2018.  In your submission, please include a title, institutional affiliation, department, and whether you are a MA or PhD student. All submissions will be reviewed anonymously by a committee of UWM graduate student organizers.

Questions can be directed to

The fourteenth annual Midwest Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference is supported by the Center for 21st Century Studies, the College of Letters and Sciences, the Graduate School, the Office of Research, Student Affairs, and the Department of English at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.


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