The English Graduate Organization sponsors and schedules several conferences and colloquia throughout the academic year. These events are open to all graduate students and are designed to foster academic and professional development.

Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference

Phoenix: Responses to Adversity

The year 2020 was an unprecedented year for many. We lived in a world of isolation from friends and family, deprivation of many normal activities (e.g., going out to a restaurant), and the constant state of paralyzing fear of getting sick or, worse, watching our loved one perish from the insidious virus that forced us all into a state of undesired pause. If we could only use one noun to describe the year that was 2020, it would be adversity. Where there is great adversity, there is great opportunity to rise like the mythological phoenix from the ashes to become stronger, greater, and more evolved. With this in mind, the 2021 English Graduate Organization's Conference, titled "Phoenix: Responses to Adversity," will celebrate human achievement during times that have "tried men's souls" (as Charles Dickens would aptly say).

For this virtual conference, the English Graduate Organization is seeking original submissions that address and exuberate the act of achievement in the face of incredible adversity that has crippled not only our nation, but the world. Both scholarly and creative pieces are encouraged. Our conference will be held in an online format from March 1 to 6, 2021. Video submissions of your paper will be submitted for viewing March 1-4, with panel questions and answers being held on March 5 and 6. We hope that this conference is a time to bring light into the darkness, to combat fear with love, and to remember the joy that it is to be alive.

Questions to Consider

  • How is adversity defined?
  • What other moments of phoenix-like adversity in history have been memorialized in literature?
  • How do other cultures respond in the face of adversity?
  • How does the language respond/change during difficult times?
  • What pieces based on adversity have you written?
  • How has the phoenix been represented within literature as a symbol of facing adversity?


All submissions should be emailed to by February 5, 2021. Direct any questions or queries to Kimberly Bressler (

For program, directions, parking, and hotel and dining information, please refer to our official EGO conference website.

Questions about the conference and paper/panel proposals may be sent to