TAMIU Hosts 11th Annual International Conference on Romanticism in 2004

TAMIU Hosts 11th Annual International Conference on Romanticism

If there seems to be a little more romance on the border next week, it's probably coming from Texas A&M International University.

For the first time, TAMIU will offer students, faculty, staff and the community an opportunity to attend one of the country's most distinguished conferences exploring Romanticism. This year's International Conference on Romanticism (ICR) entitled "Romantic Border Crossings" begins Thursday evening on October 14 and continues through Saturday, Oct. 16 at TAMIU.

Dr. Jeffrey Cass, TAMIU associate provost and conference director, said the conference will allow leading scholars from around the world to present their most recent work.

He said students will have the opportunity to witness what it means to do professional work in romanticism. More generally, students will experience what a conference is like and will meet major scholars from around the world.

Romanticism is the term used to capture an artistic and intellectual movement originating in the late 18th century which stressed strong emotion, imagination, freedom from classical correctness in art forms, and a rebellion against social conventions.

Dr. Cass said the community is invited to join the 150-plus participants at the Western Hemispheric Trade Center (WHTC) for all or part of the conference. The event is free of charge and open to the public.

"It is not the first time we've hosted a conference, but it is the first time we've had so many important people come to an English conference," said Cass.

According to Cass, of major significance for this conference is its international composition.

"It's one of the only times in English Literature that we've had a major international conference come to Laredo. In other words, this isn't just a local conference and this isn't local people or even regional. This is international...from England, New Zealand, Korea, Australia, Denmark, and Canada... and it's one of the few times where major scholars are coming to Laredo," Cass said.

The conference will include presentations by leading scholars, including keynote speakers Jeffrey Cox, professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of Colorado, Boulder; and Frederick Burwick, professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of California, Los Angeles.

Cox will discuss "Border Raids: Creating Romantic Cultures" Friday, October 15 from 3:15 to 4:30 p.m. in the WHTC, room 116. Burwick will present "Gateway to Heterotopia: The Staging of Elsewhere" Saturday, October 16 from 5 to 6:15 p.m. in the WHTC, room 116.

More than 30 sessions are scheduled on a broad range of topics and authors including Walt Whitman, Mary Shelley, William Wordsworth, Catharine Sedgwick, Felicia Hemans, John Keats, Samuel Coleridge, Lord Byron, and Sir Walter Scott. Other presentations will focus on subjects that traditionally have received less attention at Romanticism conferences such as music and history.

"TAMIU, and particularly its English program, is becoming more known, more mainstream and acceptable as a conference site for major conferences," said Cass.

The conference is not short of TAMIU student and faculty presenters.

In a Saturday, Oct. 16 session entitled "Romanticism, Futurism and Orientalism," Joe Cardenas, TAMIU English major, will discuss "Orientalism vs. Occidentalism: The Ying and Yang of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, Volume I and Kill Bill, Volume 2" in the WHTC, room 103 from 1:45 - 3 p.m.

Also Saturday, in the area of music, Brendan Townsend, assistant professor and Orchestra director, will discuss "Symphonic Music of the Romantic Era" in the WHTC, room 126 from 3:15 - 4:30 p.m.

The ICR is a national organization and presents one of two major conferences in the field of romanticism. According to the organization's mission statement, the ICR "is a learned society that seeks to improve, maintain, and improve teaching, research, and related endeavors in the field of Romanticism studies, and to facilitate communication among scholars and teachers through annual meetings, publications, and other activities, and to do so without favoring particular linguistic, political, or national traditions, or academic disciplines."

Entertainment will include TAMIU's Mariachi Internacional under the direction of Robert Lopez, music instructor; the University's Flamenco Dance Troupe choreographed by Bede Leyendecker, assistant professor of dance; and TAMIU's Music Ensemble headed by Susan Berdahl, assistant professor of music, and Jennifer Clark-Cahill, assistant professor of music.

For more information about the 11th Annual International Conference on Romanticism, please contact Conference director Cass at 326.2601, visit offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 236C or e-mail jcass@tamiu.edu. A complete listing of the event is also available on the Internet at: http://www.tamiu.edu/icr/ConfProgram.pdf.

University office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.


This story by student intern Rudy Zúñiga.


Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu