Second Annual

Northwest Undergraduate

Conference on Literature

(as in: Knuckle down and write a paper!)

The University of Portland

Saturday, April 16, 2005




Keynote Speaker: Prof. Felicity Nussbaum, UCLA

"The Private Goes Public: From Boswell to the Blog"



Contemporary Responses, Critical Contexts


Kenneth Burke once described the process of doing literary criticism by comparing the work to attending a cocktail party.  You arrive late, he noted, and find that a conversation is occurring.  After standing on the fringes of the group long enough to apprehend the nature of the conversation, you decide to enter it and offer your opinion.


Our conference theme seeks to employ both elements of Burke’s metaphor: the context in which a critical conversation has taken place and the current discussions about the issue in question.  Only by becoming aware of what has been said can we as critics hope to enter the conversation and have an impact on its direction.   Thus, we invite relatively short, critical/scholarly papers by students that present their own ideas about literature while taking into account recent criticism about the texts they are exploring.


·        NUCL is open to college and university students and honors or advanced-placement high school students.


·        NUCL’s conference sessions will include 3 papers, plus student respondents facilitating discussion.


·        NUCL invites 15-18 minute papers embodying your own, fresh response to a literary text, or texts, set within an understanding of the current “critical conversation” about that text.  Consult our "Call for Papers" for detail.


·        NUCL invites panel proposals: submit to us 3 related papers from your group. 


·        While the primary emphasis of NUCL is on critical/scholarly writing, NUCL also invites student poets and essayists to submit 1 essay, or 5-7 poems.  Those chosen will read their work in a few sessions reserved for original poetry and essays.


·        Submission deadline for student work to be considered for NUCL: February 14, 2005.  NEW DUE DATE!!


·        NUCL keynote speaker, Felicity Nussbaum, is the author or editor of The Limits of the Human: Fictions of Anomaly, Race and Gender in the Long EighteenthCentury(2003); Torrid Zones: Maternity, Sexuality and Empire in Eighteenth-Century English Narratives(1995); The Autobiographical Subject: Gender and Ideology in Eighteenth-Century England (1989); and “The Brink of All We Hate”:English Satires on Women,1660-1750 (1984), and other works. 


·        On behalf of NUCL, The University of Portland is offering cash prizes and a scholarship (for a high school participant) for the best papers and works submitted, including the “Brass NUCL Award” for the hardest-hitting paper.


·        All whose work is chosen for NUCL will receive official record of their participation.


For all the details, take a look at our Call for Papers!


Comments from participants in NUCL 2004:


"I think just presenting my paper was a great experience for me. I wasn't sure what to expect, especially when it  opened up for questions, but I think we had great conversations. Being part of a panel took some of the pressure off,  and encouraged me to engage in critical conversation outside one of my classes at Willamette."--a student fromWillamette University


"The highlight of the NUCL experience was the discussion generated by the poems and papers after they were read. People had very insightful,

and interesting things to say. It was lovely to have a conversation about literature outside of the classroom." --a student from Reed College


"The main thing that I learned from the conference was how to write a more cohesive and clear argument.  I enjoyed listening to the

upperclassmen speak and be able to follow their argument well.  I thought that the conference had a wealth of information from which I could

learn."--a student from Lewis & Clark College


"I would definitely recommend it to others.  It is a good experience for undergraduates to have."--a student from Western Oregon University


NEW!! April 6, 2005: The Program for NUCL 2005

For NUCL Student Registration Forms, click here!

For NUCL Faculty Registration Forms, click here!

For NUCL Preview Pages (what to expect at NUCL), click here.

For information about last year's NUCL (2004), including photographs, click here.




Come back to this website frequently for up-to-date information about NUCL, the conference speaker,

deadlines, and registration.  Or contact:  or (503) 943-7244



NUCL is sponsored by the Department of English & Foreign Languages; the Provost's Office,

the College of Arts & Sciences; and the Dean of Admissions, all of the University of Portland  


"To talk in publick, to think in solitude, to read and to hear, to inquire, and to answer inquiries, is the business of a scholar." —Samuel Johnson, Chapter VIII, The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia


Updated 1/24/2005