Skip to content

2017 Meeting Reno

University of Nevada Reno
October 26-29 2017


The BABEL Working Group is a collective of scholars, artists, and activists who actively try to un-think the traditional structures of academic exchange in order to create spaces for emergent, interdisciplinary, and collaborative conversations.

Our upcoming biennial conference takes up the challenge of doing creative and academic work under conditions of increasing precarity, and we are doing so while also challenging the traditional conference format with an un-conference. The conference therefore aims to facilitate engaged collaboration through a series of hands-on, skill-based practica in the morning, long lunches and coffee breaks for cross-pollination, afternoon sessions addressing one theme of the conference each day, and un-plenary sessions that are oriented around the invitation to action in each of the conference themes.

Tentative Schedule

All rooms are smart classrooms and will have A/V. A detailed description of the projected schedule is as follows:

Thursday, October 26
Conference Registration is open 2:00 pm- 8:00 pm
Donut social 6:00 pm- 8:00 pm

TAHOE/TRUCKEE EXCURSION option 1 2:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Friday, October 27: MAKE
Conference Registration & Refreshments 8:00 am – 9:30 am

MAKE Practica: Maker Sessions 9:30 am – 11:30 am

Learn about maps and mapping tools in UNR’s Engineering Library/Maker Space. Participants will be taught how to use ArcGIS, a cloud-based mapping platform. UNR’s map librarian, will also discuss the university’s collection, projects, and plans for engaging students. ( ).
Location: De La Mare Library, Historic Quad, UNR

Learn to use a 3D Scanner, 3D Printer, and Laser Cutter in the UNR Campus Maker Space ( ). Hear from faculty how, when, and why they create models and prototypes.
Location: De La Mare Library, Historic Quad, UNR

UNR’s Innevation Center builds connections with the community through collaborative projects ( See what tools and support are offered users; hear about the Center’s role in formulating start-up businesses and help with tech infrastructure; talk with Center faculty.
Location: Innevation Center, 450 Sinclair St., Downtown Reno (accessible to Hotels)

Try your hand at printing at UNR’s Black Rock Press, a working museum of traditional print technology ( ). Learn about the Press’s publications, outreach activities, and pedagogical use in arts curricula.
Location: Art Department, 1664 N. Virginia Street, Jot Travis Building

LUNCH 11:30 am – 1:30 pm

MAKE Paper Sessions – 75 minutes 1:30 pm – 2:45 pm

Session 1 Immigrants[,] Make Medieval Studies
Organizer: Jonathan Hsy
Lisa Cooper “Fatherlands”
Dorothy Kim “Settler Colonialism”
Rod McDonald “Autobiography as Praxis”
Drew Narayanan ““Illegal Alien”: Understanding the Immigrant Experience and Backlash through Superman”
Fanny Garcia and Sara Torres “These Walls: Border Walls, Architectural Allegories, and Histories of Enclosure/Detainment”

Session 2: Imagining Trans History and Transhistoricism: Creation and/as/or Critique
Organizers: Gabrielle M. W. Bychowski and Bruce Holsinger
Ced Block “Reclaiming Silence: A trans experience in Le Roman de Silence.”
Kadin Henningsen “Danny the Street and Rhizomatic Trans Temporality in Doom Patrol”
Gabrielle M.W. Bychowski and Bruce Holsinger “Trans History: A Critical Dialogue”

Session 3: Make + Risk = Craftivism: A Roundtable and Yarnbomb Project
Organizers: Marian Bleeke and Maggie Williams
Marian Bleeke, Leesa Rittelmann, Mary Callahan Baumstark

Session 4: Here I Am, Stuck in the Middle with You
Organizers: Ben Utter and Alex Mueller
Roundtable: Lesley Curtis, Daniel Kline, Alex Mueller, Ben Utter, Cord Whitaker, Miranda Wilcox, Mariam Williams

COFFEE Break 2:45 pm – 3:15 pm

MAKE Un-Plenary & Reception 3:30 pm -5:30 pm
Reconvene for a collaborative un-plenary that crowdsources the impact of making and creation on various aspects of academic labor: research, writing, pedagogy, service to and within institutions, and public outreach.
MC: Angela Bennett (University of Nevada Reno)

DINNER radical conviviality organized dinner groups 6:00 pm – 7:45 pm

CONFERENCE SOCIAL The Heritage 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Saturday, October 28: RISK
Conference Registration & Refreshments 8:00 am – 9:30 am

RISK Practica 9:30 am – 11:30 am

Speakers: Felicia Perez (activist) and/or associate
Learn how to make community or political activism more effective by basing arguments and rhetorical structures in a specific, proven, story-based way by learning to create gifs, memes, and viral videos for movements.

Speakers: Center for Solutions for Online Violence, Dorothy Kim
Learn how to lock down your online identity and what you need to consider if you are harassed, doxxed, or attacked online. We will go over defensive protocols as well as resources if one requires relocation, etc.

Speakers: Patricia, President Reno-Sparks NAACP; Chief of Police
This session will address organizing community outreach panels between police and CRT scholars to talk about race and policing.

Speakers: Josh Shiode AAAS (science policy), Kent Ervin, Legislative Liaison for NFA
Learn the basics about lobbying your local, state, and national representatives.

Speakers: TBA, ASUN resp, UC Student Government/Activist Reps
Learn from students where they need the most support and which student bodies are at most risk on college campuses.

LUNCH 11:30 am – 1:30 pm

RISK Paper Sessions – 75 minutes 1:30 pm – 2:45 pm

Session 5: God Does Not Will It: Medieval Memes and Radicalization
Organizer: Roland Betancourt
Luke Fidler “Squad Goyles Anti-Capitalist Instagram and Medieval Kitsch”
Maggie Williams “Irish Crosses in Black & White”
Jonathan Hsy “Deus Vult, Banzai! Global Medievalism and Honorary Whiteness”
Roland Betancourt “Istanbul Will Be Constantinople: Byzantium between Radicalized Orthodoxy and Islamophobia”

Session 6: Dicey: Six Episodes in the History of Risk
Organizers: Suzanne Conklin Akbari and Karla Mallette
Chair / Croupier, Suzanne Akbari (U of Toronto)

Karla Mallette (U of Michigan, Ann Arbor), “A man walks into a casino: Narrativizing Risk”
Brian Upton (Freelance Game Designer), “The Veil of the Future: Chance and Play”
Cary Howie (Cornell U), “Resurrection, Reading, and Risk”

Session 7: The Hand You’re Dealt: A presentation of exhibits and roundtable on creative process
Helen Burgess and Lara Farina
Christine Hoffmann, Lisa Weston, Afrodesia McCannon, Jonathan Basile, Myra Seaman

COFFEE Break 2:45 pm – 3:15 pm

Race and RISK Round Table Plenary 3:30 pm -5:30 pm
Dorothy Kim (Vassar College)
Jonathan Hsy (George Washington University)
Daniel Enrique Perez (University of Nevada Reno)

DINNER radical conviviality organized dinner groups 6:00 pm – 7:45 pm

CONFERENCE SOCIAL House Party 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Sunday, October 29: WORK
Conference Registration & Refreshments 8:00 am – 9:30 am

WORK Practica 9:30 am – 11:00 am

Matthew Rossi (Michigan State University)
This practicum will think about how the work of an academic or creative writer gets done by introducing participants to design thinking and incorporating visual, tactile, and motile thinking into the writing process. This workshop will ask participants to engage with material and craft-oriented processes to make both their writing process and their thinking about their objects of study/interest more materially grounded and accountable to the phenomenology of the encounter.

Maggie Williams (William Patterson University) and Eden Shulz (UAW)

The focus of the practicum will be on the nitty-gritty work of organizing for any sort of political action, rally, or statement. A hands-on, practical event identifying strategic objectives and choosing actions that work towards achieving those goals, we will talk about how to develop an effective message and communicate with the press, as well as with adversarial groups or “management”/administration. We will consider issues of visibility and inclusivity in terms of how to present a campaign or action to its activists as well as to a broader audience. We will discuss the best methods of organizing, particularly in an academic context. In addition, we will break out into pairs and/or groups to do role-playing exercises and develop practical, on-the-ground organizing skills.

GSOC-UAW (NYU, Barnhard) Patrick Gallagher
Toronto CUPE (Ryan Culpepper)
Emory Graduate Student Union (Jonathan Basile)
These three speakers have been instrumental in helping graduate student unions form and get recognized. Patrick helped GSOC-UAW recognized by the NYU administration and to engage in collective bargaining after eight years of union-busting policies from the university. Ryan Culpepper helped lead and organize the CUPE strike at the University of Toronto, insisting on better support and fair compensation for graduate employees. Jonathan Basile has been helping Emory students form a union from the ground up and has worked with X-Campus Rank and File to coordinate collective actions across multiple unionizing campuses.

TT: reps from AAUP, Nevada Faculty Alliance UNR;
Union representatives and unionized faculty will discuss the process of forming a union, how to get collective bargaining recognized by an institution, and some of the gains that recently unionized faculty have made at other institutions. We will use UNR as a sample, and the furlough of merit pay, faculty senate action, and salary compression/benefits negotiation.

WORK Paper Sessions 11:15 am – 12:45

Session 8: Translyricism and Translation: Making/Medieval/Modern
Organizers: Bruce Holsinger and Marisa Galvez
Patrick Kozey “Craft Translated: The Early Troubadours and Iberia”
Mae Lyons-Penner “The Overheard and Underheard: Women’s Voices in the Works of Villon and Neidhart”
Marisa Galvez “Unthought Medievalisms: Making Literary History Lyrical”

Session 9: Bloody Good: Care, Community Construction, and Staying Alive
Organizers: Kristin Noone and Katelynn Carver
Katelynn Carver “Refugee Poetics (title subject to change)”
Susan Noone “Giving Blood, Acts of Donation, and Community Outreach (title subject to change)”
Sally Livingston “The Physical “Work” of Reading (title subject to change)”
Kristin Noone “Writing Romance/Romancing Writing (title subject to change)”

Session 10: Strange Work: The Risks of Professionalizing the Occult
Sponsored by MEARCSTAPA
Organizers: Asa Mittman and Thea Tomaini
Zachary Matus “The Alchemist at Play: Ambiguity, Subjunctivity, and the Secrets of the Cosmos in the Later Middle Ages”
Adam Siegel “The Bibliographic Occult: The Research Library as Grimoire”
Emma Olivia Chandler “‘Oh, Wonder! Votives for the Anthropocene’- An Atomic Advisory Committee for the Age of Genetically Modified Organisms”

Catered LUNCH distribution, for plenary discussion 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm

WORK Action Plan Un-Plenary 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
A collective session with breakout groups that discusses HOW we get work done, nuts and bolts, actual work, not ideal work. Inspired by the Punctum publication “How We Write” and the liberatory candor in those essays that normalized the writing practices of a diverse array of successful real life writers, this un-plenary will discuss various aspects of HOW WE WORK before helping individual participants create their own action plans.

Conference Closing Churro Social 3:00 pm – 3:30 pm

TAHOE EXCURSION option 2 3:30-7:00 pm

Conference Policies

This section displays the Social Media Guidelines, Code of Conduct, and Contact Information that were available during the conference. If you are interested in discussing the use of such guidelines at academic conferences, or in borrowing these guidelines for your own event, please feel free to contact the event organizers: Dorothy Kim ( or Angela Bennett (

Social Media at BABEL 17*
*Our thanks to Kimm Curran (@kimmcurran) who shared with us the University of Glasgow’s European Association of Archaeologists’ Conference guide for use of social media, which she authored and created. She kindly allowed us to use her guide for BABEL 17.

Conference delegates may use social media to engage in conversations related to conference presentations, keynotes, and other activities taking place. The main social media outlets are: Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram. The hashtag for the conference is: #BABEL17. This hashtag can be used on Instagram and Twitter to aggregate conversations.

Instagram is a photo sharing service that many academic organizations, archives, and academics use. Members of the public also appreciate visual representations of humanities work, and this is a popular outreach tool. Photos of conference events are being taken to share with our delegates and to increase our visibility in academic, funding-agency, and public sectors. If you post pictures to Instagram, please tag them with the #BABEL17 hashtag.

Conference information may be shared on Facebook pages before and after the event. This sharing may include reports on conference activities and other outreach or information.

Tumblr is a blogging platform that allows readers to follow and comment on posts.

For live updates of conference proceedings, Twitter is a good venue; information can be communicated and received in “real time” in 140-character snippets, and live tweeting is popular at conferences across many disciplines. It is fast, public, and a good way to share ideas and garner further interest. Colleagues not able to attend the conference or who are globally dispersed can also follow the conference in this way. Find out more by taking a look at “Getting Started with Twitter”: If you think what you are tweeting might be generally interesting to medievalists, you can also use the hashtag #medievaltwitter. For a medievalist’s spin, check out Dorothy Kim’s blogpost on #medievaltwitter here:

Twitter at Sessions and Keynotes
Chairs and moderators of sessions should be aware of, and make clear in introductions, which speakers have given permission for live tweeting and/or photo sharing (i.e., we will use an “opt-in/opt-out” option). If you do not have permission information, inquire with speakers before the start of the session. Each session has a hashtags based on the conference and the session number, e.g. #BABEL17 #s10 or #BABEL17 #keynote1. Chairs and moderators are asked to remind the audience of designated hashtags. If chairs or moderators do not know the Twitter handle of a speaker (e.g., @dorothyk98), they should ask before the session, to facilitate live tweeting where permitted.

Presenters may want to remind chairs and moderators of their choices, and they may want to share or reiterate their Twitter handle at the start of a talk, so that other participants or audience members can provide linked attribution to permitted quotations and photos. A Twitter handle might also, for instance, be placed on PowerPoint slides.

Twitter Guidelines for Conference Delegates and Attendees
For many, Twitter serves as an event diary—a means of taking notes on key points, networking, and enhancing the experience of the event as a whole. This extends beyond those attending and opens up engagement from anyone following the conference or its delegates on Twitter. The platform has allowed publishers, funders, community groups, and other conference organizers to pick up on shared ideas and contact presenters about their work. While both those at an event and anyone interacting virtually are thus encouraged to share, question, and comment respectfully on information, all should be mindful that Twitter is a public forum. In the event that a speaker has asked not to be tweeted, this should be respected. If you come into a session late and/or are uncertain about a speaker’s preference, you should not tweet about them or their work.

Twitter Etiquette

  • When quoting a speaker, include the speaker’s name (use their Twitter handle if available) and use quotation marks;
  • Always take care to separate your own comments about a topic or paper from those made by the speaker;
  • Engage with tweets from others by replying to them and including the event hashtag #BABEL17;
  • Summarize or report points concisely, and consider including a photo of a relevant slide;
  • Always obtain permission to take photos of speakers and/or their presentation slides;
  • Add to the conversation by sharing useful links to relevant websites, articles, or books;
  • Avoid sarcasm, rudeness, and bad-mouthing of any sort;
  • Be mindful that by including the conference hashtag in your tweets you are contributing to a professional but public forum that others will be following;
  • Use Twitter to express appreciation and signal-boost;
  • Add the designated event hashtag to each tweet if you want it to be seen!

Reporting Misconduct
If you are being harassedTwitter and Event Networking
While at the conference, you can use Twitter and the conference hashtag to build your professional network. Reach out to other attendees to meet for dinner, take an early morning run, or arrange informal discussions on a topic of interest. Create your own list of event speakers and attendees with whom you share an interest. We are adding Twitter handles to name badges. If we did not get yours before the event, please feel free to add it to your name badge so that other delegates can follow you!

New to Twitter?
Prepare before an event or session: follow the hashtag to see how others tweet, take time to practice so you become familiar with how to post a tweet, retweet someone else’s tweet, favorite a tweet, add a photo, or send a private “direct message” (DM).

BABEL 17 Code of Conduct*
BABEL’s aim is to provide an open, safe, and constructive conference space in which open discussion, multiple viewpoints, and productive intellectual exchange can flourish. We do not condone harassment against any participant for any reason. Harassment is deliberate intimidation and targeting of individuals in a manner that makes them feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or afraid. Participants asked to stop any unwelcome behavior are expected to comply. Event organizers retain the right to take action to keep BABEL a welcoming environment for all participants, and particularly in response to behavior designed to, or with the clear impact of, disrupting the event or making the environment hostile for other participants.

Harassment includes but is not limited to:

  • Verbal comments that reinforce damaging social structures of domination (e.g., related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, or religion);
  • Inappropriate use of sexual images in public spaces;
  • Deliberate intimidation, stalking, or following;
  • Unwanted photography or recording;
  • Sustained disruption of talks or other events;
  • Inappropriate physical contact;
  • Unwelcome sexual attention;
  • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior.

We expect participants to avoid harassing behavior at all event venues and event-related social activities. We think people should follow this code of conduct outside event activities too! We want this to be a productive, constructive, safe, and invigorating environment for all of our participants and delegates. We ask that everyone join in helping us make it so.

If you notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, you can contact Dorothy Kim ( or Angie Bennett ( via email or Twitter DM (@dorothyk98 or @MedievalAngie), by anonymous report, or in person (face-to-face at the conference). We will ensure you are safe and not overheard. We will handle your report respectfully. We will not ask you to confront anyone. We will be happy to provide escorts, help you contact campus security, local law enforcement or support services, or otherwise assist you.

You can make an anonymous report here: This reporting site does not require you to leave your name or email address. We cannot follow up an anonymous report with you directly, but we will monitor the reporting site regularly and investigate any reported misconduct with the aim of preventing recurrence.

Emergency Information and Contacts
Crisis Call Center (Sexual Assault Support): 775-784-8085
Reno PD: 775-334-2121
Local Emergency: 911
Crisis Call Center (Suicide): 1-800-273-8255
Saint Mary’s Emergency Department Medical Clinic (235 W 6th St): 775-770-3000
Reno Sparks Cab Co: 775-333-3333

*Our thanks to Making Early Middle English for permission to use their Social Media (originally borrowed from Kimm Curran) and Code of Conduct. Thanks to Femtechnet, Geek feminist wiki, DEFCON, the Ada Initiative, and the Center for Solutions for Online Violence for resources, templates, and language incorporated into this Code of Conduct. Check out the following links for more information on these organizations’ and conferences’ policies:

%d bloggers like this: