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Decadence: An Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference

Posted by Graham Jensen on February 11, 2015 in News
Daniel Crawford. Photo by Danen Poley.
Daniel Crawford. Photo by Danen Poley.

From August 15-17th, the Dalhousie Association of Graduate Students in English (DAGSE) hosted its annual interdisciplinary graduate student conference.  This year’s theme was decadence, and over the course of the three-day conference, participants representing ten unique programs of study from over fifteen different universities throughout North America examined the symptoms and effects of decadence as a literary, artistic, historical, and socio-cultural phenomenon.

Friday’s festivities included an art exhibit—organized by Danen Poley—featuring paintings, drawings, and sculptures by Daniel Crawford and other local artists.  Following Dr. David Howard’s (Nova Scotia College of Art & Design) keynote presentation, entitled “Gnawing on Skulls: Allegorical Poetics and Decadence in the Twenty-First Century,” conference attendees continued to enjoy the exhibit during a reception catered by Dalhousie’s Grad House Social Club.

On Saturday, a keynote by Dr. Julia M. Wright (Dalhousie University) served as the exclamation point to a full day of lively concurrent panels.  Her inspiriting talk, “‘Mene, Mene’: The Humanities in a Time of War,” was followed by the conference supper downtown.  Afterwards, the day of decadence was brought to an appropriate close with the DecaDANCE, a late-night party-boat cruise in the Halifax harbour (special thanks to Gillian Massel and Geordie Miller).  The next morning, another spate of engaging panels on topics ranging from Arthurian lore to Vico, and from Beowulf to Djuna Barnes, marked the end of another dynamic, invigorating conference.

DAGSE would like to extend heartfelt thanks to Mary Beth MacIsaac and Adria Young for their extensive advice and administrative insight, to Dr. Carrie Dawson and the Graduate Committee, as well as to Trevor Ross, David McNeil, and the Department of English.  DAGSE also gratefully acknowledges the support and assistance of the following sponsors, without which this event would not have been possible: Dalhousie President’s Office, Faculty of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, the Department of English, and the Departments of History, Classics, Philosophy, German, and Psychology.  Finally, we extend our warmest thanks to our keynote speakers, Dr. Julia M. Wright and Dr. David Howard.