Conference Theme and a Brief Guide for Participation:

    According to the celebrated literary critic Raymond Williams, “Culture is one of the two or three most complicated words in the English language” (Keywords 87). The term derives from the Latin ‘cultura’, whose meanings include ‘inhabit’, ‘cultivate’, ‘protect’, and ‘honor with worship’. The diversity in its range of meaning makes it germane to many current applications—from hip-hop culture through agriculture to microbial cultures.

    By examining the boundaries between cultures through a variety of disciplinary lenses we hope to bring the resources of Cultural Studies, English, Anthropology, Sociology, Philosophy, and more to bear on the examination of this topic. An approach of this stature strives to holistically interpret the variance in our immediate surrounding, our culture and our nature of being. Understanding the difference between ideas and cultures, which shape us and others around us, empowers and enlightens the individual, and allows them to better appreciate the context of their own life, and the lives of others. 

    Below is a non-exhaustive list of suggested topics; these categories are intended only to give the applicant a general sense of the conference themes — any other fruitful interpretations of the phrase “Culture Shock” are more than welcome and are, in fact, what we look forward to seeing most. 

Abstracts may be submitted using this form. Possible sub-genres/panels may include but are not limited to:

-arts: film, literature, music

-traditions: religion, rituals, customs

-language: slang, dialect

-science: conceptions of knowledge, how it’s acquired, what it should be used for

-fashion: clothing, standards of beauty  

    The final deadline for abstracts is July 16th; submissions will be accepted on a rolling basis up to this date. Individual papers will be formed into panels by the conference organizers, but interested students should feel free to confer with other presenters and to organize panels of their own design before the conference starts. 


What is Culture Shock?

The University at Buffalo English Club is proud to present its second Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Conference—Culture Shock. The goal of the 2015 Conference is to approach culture shock in its many forms. Foreign lands and unfamiliar territory can conjure a visceral reaction in even the most seasoned adventurer, yet culture shock is not just a sensation reserved for the world traveler. The alien takes many forms in our day to day lives, and how we negotiate “otherness” invites responses ranging from the verbal to the visual, from confusion to fascination. Culture shock can be divisive, it can polarize our world, but it seems to be a necessary growing pain in an ever-growing, exponentially intricate, global community. When we allow multiple academic disciplines to collide, perhaps we create a microcosm of this larger, international phenomenon that is culture shock.

– Ed Spangenthal