Editor’s Note: Emma Slotterback is a student at Bloomsburg University who is writing a series of articles for Blogging Woolf in advance of the 25th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf: Virginia Woolf and Her Female Contemporaries, which will be held June 4-7 at Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, Pa. This is the second article in the series.
By Emma Slotterback
One of our goals threaded within the conference planning was to ensure that we are encouraging future generations of Woolf scholars. With this in mind, we extended our call for papers invitation to not only the Bloomsburg University undergraduates, but also undergraduates across the country. To do this, we emailed a number of universities and asked if their undergraduates would be interested in presenting papers at the conference. We received excellent feedback from faculty and students, and received a number of undergraduate abstracts. Bloomsburg University students were also thrilled to hear about this opportunity and immediately started working on paper proposals.
After accepting a number of undergraduate abstracts, we were able to develop undergraduate panels that are going to run alongside the scholarly panels. Like the scholarly panels, the undergraduate students will be introduced, will read their papers, and then have a free-form discussion afterwards with other undergraduates as well as other conference attendees. The undergraduates were also given the opportunity to chair other undergraduate panels. We believe this to be a very enriching experience, especially for those that have never attended an international, scholarly event such as this.
Each undergraduate panel will be providing a space for developing ideas and for demonstrating the knowledge these students have gained throughout their undergraduate experiences. Some of the Bloomsburg undergraduate students were enrolled in English courses over the last semester that included Virginia Woolf and her female contemporaries within their course schedule. Many students read these modernists and were able to take those class discussions further with this conference.
Eleven different universities will be represented within the undergraduate corner of the conference and this incredible group of undergraduates have been communicating since they received their acceptances. Some have contacted each other about rooming together, while others have held meetings with each other to discuss their papers and practice their public speaking. The conference is able to encourage these students to build relationships among one another as well as branch out and introduce themselves to scholars and graduate students. The intellectual experience these students will gain cannot be paralleled and we hope it will encourage them to continue on with their studies of modernism, feminism, Woolf, and her female contemporaries.