Methods Symposium 2019 | New Approaches in Queer, Postcolonial, and Black Studies

Participants in a seminar at the UMass Methods Symposium 2016
Saturday, October 19, 2019 - 10:00am to 5:00pm
South College | UMass Amherst

Workshop application deadline extended to MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16. See application information below.

ISSR is pleased to co-sponsor the UMass Methods Symposium 2019, a day-long, student-led examination of methodological frontiers of critical social science. 

What Is the Methods Symposium?
At the Methods Symposium organized by graduate students in the English department, we hold workshops and a roundtable where we discuss questions about methodology in Queer Studies, Postcolonial Studies, and Black Studies. This year, we are organizing the Methods Symposium for the second time. Professors Pheng Cheah, University of California Berkeley (Postcolonial Studies), Kathryn Bond Stockton, University of Utah (Queer Studies), and Jayna Brown, Pratt Institute (Black Studies) will be joining us as workshop leaders and roundtable participants. The turn towards interdisciplinarity in these fields suggests that we need to be consistently reflective about how we conduct research, evaluate texts, and construct interpretive frameworks about our subjects. For the purposes of this symposium, we conceptualize “method” broadly to include:
  • question formation
  • modes of analysis and argument
  • choice of archive
  • canon formation and recovery work
  • citational practices
  • positionality
  • inter- and multi-disciplinarity
  • modes of data collection (such as quantitative/qualitative analysis, discourse analysis, archival work)
  • modes of writing (such as autobiography, ethnography, autoethnography)
What Does the Methods Symposium Look Like?
We divide the Symposium into two parts. First, we have three concurrent workshops, which will be held in two 90-minutes sessions. Only accepted participants can attend these workshops. Guided by our invited scholars, we will, in these workshops, collaboratively reflect on the foundations and implications of methodological practices in Queer Studies, Postcolonial Studies, and Black Studies. We hope each participant would walk away from the event with a richer understanding of “method” and, more importantly, with insights into how method and/or methodologies might inform their own projects.
Second, we have a roundtable discussion, which is open to the public. At this roundtable, our invited scholars will share their perspectives on methods in a conversation with one another and with the audience. There will be time for an interactive session with the audience at this roundtable, which will be held at South College W245.
There is no cost to participate in the workshops or to attend the roundtable. Lunch, coffee, and a reception are included for workshop participants.
Who Can Apply?
For the workshops, we invite proposals from graduate students whose work engages questions about methods in Queer, Postcolonial, and/or Black studies. We welcome graduate students from across the Humanities and Social Sciences who conduct research on human subjects, communities, texts, or archival materials, and who use quantitative, qualitative, or discourse-based methods.
How Do I Apply?
  • Submit a 750-word write-up, describing your current research and addressing your engagement with methods.. Include a list of 3-5 citations (articles or books) from your area of research that have influenced your method/ology.
  • Make sure that you note on your proposal which workshop group you’d like to attend: Queer Studies, Postcolonial Studies, or Black Studies. You may only attend one.
  • Send your submission to by September 16, 2019.
  • Please visit our blog for more details. If you have any questions or comments, contact us at

The organizing committee of this symposium, led by Subhalakshmi Gooptu, Saumya Lal, Korka Sall, and Nirmala Iswari Vasigaren, is grateful for the generous support offered by a number of sponsors at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst: the Department of English, the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, the Graduate School, the Chancellor’s Office, the Provost’s Office, the Office of Equity & Inclusion, the Interdisciplinary Studies Institute, the Institute for Social Sciences Research, and the departments of Communication, Languages, Literatures & Cultures, Afro-American Studies, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.