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

ISSR is pleased to co-sponsor the Methods Symposium 2019, to be held Saturday, October 19, from 10:00am to 5:00pm at South College. Workshop registration is now closed, but all are invited to join the open Roundtable Discussion, from 3 - 5 pm in South College W245:

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 Jauyna Brown, Pratt Institutey (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 multidisciplinarity
  • 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 collaboratively reflect on the foundations and implications of methodological practices in Queer Studies, Postcolonial Studies, and Black Studies. We hope each participant will 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, open to the public, from 3 - 5 pm at South College W245. Here, our invited scholars will share their perspectives on methods in conversation among themselves and with the audience. There will be time for an interactive session with the audience.

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 attend only one.
  • Send your submission to by September 9, 2019.
  •  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, College of Humanities and Fine Arts, Graduate School, Chancellor’s Office, Provost’s Office, Office of Equity & Inclusion, Interdisciplinary Studies Institute, Institute for Social Science Research, and Departments of Communication, Languages, Literatures & Cultures, Afro-American Studies, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.