Everything Is Not Going to Be Okay


Everything Is Not Going to Be Okay: Optimism in the Age of Catastrophe

On April 10th 2015, the Department of Comparative Literature at SUNY-Buffalo is hosting the department’s Fourth Annual Graduate Conference. The title of the conference is “Everything Is Not Going to Be Okay: Optimism in the Age of Catastrophe” and our keynote speaker is Elisabeth Anker, assistant professor of American Studies and Political Science at the George Washington University, and author of Orgies of Feeling: Melodrama and the Politics of Freedom published by Duke in 2014.

We think of catastrophe as a new mode of producing or gaining knowledge. It seems to us that catastrophe might not be accompanied solely by negative effects – and affects – but that it can change the ways in which we conceive binaries: ability/disability, human/nonhuman relations, trauma/non trauma, culture/nature. The question “what comes after hope?” (posed by Jack Halberstam in The Queer Art of Failure) opens up new possibilities in thinking about catastrophe. How can we define the relation between hope and revolution? How can we conceive of the space between overbearing optimism and disabling alarmism? Is there room for radical change at times of catastrophe?

See “Call For Papers” for more information on the conference theme.

Please submit abstracts (300 words) and a short bio before January 27th to

Conference organizers: Gudrun Elsa Bragadottir (, Natalia Pamula ( & Doruk Tatar (

We thank our sponsors, Professor Krzysztof Ziarek, Department Chair; Ewa Ziarek, Julian Park Professor; Rodolphe Gasché, Distinguished Professor, Eugenio Donato Chair; Jorge Gracia, Distinguished Professor, Samuel P. Capen Chair; and the Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis & Culture. Co-sponsors: the Department of Anthropology, the Department of History, the Department of Gender Studies, the Department of American Studies and the Department of Sociology.

Conference image: Down Deep by artist Schuyler Maehl.