Hayat Bedaiwi received her BA and MA in English Literature from King Saud University in 2007 and 2012, respectively. She is currently a third year PhD #bsuenglish student who aspires to specialize in Ethnic American Literature with a major focus on Arab American Literature. Here’s more info about our graduate programs.
When I first started my graduate studies at Ball State University, I took great courses that helped me become the scholar I am today. There are two experiences that come to my mind when I think of the courses that I have taken so far in graduate school. I turned papers I had written for two courses into conference papers. One paper was for a 657-postcolonial studies class, where I was blessed with the help and support of a great professor, Dr. Molly Ferguson. In that course, we read different postcolonial texts in the light of trauma theory. I was anxious when the course first started, but as we read and had different discussions every week, I knew what I wanted to write about for the seminar paper in that class. I wrote about Women at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi concerning the ideas of silence and bearing witness to the many traumas that filled the main character’s life.
Practical Criticism Midwest is the annual conference held by and for English department graduate students. In the following post, PCM planning committee member Elisabeth Buck encourages all department graduate students to participate and announces the call for papers as well as a workshop to help graduate students write proposals to conference presentations.
The opportunity to participate in and attend academic conferences is one of the most exciting aspects of graduate student life. Some of the perks of attendance include the prospect of hobnobbing with prominent scholars and totally nerding out with fellow academics in your field. If you’re lucky, you might even get to explore a cool city in the process. That said, presenting at a conference can also be quite intimidating: say, for instance, you’re put on a panel with a fully tenured professor and a faculty emeritus from Harvard. Or, you get a question from an overly “enthusiastic” audience member who decides to bring up an article that you’ve never heard of before, but that supposedly completely contradicts your entire argument. I might (ahem) be speaking from personal experience here in referencing these two anecdotes, but— awkward / daunting circumstances aside—I can honestly say that my participation in conferences thus far has been an invaluable component of my scholarly and professional development.