The UM Department of English and Foreign Languages hosted the 71st iteration of the Association of College English Teachers of Alabama (ACETA) at Humanities Hall on March 1-2.
The conference’s theme was “The Sympathetic Imagination: Literature, Film and Writing of Sympathy and Empathy.” Works submitted for consideration focused broadly on themes such as phenomenology, the intersection of philosophies and literature, transhumanism, performativity, trauma theory, literary sensation and sensationalism, the nonhuman experience in literature and other related topics.
ACETA’s annual conference is designed to bring together faculty and students from around the state of Alabama, as well as from the broader field of English studies throughout the country, to discuss the ideas and works that inspire and embolden them to be the best teachers and learners they can be.
This year, 44 attendees were present, 17 of which were students. Fifteen of the students gave presentations, including first-time presenter Laura DeRocher, a senior at the University of Montevallo.
“I was super intimidated about it, but I learned there’s really nothing to be scared of,” said DeRocher. “I had a really great time and I hope I’ll get to do more conferences in the future!”
According to the organization’s website, in addition to the recognition for achievement through the various awards that ACETA sponsors, the conference also serves as an opportunity for establishing useful partnerships and in-state networking.
“Every year since my freshman year, presenting at the annual ACETA conference has been such a pleasurable learning experience because of the wonderful conversations held among students and faculty members alongside the priceless opportunities to share scholarship with peers dedicated to literary studies,” said UM senior Donovan Cleckley, who has presented at several conferences.
“As I continue presenting at conferences, I keep gaining more experience in communicating my research and establishing scholarly communion with others.”