Sixth Annual International David Foster Wallace Conference
Illinois State University
June 27-29, 2019

Panel Schedule

Schedule at a Glance:

Presenter Panel Assignments — Page 1

Panels at a Glance — Page 3

Panel Details with Abstracts and Bios:

Thursday Afternoon, 6/27 — Page 8

Friday Morning, 6/28 — Page 12

Friday Afternoon, 6/28 — Page 14

Saturday Morning, 6/29 — Page 23


List of Presenter Panel Times

First

Last

Panel

Date

Time

Room

Video

Matthew

Alexander

E1 — Moderator

Friday, 6/28

3:00 PM

128

Livestream

F1 — Presenter

Friday, 6/28

4:00 PM

128

Livestream

Genevieve

Bettendorf

E1 — Presenter

Friday, 6/28

3:00 PM

128

Livestream

G2 — Moderator

Friday, 6/28

5:00 PM

131

No Video

Jane

Carman

A — Presenter

Thursday, 6/27

1:00 PM

128

No Video

B — Presenter

Thursday, 6/27

2:00 PM

128

No Video

Grace

Chipperfield

Diversity

Friday, 6/28

1:00 PM

401

Livestream

B — Moderator

Thursday, 6/27

2:00 PM

128

No Video

Vernon

Cisney

D — Presenter

Friday, 6/28

9:00 AM

128

Livestream

H — Moderator

Saturday, 6/29

9:00 AM

131

No Video

Allard

den Dulk

Keynote

Friday, 6/28

10:30 AM

401

Livestream

Nan

Denette

H — Presenter

Saturday, 6/29

9:00 AM

131

No Video

I2 — Moderator

Saturday, 6/29

10:00 AM

131

No Video

Amy L.

Eggert

A — Presenter

Thursday, 6/27

1:00 PM

128

No Video

B — Presenter

Thursday, 6/27

2:00 PM

128

No Video

Emilio

Englade

F2 — Moderator

Friday, 6/28

4:00 PM

131

No Video

J — Presenter

Saturday, 6/29

11:30 AM

128

Livestream

Henrique Reis

Fatel

C — Presenter

Thursday, 6/27

3:30 PM

128

Skype

John

Holliday

F2 — Presenter

Friday, 6/28

4:00 PM

131

No Video

A — Moderator

Thursday, 6/27

1:00 PM

128

No Video

Reilly

Howe

G1 — Presenter

Friday, 6/28

5:00 PM

128

Possible Live

J — Moderator

Saturday, 6/29

11:30 AM

128

Livestream

Cory

Hudson

C — Presenter

Thursday, 6/27

3:30 PM

128

Skype

Ryan

Kerr

D — Presenter

Friday, 6/28

9:00 AM

128

Livestream

Andrew

Langford

D — Presenter

Friday, 6/28

9:00 AM

128

Livestream

Andrea

Laurencell Sheridan

Diversity

Friday, 6/28

1:00 PM

401

Live + Skype

Daniel

Leonard

I2 — Presenter

Saturday, 6/29

10:00 AM

131

No Video

F1 — Moderator

Friday, 6/28

4:00 PM

128

Livestream

List of Presenter Panel Times (cont.)

First

Last

Panel

Date

Time

Room

Video

Marco

Meneghelli

I2 — Presenter

Saturday, 6/29

11:00 AM

131

Skype

Andrew

Niemann

E2 — Presenter

Friday, 6/28

3:00 PM

131

No Video

JoAnna

Novak

B — Presenter

Thursday, 6/27

2:00 PM

128

No Video

C — Moderator

Thursday, 6/27

3:30 PM

128

No Video

Michael

O'Connell

I1 — Presenter

Saturday, 6/29

10:00 AM

128

Possible Live

Michele

Ragno

H — Presenter

Saturday, 6/29

9:00 AM

131

Skype

José Manuel

Romero- Santos

G2 — Presenter

Friday, 6/28

5:00 PM

131

Skype

Julien

Tempone

F2 — Presenter

Friday, 6/28

4:00 PM

131

Skype

Z. Bart

Thornton

E2 — Presenter

Friday, 6/28

3:00 PM

131

No Video

G1 — Moderator

Friday, 6/28

5:00 PM

128

Possible Live

Andrew

Varnon

I1 — Presenter

Saturday, 6/29

10:00 AM

128

Possible Live

D — Moderator

Friday, 6/28

9:00 AM

128

Livestream

Elena

Violaris

E2 — Moderator

Friday, 6/28

3:00 PM

131

No Video

G1 — Presenter

Friday, 6/28

5:00 PM

128

Possible Live

Christopher

White

G2 — Presenter

Friday, 6/28

5:00 PM

131

No Video

I1 — Moderator

Saturday, 6/29

10:00 AM

128

Possible Live

Tom

Winchester

Diversity

Friday, 6/28

1:00 PM

401

Livestream

E1 — Presenter

Friday, 6/28

3:00 PM

128

Livestream

Matthew

Yard

J — Presenter

Saturday, 6/29

11:30 AM

128

Livestream

Ben

Zimmerman

F1 — Presenter

Friday, 6/28

4:00 PM

128

Livestream


Schedule at a Glance

Thursday

Registration Opens (Room 133) — 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

A — Gen-Ed Pedagogy with Creative Writing

Thursday (Room 128), 1:00 PM to 1:50 PM

Amy L. Eggert and Jane Carman — Embracing Confusion and Creativity in the Gen-Ed English Classroom

Moderator: John Holliday

B — Creative Writing and Social Stigma

Thursday (Room 128) — 2:00 PM to 3:15 PM

Amy L. Eggert and Jane Carman — From Stone to Sleep: Original Creative Work 

JoAnna Novak — Two Pleasurable Moments: a short story by JoAnna Novak

Moderator: Daniel Leonard Grace Chipperfield

C — Narrative Voices in Salinger and Lethem

Thursday (Room 128) — 3:30 PM to 4:20 PM

Henrique Reis Fatel (Skype) — Holden’s Thresholds: An hermeneutical analysis on the implied author of J.D Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye 

Cory Hudson (Skype) — Narrateur de Fantôme: The Ghostwritten “I” in Jonathan Lethem’s Chronic City

Moderator: JoAnna Novak

Thursday Dinner (Room 401) — 5:00 PM to 5:50 PM

Welcoming Remarks by Ryan Edel — Conference Chair

“The Broom of the Conference” — Beyond DFW19 (Livestream)

Thursday (Room 401) — 6:00 PM to 6:50 PM

Ryan Edel, Allard den Dulk, Vernon Cisney, and Jane Carman

Looking ahead to the next five years of conferences.

Cheesecake Buffett (Room 401) — 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM (or later)

Friday

Bagels and Coffee — 8:30 AM to 9:00 AM

D — Ethics, Freedom, Infinite Jest (Livestream)

Friday (Room 128 — Livestream) — 9:00 AM to 10:15 AM

Vernon Cisney — The Ethics of the Nothing in Wallace’s Infinite Jest

Ryan Kerr — Competition, Responsibility, and the Problem of Political Freedom in Infinite Jest

Andrew Langford — Fascism as a Sort of Present: the Self-Help of Jordan Peterson

Moderator: Andrew Varnon

Keynote — Allard den Dulk (Livestream)

Sick and Wicked: A Comparative Reading of Wallace’s “The Depressed Person”, “B.I. #20and Dostoevsky’s “Notes from Underground”

Friday (Room 401) — 10:30 AM to 11:45 AM

 

Friday Lunch (Room 401) — 12:00 PM to 12:50 PM

Welcome to ISU

Diane Zosky — Interim Dean, Illinois State University College of Arts and Sciences

Friday (Room 401) — 12:30 PM

Diversity Panel (Livestream)

Friday (Room 401 — Livestream) — 1:00 PM to 1:50 PM

Andrea Laurencell-Sheridan (Skype), Tom Winchester, Grace Chipperfield — Queering David Foster Wallace Studies: A Diversity Roundtable

“Infinite Conference” — Beyond DFW19 (Livestream)

Friday (Rooms 128, 131, 133) — 2:00 PM to 2:50 PM

Jane Carman, Ryan Edel, Allard den Dulk, Vernon Cisney

Grab Some Coffee! We’ll be splitting into groups to discuss how each of us can expand our outreach as a DFW Studies Community.

If needed, this is also a good time to take a break before the afternoon panels.

E1 — DFW and Society: Ethics and Representation (Livestream)

Friday (Room 128) — 3:00 PM to 3:50 PM

Genevieve Bettendorf — The “Wallace Phase”

Tom Winchester — The Cult of the Endless Kiss: Heteronormativity in Infinite Jest

Moderator: Matthew Alexander

E2 — Infinite Jest: Residing in Transformation

Friday (Room 131) — 3:00 PM to 3:50 PM

Andrew Niemann (Skype) — “That shape am I”: Self-Transformation and DFW’s Application of William James’s Ethics in Infinite Jest and The Pale King

Z. Bart Thornton — Bad Spaces: DFW and Deconstructivist Architecture

Moderator: Elena Violaris

F1 — DFW’s Short Fiction: Rights and Logic (Livestream)

Friday (Room 128) — 4:00 PM to 4:50 PM

Matthew Alexander — Verbalising Violence: A #MeToo and Animal Rights Reading of David Foster Wallace

Ben Zimmerman — “Logical validity is not a guarantee of truth”: Quantificational Logic in “Good Old Neon”

Moderator: Grace Chipperfield Daniel Leonard

F2 — Life, Creativity, and Literary Process

Friday (Room 131) — 4:00 PM to 4:50 PM

John Holliday — I Am a Five Draft Man

Julien Tempone (Skype) — Murmurations — auto-theory & daily schlepping

Moderator: Emilio Englade

G1 — French and Postmodern Games in IJ (Possible Livestream)

Friday (Room 128) — 5:00 PM to 5:50 PM

Reilly Howe — Quelques erreurs hasardées: Reading French in Infinite Jest

Elena Violaris — The Postmodern Play within a Play: Games of Reality in Infinite Jest

Moderator: Z. Bart Thornton

G2 — Development of Form in DFW’s Writing

Friday (Room 131) — 5:00 PM to 5:50 PM

José Manuel Romero-Santos (Skype) — The influence of Manuel Puig’s “El beso de la mujer arañain David Foster Wallace’s marginal notes

Christopher White — Narrative Cognition and “Mister Squishy”

Moderator: Genevieve Bettendorf

Friday Dinner and Dessert Buffet (Room 401) — 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

“Consider the Conference” (Livestream)

Ryan Edel — A Reflection on Lobsters, the Academy, and DFW16–DFW19

Friday (Room 401) — 6:30 PM

Saturday

Bagels and Coffee (Room 131) — 8:30 AM to 9:00 AM

H — Wallace, Wittgenstein, and Religion

Saturday (Room 131) — 9:00 AM to 9:50 AM

Nan Denette — Everybody Worships: Religious and Para-Religious Experience in Infinite Jest 

Michele Ragno (Skype) — Wittgenstein and Wallace: Religion as a “Form of Life”

Moderator: Vernon Cisney

I1 — Writing the Personal: Tennis, John Green, DFW (Possible Livestream)

Saturday (Room 128) — 10:00 AM to 10:50 AM

Andrew Varnon — The Other Side of the Net

Michael O'Connell — Spirals All the Way Down: Mental Illness in the work of David Foster Wallace and John Green

Moderator: Christopher White

I2 — Empathy and Emotion in DFW’s Writing

Saturday (Room 131) — 10:00 AM to 10:50 AM

Daniel Leonard — Infantile Jest: Big, Beastly Babies and Emotional Needs

Marco Meneghelli (Skype) — DFW and his readers: Empathy in DFW’s ouvre, considering his literary and nonfiction writings

Moderator: Nan Denette

J — Reading IJ: Structure and Symbolism (Livestream)

Saturday (Room 128) — 11:00 AM to 11:50 PM

Emilio Englade — Inside J.O.I.’s Head: The Dynamics of Reading Infinite Jest

Matthew Yard — Rhizomatic Polyphony and Figurants: The Contemporary American Wasteland of ‘Infinite Jest’

Moderator: Reilly Howe

Wrapping Up “The Pale Conference”

Focus Groups

Thursday (Room 131) — 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM



Link to Page on Stanford University Press: https://www.sup.org/books/title/?id=29316

In recent years, the American fiction writer David Foster Wallace has been treated as a symbol, as an icon, and even a film character. Ordinary Unhappiness returns us to the reason we all know about him in the first place: his fiction. By closely examining Infinite Jest, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, and The Pale King, Jon Baskin points readers to the work at the center of Wallace's oeuvre and places that writing in conversation with a philosophical tradition that includes Wittgenstein, Kierkegaard, and Cavell, among others. What emerges is a Wallace who not only speaks to our postmodern addictions in the age of mass entertainment and McDonald's but who seeks to address a quiet desperation at the heart of our modern lives. Freud said that the job of the therapeutic process was to turn "hysterical misery into ordinary unhappiness." This book makes a case for how Wallace achieved this in his fiction.

About the author

Jon Baskin is the Associate Director of the Creative Publishing and Critical Journalism program at the New School for Social Research and a founding editor of The Point.

Thursday Afternoon

Registration Opens — 12:00 PM

Stevenson Hall Room 133

Panel A — Gen-Ed Pedagogy with Creative Writing

Moderator: John Holliday

Thursday (Room 128)

1:00 PM — 1:50 PM

Amy L. Eggert

Creative Writer — Bradley University

Jane Carman

Founder — Festival of Language

Embracing Confusion and Creativity in the Gen-Ed English Classroom

This panel examines some ways we (as creative writers who are also instructors) bring a unique perspective to the gen-ed English classroom that allows students not only to write and think creatively but also encourages them to move beyond their skewed views of what academic reading and writing might be. 

Jane L. Carman is the founder of the reading series The Festival of Language and a reading eXperiment. She holds a PhD in English Studies from Illinois State. Her antinarrative/collage, Tangled in Motion, is available from Journal of Experimental Fiction Books. Carman has been teaching English for over ten years.

Amy L. Eggert is the author of Scattershot: Collected Fictions (Lit Fest Press 2015), a hybrid collection that redefines / re-envisions the trauma narrative. Recent publications can be found in Verse of Silence, Cardinal Sins, Unlikely Stories, Bluffs Literary Magazine, and Festival Writer. Eggert teaches for Bradley University in Peoria, IL.

Panel B — Creative Writing and Social Stigma

Moderator: Daniel Leonard  Grace Chipperfield

Thursday (Room 128)

2:00 PM — 3:15 PM

Amy L. Eggert

Creative Writer — Bradley University

Jane Carman

Founder — Festival of Language

From Stone to Sleep: Original Creative Work

These pieces are part of a forthcoming collaborative collection, Exit Interview: Suicide Stories, which explores the mindset, stigma, and aftermath of suicide, coauthored by Jane L. Carman and Amy L. Eggert. 

Jane L. Carman is the founder of the reading series The Festival of Language and a reading eXperiment. She holds a PhD in English Studies from Illinois State. Her antinarrative/ collage, Tangled in Motion, is available from Journal of Experimental Fiction Books. Carman has been teaching English for over ten years.

Amy L. Eggert is the author of Scattershot: Collected Fictions (Lit Fest Press 2015), a hybrid collection that redefines / re-envisions the trauma narrative. Recent publications can be found in Verse of Silence, Cardinal Sins, Unlikely Stories, Bluffs Literary Magazine, and Festival Writer. Eggert teaches for Bradley University in Peoria, IL.

JoAnna Novak

Assistant Professor — Mount Saint Mary’s University

Two Pleasurable Moments: a short story by JoAnna Novak

In Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, David Foster Wallace gives voice to characters whose hideousness is rooted in the familiar and the carnal — but what of the familial? “Two Pleasurable Moments,a story inspired by Wallace’s use of narrative voice, explores the insidious side of fatherhood.

JoAnna Novak is the author of the novel I Must Have You and the book-length poem Noirmania. Abeyance, North America, her second book of poetry, will be published later this year. She is a founding editor of Tammy, a literary journal and chapbook press.

Panel C — Narrative Voices in Salinger and Lethem

Moderator: JoAnna Novak

Thursday (Room 128)

3:30 PM — 4:20 PM

Henrique Reis Fatel (Skype)

Graduate Student — University of São Paulo

Holden’s Thresholds: An hermeneutical analysis on the implied author of J.D Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye

A lexicological and hermeneutical aim at a description of Catcher in the Rye’s (1951) implied author, through the theoretical prospects of David Foster Wallace’s “E unibus Pluram”(1993) and “Authority and American Usage”(2006), Martin Heidegger’s “Being and Time” (1952), F. Jamesson’s Postmodernism (2006) and Wayne Booth’s Rhetoric of fiction (1961).

Graduate student of English Literature at the College of Philosophy, Literature and Human Sciences of the University of São Paulo (FFLCH/USP), interested in the fields of Semantics, Semiology, Literary Critics, Lexicology and Philosophy. Currently, the presenter is researching about the neology in D.F.W’s writings, and about neologisms of Infinite Jest.

Cory Hudson (Skype)

Ph.D. Student — Illinois State University

Narrateur de Fantôme: The Ghostwritten “I” in Jonathan Lethem’s Chronic City

This presentation argues that the narrating “Iin Jonathan Lethem’s Chronic City is not Chase Insteadman; instead, the narrating “Iis a constructed, ghostwritten avatar of Chase created by Oona Laszlo.

Cory Hudson is a Ph.D. student at Illinois State University. His research interests include David Foster Wallace studies, postmodernism and contemporary literature, narratology, and the intersections between literary studies and mathematics.

Thursday Dinner  5:00 PM to 5:50 PM

Welcoming Remarks: Ryan Edel

Conference Chair; Adjunct Faculty at Heartland Community College

Thursday (Room 401)

5:00 PM to 5:50 PM


“The Broom of the Conference” — Beyond DFW19 (Live)

Jane Carman, Ryan Edel, Allard den Dulk, Vernon Cisney

Thursday (Room 401)

6:00 PM — 6:50 PM

Establishing Focus Groups for Future Conferences

The DFW Conference has reached a critical milestone: six continuous years of conferences. In this panel, we’ll examine how the conference has run, how to expand our outreach within the DFW Studies community, and how to adapt to shifting institutional resources. From simply providing feedback to reaching out through social media to ordering catering, there are small ways that everyone can contribute to the long-term success of conferences beyond DFW19.

Potential focus groups:

  • Supporting the Amsterdam and Gettysburg conferences
  • Online outreach through social media and website design
  • Establishing networks of scholars to attract presentations in DFW Studies, pedagogy, creative writing, and additional areas
  • Supporting student and non-tenure researchers
  • Fundraising to establish long-term financial viability
  • Logistics of conference planning (scheduling panels, ordering food, etc.)

Goal: Everyone will have a better idea of how the conference runs, and also some thoughts on how to contribute to future conferences.

Jane Carman founded the David Foster Wallace Conference at ISU in 2014.

Ryan Edel has been the DFW Conference chair from DFW16 to the present.

Allard den Dulk is planning a DFW conference through Amsterdam University College and VU University for 2021.

Vernon Cisney is planning a DFW Conference for Gettysburg College in 2022.

Cheesecake Buffett

Thursday (Room 401)

7:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Come enjoy some delicious Cheesecake (plus Non-Dairy and Gluten-Free desserts)!


Friday Morning

Bagels and Coffee — 8:30 AM to 9:00 AM

Panel D — Ethics, Freedom, Infinite Jest (Livestream)

Moderator: Andrew Varnon

Friday (Room 128 — Livestream)

9:00 AM — 10:15 AM

Vernon Cisney

Assistant Professor — Gettysburg College/Interdisciplinary Studies

The Ethics of the Nothing in Wallace’s Infinite Jest

This paper examines the concept of the Nothing in Infinite Jest, as it relates to the novel’s emphasis on self-transcendence. In particular, the artificial nothing of substance abuse is contrasted with the religious/aesthetic nothing gestured at by characters such as Don Gately and arguably Mario Incandenza.

Vernon W. Cisney is an assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies at Gettysburg College. He is the author of Deleuze and Derrida: Difference and the Power of the Negative and Derrida’s Voice and Phenomenon: An Edinburgh Philosophical Guide. He is also the co-editor of Biopower: Foucault and Beyond; The Way of Nature and the Way of Grace: Philosophical Footholds on Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life; Between Foucault and Derrida; and Pierre Klossowski’s Living Currency.

Ryan Kerr

Ph.D. Student — University of Florida

Competition, Responsibility, and the Problem of Political Freedom in Infinite Jest

In my paper, I wish to examine the tensions in Infinite Jest between freedom and social responsibility that Andrew Warren has commented on in his recent essay “Wallace and Politics.” Using a Marxist framework, I will argue that the novel displays the pitfalls of individualism and the importance of dismantling the hierarchies brought about by capitalism and competition.

Ryan Kerr is an incoming Ph.D. student in English at the University of Florida. He holds an M.A. in English from the University of Virginia and a B.A. in English with a minor in political science from the University of Arkansas. He primarily studies the novels of James Joyce and David Foster Wallace. Kerr’s work has appeared in Arkansas Review: A Journal of Delta Studies and on the David Foster Wallace Society blog.

Andrew Langford

Independent Scholar

Fascism as a Sort of Present: the Self-Help of Jordan Peterson

Amidst Total Noise, some seek the reassertion of power through hierarchical order. Such is the case with alt-right-adjacent (but distinct) intellectual Jordan Peterson: an author born in 1962 who spends lots of time criticizing Post-Modernism, preaching the sincere truth of cliche, considering lobsters, and appealing to young white guys. I will make an attempt to compare him with the internet’s Saint Dave. Then I will bring in a more full Wallace, hoping to see how this more complete version might help us navigate our particular time, while also identifying the areas in which his project needs our continuation and completion.

Andrew Langford was born almost literally under the shadow of Disney World. 18 years of Right-wing Christian schooling followed. At his first opportunity he moved a thousand miles away. Now a two-time college dropout, he’s mostly just thankful that the Midwest — and the art and people he discovered there — saved his life.

Keynote: Allard den Dulk (Livestream)

Assistant Professor — Amsterdam University College

Friday (Room 401)

10:30 AM — 11:45 AM

Sick and Wicked: A Comparative Reading of Wallace’s “The Depressed Person, “B.I. #20”, and Dostoevsky’s “Notes from Underground

Based on materials from the Wallace archive, I will offer a comparative reading of David Foster Wallace’s short stories “The Depressed Person” and “B.I. #20” with Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novella “Notes from Underground, of their protagonists as similar ‘types’ produced by their respective cultural formations, suffering from hyperconsciousness, skepticism and spitefulness.

Allard den Dulk is Lecturer in Philosophy, Literature and Film at Amsterdam University College, Humanities Research Fellow at the VU University Amsterdam (The Netherlands), and author of the monograph “Existentialist Engagement in Wallace, Eggers and Foer: A Philosophical Analysis of Contemporary American Literature. For more information and publications, see: www.allarddendulk.nl

Friday Lunch — 12:00 PM to  12:50 PM

Welcome to ISU: Diane Zosky

Interim Dean, Illinois State University College of Arts and Sciences

12:30 PM

Diversity Panel (Livestream)

Andrea Laurencell Sheridan (Skype), Tom Winchester, Grace Chipperfield

Friday (Room 401)

1:00 PM — 1:50 PM

Queering David Foster Wallace Studies: A Diversity Roundtable

Like any other single-author scholarship, Wallace Studies does not always appear to be inviting to all scholars. Studying and even just reading Wallace comes with the baggage of the “cult of the white LitBro” and the backlash that comes with that (see: Amy Hungerford and Deidre Coyle just last year). With the rise of concerns over not only representation but fair and accurate representation, trigger and content warnings, and sensitivity readers, it’s unsurprising that the problematic parts of not only Wallace’s oeuvre but his readership and assumed community has come into question. Everyone at this conference is part of a welcoming community, and we deserve to pat ourselves on the back for that; but this welcoming community of scholars, readers, and writers is not the problem addressed by the likes of Hungerford and Coyle; the problem is the myth of the heteronormative White LitBro who, while he exists, is not necessarily the norm, especially for those of us who would spend our free time and limited funds to attend a conference like this one. At DFW17, the Diversity Team explored issues of gender at this roundtable, both in Wallace’s work and in the scholarship; last year at DFW18, the focus shifted to race. This year, Tom Winchester and Ándrea Laurencell Sheridan will explore issues of LGBTQ+ representation in the work and scholarship of David Foster Wallace, grounded in the largely heteronormative culture of the 1990s, when a great majority of his work was written. Should we ignore work that neglects to or improperly represents a particular cultural group? Or, like Clare Hayes-Brady said in last year’s keynote, is exclusion of an author or work from a syllabus or bookshelf a pointed decision as much as inclusion? Come chat about these and other issues at the DFW19 Diversity Roundtable, where we’d love to hear from all of you.

Ándrea Laurencell Sheridan is an Associate Professor of English at SUNY Orange. She is the Vice-President of the International David Foster Wallace Society and Board Member of the Journal of David Foster Wallace Studies. She has chapters due out in several books in the coming year. Ándrea is deeply committed to advocacy, especially for marginalized and underserved students. She will begin a PhD in Humanities at Salve Regina University this coming fall semester.

Tom Winchester is an artist and art critic in Saint Petersburg, Florida. He’s presented at DFW Con in previous years, and has published on the DFW Society Blog. https://twinchester.com/criticism/

Grace Chipperfield is a Fulbright Scholar and PhD candidate in Creative Writing at Flinders University in South Australia. She is researching David Foster Wallace, fandom, and the reader experience. She serves on the board for The International David Foster Wallace Society and is an associate editor for The Journal of David Foster Wallace Studies.

“Infinite Conference” — Beyond DFW19 (Livestream)

Jane Carman, Ryan Edel, Allard den Dulk, Vernon Cisney

Friday (Room 401, 131, 133)

2:00 PM — 2:50 PM

DFW Conference Focus Groups: A Brainstorm

The DFW Conference has reached a critical milestone: six years of continuous conference. In Part 1 of this panel, we’ll briefly consider how the conference has run. In Part 2, we’ll divide into focus groups for brainstorming on how to expand our outreach and adapt to shifting institutional resources.

Goal: by the end of the hour, each group should have a few ideas for future conferences. Then designate a member of your group to share your ideas at the end of the conference on Saturday.

Jane Carman founded the David Foster Wallace Conference at ISU in 2014.

Ryan Edel has been the DFW Conference chair from DFW16 to the present.

Allard den Dulk is planning a DFW conference through Amsterdam University College and VU University for 2021.

Vernon Cisney is planning a DFW Conference for Gettysburg College in 2022.


Panel E1 — DFW: Society, Ethics, Representation (Live)

Moderator: Matthew Alexander

Friday (Room 128)

3:00 PM — 3:50 PM

Genevieve Bettendorf

Ph.D. Student — The Graduate Center (CUNY)

The “Wallace Phase”

This talk will suggest that the term “Wallace phase” better captures Wallace’s relations both to our current millennial modernism and to this century’s remaining eighty years than does the term “Wallace effect.” It’s time to fine-tune our ethics, and to be more deliberate about the future(s) they’ll effect.

G. M. Bettendorf is a Ph.D. student in English at The Graduate Center (CUNY). Her interests include: visual and spatial poetics; contemporary American fiction, mostly only the freaky kinds (think Mark Danielewski more than George Saunders); so-called “Critical University Studies; and burrata.

Tom Winchester

Independent Scholar — His Own Self

The Cult of the Endless Kiss: Heteronormativity in Infinite Jest

For a novel set in 2009, David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest seems to represent the real world of the time of its publication. One telling example of how it represents the mid-1990s is it’s derogatory depiction of the LGBTQ community. In essence, Infinite Jest discriminates against the LGBTQ community by casting most everything that’s not heterosexual as different or dangerous. It also includes an alarming amount of sincere usages of anti-gay slurs. This paper attempts to show the creative background for such discrimination by making connections with the political and pop-culture climates of the era which saw heterosexuality as a standard for being socially normal.

Tom Winchester is an artist and art critic in Saint Petersburg, Florida. He’s presented at DFW Con in previous years, and has published on the DFW Society Blog. https://twinchester.com/criticism/

Panel E2 — Infinite Jest: Residing in Transformation

Moderator: Elena Violaris

Friday (Room 131)

3:00 PM — 3:50 PM

Andrew Niemann (Skype)

Ph.D. Student — University of Lausanne

That shape am I: Self-Transformation and David Foster Wallace’s Application of William James’s Ethics in Infinite Jest and The Pale King

This paper emphasizes the significance of William James’s thought in Wallace’s fiction by looking at the themes of habit, attention, belief, and self-transformation in Infinite Jest and The Pale King through James’s ethical thought. This understanding of these themes constructs an ethical system of self-transformation as freedom in Wallace.

Andrew Niemann is a PhD candidate at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. He has recently begun writing his dissertation on the connections between David Foster Wallace and William James.

Z. Bart Thornton

Professor — Collegiate School

Bad Spaces: DFW and Deconstructivist Architecture

I will suggest the ways in which 1980s-1990s Deconstructivist architectural theory and practice informs Wallace’s masterwork. Examining key architectural environments in IJ, I will highlight the ways in which Wallace subverts the “idea[s] of dwelling” even as his characters seek certainty and solace in their spaces. Looking for the “radiance of dailiness” (DeLillo, qtd. in DeCurtis 63) in their homes, Wallace’s characters discover instead the ambiguities and terrors of everyday life, concretized and amplified by the veritable trapdoors constructed by their mischievous architects

Thornton holds a Ph.D. in American Literature from The University of Texas at Austin, where he wrote a dissertation on Don DeLillo. He has presented papers on David Foster Wallace in Bloomington, Illinois and in Paris, France. He has published two essays on Wallace, most recently in David Foster Wallace: Presences of the Other. Thornton currently teaches English, including a course on Wallace, and serves as Dean of Faculty at The Collegiate School in Richmond, Virginia. He is currently working on a book about dissolute intellectuals in contemporary fiction and film.

Panel F1 — DFW’s Short Fiction: Rights and Logic (Live)

Moderator: Grace Chipperfield  Daniel Leonard

Friday (Room 128)

4:00 PM — 4:50 PM

Matthew Alexander

Ph.D. Student — University of Liverpool

Verbalising Violence: A #MeToo and Animal Rights Reading of David Foster Wallace

In ‘Consider the Lobster’ (2004), Wallace not only “leaves the matter [of animal rights] unresolved” (Roiland 2012), for this paper suggests a link between animals and violence (primarily towards females) that is evident in Wallace’s fiction, when viewed via both Carol J. Adams’ (1990) “absent referents” and a #MeToo lens.

Matthew Alexander is a PhD candidate at University of Liverpool. His research interests are based around gender and gender relations in the works of David Foster Wallace, and his personal ethics with respect to animal rights activism intersect to widen his approach to Wallace’s corpus—resulting in the paper submitted.

Ben Zimmerman

Independent Scholar — Newark Academy

Logical validity is not a guarantee of truth: Quantificational Logic in “Good Old Neon

I explore Wallace’s beliefs on mathematical truth-paradigms, investigating the symbolic representation of Dr. G’s (“Good Old Neon”) belief about “there [being] really only two basic, fundamental orientations […] (1) love and (2) fear.” In the tradition of Wallace’s senior thesis, I address Dr. G’s claim with quantificational/predicate logic and analytic philosophy – contributing original research.

Ben Zimmerman is a senior at Newark Academy high school in Livingston, New Jersey. He has studied philosophy in secondary school programs at Harvard and Columbia University. His essay “An Argument in Favor of Operative Truths” won PLATO’s (Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization) 2017-2018 National Essay Contest and was published in the Fall 2018 issue of PLATO’s journal, “Questions.

Panel F2 — Life, Creativity, and Literary Process

Moderator: Emilio Englade

Friday (Room 131)

4:00 PM — 4:50 PM

John Holliday

Other — Stanford University, Philosophy Department, Lecturer

I Am a Five Draft Man

Literary process is thought to be independent of the value of literature. Yet it tends to fascinate us. I argue that (a) this stems from our desire to connect not just with literature, but with writers and (b) knowledge of literary process bears on our appreciation of literary works.

John Holliday is a postdoctoral Lecturer in Stanford University’s philosophy department. His research has appeared in the British Journal of Aesthetics and The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. His fiction has appeared in Conjunctions and Third Coast. For more about him, visit johnbholliday.com.

Julien Tempone (Skype)

Ph.D. Student — University of Tasmania

Murmurations — auto-theory & daily schlepping

Murmurations blends critical theory with creative non-fiction: & describes the world as I’ve found it via disinhibited autobiography. Accompanying my PhD examining Wallace’s intersection between literature and philosophy – it’s a “lover’s discourse” tracking the arced stages of grieving loss; substance addiction, reconceiving mental health, relationship to faith; nature of love and togetherness today.

Julien Tempone is a PhD graduate from the University of Tasmania, Australia. He is a novelist and philosopher who works primarily at the intersection between literature and philosophy; he also has a strong interest in the interplay between Eastern and Western philosophy and has published on Tibetan Buddhist philosophy.


Panel G1 — French and Postmodern Games in IJ

(Possible Livestream)

Moderator: Z. Bart Thornton

Friday (Room 128)

5:00 PM — 5:50 PM

Reilly Howe

Master’s Student — University of Toronto

Quelques erreurs hasardées: Reading French in Infinite Jest

For a novel that is by all accounts “careful” – to use Wallace’s word – Infinite Jest’s French seems anything but. How can we understand consistent errors in grammar, spelling, and plain sense-making made by French-speaking characters? This presentation will explain how Wallace’s faux-French can be read as speculative transnational comedy: Americanizing the language while maintaining its recognizable otherness and comedic verve in the American context.

Born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, Reilly Howe is a graduate student at the University of Toronto who is awaiting conferral of his Master of Arts. In his time outside of academia he is a drummer, data analyst, and Zamboni driver-in-training.

Elena Violaris

Ph.D. Student — University of Cambridge

The Postmodern Play within a Play: Games of Reality in Infinite Jest

Like Hamlet’s play within a play, Infinite Jest uses the device of ‘Infinite Jest’ within Infinite Jest. Yet is a jest still a jest if within another jest? Drawing on theories of play, this paper explores the relationship between games and ontological levels in Infinite Jest.

Elena Violaris is a first year PhD student at the University of Cambridge. Her thesis is investigating structures of play in postmodern literature and theory, with a particular focus on structures involving levels.


Panel G2 — Development of Form in DFW’s Writing

Moderator: Genevieve Bettendorf

Friday (Room 131)

5:00 PM — 5:50 PM

José Manuel Romero-Santos (Skype)

Independent Scholar — University of Seville

The influence of Manuel Puig’s “El beso de la mujer arañain David Foster Wallace’s marginal notes

The purpose of this conference is giving a summary of the main particularities in Manuel Puig’s “El beso de la mujer arañathat influenced David Foster Wallace’s writing, focusing on how marginal notes in “El beso...partially inspired Wallace to use fictional notes.

José M. Romero-Santos (Badajoz, Spain, 1991) holds a degree as an English language Teacher from the University of Extremadura (2013). In the University of Seville he got a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing (2014), and his PhD. (2017), in the field of Communication, with a thesis entitled “Marginal Notes as a Communicative Device in David Foster Wallace’s Literary Production". He is the author of the poems “Bournemouth 2012 d. C.(2015) and the collected short stories “El suelo es lava(2018).

Christopher White

Associate Professor — Governors State University

Narrative Cognition and “Mister Squishy

A cognitive-enactivist perspective, with its close attention to the temporal and intersubjective aspects of narrative experience, offers a new way to think about reader-writer relations in Wallace’s fiction. I demonstrate this with a reading of “Mister Squishy”—a text whose peculiar form and thematic interest in narrative together invite reflection on narrative cognition, while affording us the very means to do this reflection.

Christopher White is an Associate Professor of English at Governors State University in Illinois. His research interests include American fiction, narrative theory, and cognitive approaches to literature. His work has appeared in the The Cormac McCarthy Journal, Journal of Modern Literature, Southwestern American Literature, and Studies in the Novel.


Friday Dinner (Room 401) — 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM

“Consider the Conference” (Livestream)

Ryan Edel — A Reflection on Lobsters, the Academy, and DFW16–DFW19

6:30 PM

Dessert Buffet (Room 401) — 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM

If the weather’s nice, we may move the buffet outside!


Saturday Morning

Bagels and Coffee (Room 131) — 8:30 AM to 9:00 AM

Panel H — Wallace, Wittgenstein, and Religion

Moderator: Vernon Cisney

Saturday (Room 131)

9:00 AM — 9:50 AM

Nan Denette

Master’s Student — University of Chicago

Everybody Worships: Religious and Para-Religious Experience in Infinite Jest

This project examines instances of worship, devotion, religion, and spirituality in the narrative of Infinite Jest. In reading this novel through the lens of religion, questions are raised concerning what it means for fictional texts to engage with religious topics, and how Wallace portrays religion in a post-modern, secular world.

Nan Denette is an MA student in Religious Studies at the University of Chicago with a concentration in religion, literature, and visual culture. She has a BA from the College of Wooster in Religious Studies and English Literature. Her academic work focuses on intersections of religion, literature, and American culture.

Michele Ragno (Skype)

Undergraduate Student — Università Aldo Moro di Bari

Wittgenstein and Wallace: Religion as a “Form of Life

The purpose of this paper is to meditate on the concept of religion proposed by Wallace and Wittgenstein. After showing both how religion influenced Wittgenstein’s personal life and how he deals with this matter in the Tractatus logico-philosophicus, the paper draws a comparison between David Foster Wallace and his education.

Michele Ragno is a Philosophy student at Aldo Moro University. His areas of interest include the reconstruction of the philosophical education of David Foster Wallace and the Philosophy of Art as an opening to the sense of Being in Wittgenstein and Heidegger. He wrote the book “David Foster Wallace. Uno spirito che pesa un macigno", which will be released in June 2019 for AM Edizioni.

Panel I1 — Personal Writing: Tennis, John Green, and DFW

(Possible Livestream)

Moderator: Christopher White

Saturday (Room 128)

10:00 AM — 10:50 AM

Andrew Varnon

Independent Scholar

The Other Side of the Net

“The Other Side of the Net” is a ruminative, personal essay about reading, writing and tennis. It’s about playing tennis with Wallace’s ghost. Wallace wrote that tennis was like “chess on the run.” Like reading, the chess metaphor implies the mutual awareness of two participants: the reader and the writer.

Andrew Varnon lives in Greenfield, Massachusetts, with his wife Lynette and two children. A winner of the 92nd St. Y/The Nation “Discovery” award in poetry, Varnon previously taught a course called “Beer, Baseball & the Bible” at Western New England University. H coaches high school tennis at Greenfield High School. You can find him on Twitter at @SachemHead.

Michael O'Connell

Associate Professor — Siena Heights University

Spirals All the Way Down: Mental Illness in the work of David Foster Wallace and John Green

In this talk I discuss the differing approaches YA writer John Green and David Foster Wallace take to writing about mental illness, and how Green’s work — both his fiction and also his podcasts and YouTube videos — enacts the sort of empathy and sincerity that characterizes much of Wallace’s fictional project.

Michael O’Connell is Associate Professor of Humanities at Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan. He has published essays in a number of scholarly journals, focusing primarily on the intersections of religion and contemporary literature. He is currently working on a study of violence in contemporary American Catholic fiction.

Panel I2 — Empathy and Emotion in DFW’s Writing

Moderator: Nan Denette

Saturday (Room 131)

10:00 AM — 11:15 AM

Daniel Leonard

Ph.D. Student — Boston University

Infantile Jest: Big, Beastly Babies and Emotional Needs

How can adults accept their basic condition of neediness while tolerating fulfillment that is only ever partial? Contrary to the immediate and total soothing offered by JOI’s infantilizing Infinite Jest film, Wallace promotes AA’s communal process of ongoing “weaning” as a model for psychological development.

Daniel Leonard is a PhD student in English at Boston University, where he previously earned an MFA in poetry. Thanks to DFW, he picked up tennis and dropped meat. He has presented at every Wallace Conference so far, and it’s too late to stop now.

Marco Meneghelli (Skype)

Independent Scholar — David Foster Wallace Society

DFW and his readers: The problem of empathy in DFW ouvre, considering, from a narratological and philosophical point of view, his literary and non fiction writings

With my proposal, putting the problem of empathy in David Foster Wallace into a narratological frame and tradition of studies, I will try to show how human beings interact empathically each other, also with sorts of distance contacts and, in particular, with a particular kind of “distance” that is and is created by word.

I was born in Italy (Fiorenzuola d'Arda: Piacenza) 48 years ago. I am graduated in philosophy at the State University of Milan. My research pertains in particular the problem of infinite and continuum. This is only the start problem. I think that David Foster Wallace is and has been of big philosopher and great literary writer for all time


Panel J — Reading IJ: Structure and Symbolism (Live)

Moderator: Reilly Howe

Saturday (Room 128)

11:00 AM — 11:50 AM

Emilio Englade

Independent Scholar — University of Texas, Harry Ransom Center

Inside J.O.I.s Head: The Dynamics of Reading Infinite Jest

Details can be surprisingly potent when reading Infinite Jest. For instance, J.O.I.’s head--exploded yet seemingly intact--has a slipperiness that is essential to Hal and Don Gately’s graveyard meeting. In fact, I argue the symbol helps incorporate readers into the very structure of the book, to engage them in applying its lessons.

Emilio Englade is a docent and general gadfly at the Harry Ransom Center. Someday he hopes to understand why David Foster Wallace haunts his dreams.

Matthew Yard

Masters Student — Monmouth University

Rhizomatic Polyphony and Figurants: The Contemporary American Wasteland of ‘Infinite Jest

This paper studies Infinite Jest alongside T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land regarding the use of figurant voices to render each text a wasteland. Both are studied as ‘maximalisttexts that bookend postmodernism. Eliot’s poem functions as a prototype of postmodern fiction and Wallace’s work as a response to postmodern fiction.

Matthew Yard graduated with his M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University in May of 2019. His thesis studied the figurants of ‘Infinite Jestalongside T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land.He has been reading Wallace for three years now. He is also a quadruplet born on April Fool’s Day. 

Wrapping Up: “The Pale Conference” (Livestream)

Focus Groups — The Unfinished Work of Looking Ahead

Saturday (Room 131) — 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM