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The University of Tennessee’s NEXUS conference was first established as a symposium organized by Brian Gempp in 2004. As president of UT’s Graduate Students in English, Gempp started a lecture series that brought three speakers to campus. This lecture series morphed into a much larger project: the creation of NEXUS: An Interdisciplinary Conference.

NEXUS was conceived as a biennial, graduate-student-run conference that would bring in senior scholars and practicing artists both as plenary and panel speakers. In 2004, Gempp involved faculty and students from the departments of Art, Sociology, Music, and English and brought in experimental filmmaker and composer Tony Conrad, who is also a professor at the State University of New York-Buffalo. Working with faculty advisors Amy Elias and Allen Dunn, Gempp was able to put together an impressive roster of symposium invitees. Other speakers at the first NEXUS included Joseph Tabbi from the University of Illinois-Chicago, Scott Herring from Indiana University, and a number of other scholars and arts practitioners, who presented papers at the one-day symposium.

The event was such as success that we were able to expand it two years later into a full-blown academic conference which featured invited speakers, run by Elaine Childs and Misty Krueger. In addition to being a success for the department, the 2006 event provided the template for future NEXUS conferences.

Past NEXUS Conferences

Organizers: Jeffrey Amos, Andrew Butler, Emily Harrison
Theme: Community & Collaboration: How the Light Gets In
Keynote Speakers: Joshua R. Eyler, University of Mississippi; Ross Gay, Indiana University; Maren Linett, Purdue University

Organizers: Megan Von Bergen, Marisa Stickel, Daniel Pizappi
Keynote Speakers: Elizabeth Wardle, Miami University; Maia Butler, UNC Wilmington; Frank X Walker, University of Kentucky

Organizers: Allison Clymer, Chloe Hanson, Melinda Backer
Theme: Agency and Artificiality: Assembling Humanity in the 21st Century
Keynote Speakers: Sid Dobrin, University of Florida; Benjamin Gunsberg, Utah State University; Michelle Sizemore, University of Kentucky
Link: NEXUS 2018

Organizers: Kali Mobley, Jewel Williams, Staci Poston Conner
Theme: Alt + Shift: Unlocking Alternative Methodologies and Marginal Positions
Keynote Speakers: Dr. Andrea Kitta, East Carolina University; Dr. Dorothea Lasky, Columbia University School of the Arts; Dr. Malea Powell, Michigan State University
Link: NEXUS 2016

Organizers: Jacqueline Kerr, Stephanie Metz, Matt Smith
Theme: Greenways: The Interconnected Pathways of Communication and the Environment
Keynote Speakers: Sandra Alcosser; Dr. Mark Pedelty, University of Minnesota; Dr. Jennifer Peeples, Utah State University
Link: NEXUS 2014

Organizers: Katie Burnett, Bushra Malaibari, Dennis McGlothin
Theme: Voice and Voicing in a Technological Era
Keynote Speakers: Dr. Adam J. Banks, University of Kentucky; Dr. Barclay Barrios, Florida Atlantic University; Dr. Nancy Paterson, OCAD University
Link: NEXUS 2012

Organizers: Teresa Lopez, Dennis McGlothin (Dr. Jane Bellamy, faculty advisor)
Theme: Trauma and Testimony: New Perspectives
Keynote Speakers: Cathy Caruth, Emory University; Julia Levine
Link: NEXUS 2010

Organizers: Matt Raese, Teresa Saxton (Dr. Amy Elias, faculty advisor)
Theme: Collected and Collective Identities
Keynote Speakers: Brent Hayes Edwards, Columbia University; Shelley Jackson
Link: NEXUS 2008

Organizers: Elaine Childs, Misty Krueger (Dr. Amy Elias, faculty advisor)
Theme: Religion and Nation
Keynote Speakers: John D. Caputo, Syracuse University; Diane Glancy, Macalester College
Link: NEXUS 2006

Organizer: Brian Gempp (Dr. Amy Elias and Dr. Allen Dunn, faculty advisors)
Keynote Speakers: Tony Conrad, SUNY Buffalo; Daniel O’Hara, Temple University