Faculty Lecture Respondent
Faculty Keynote Speaker
All graduate students from the department of English
are encouraged to participate in the Colloquium by submitting
conference length papers. Those chosen will be invited to read their
work as part of the panel which forms the first half of each session,
and then participate in a discussion on both their paper and the theme
of the evening.
Participants in the panel discussions are also encouraged to allow the
colloquium website to post their papers online as a continuing part of
the communal ‘discussion’ coming out of the session. Those with
concerns about the release of their papers, and/or the possibility of
future journal publication can submit an abstract of the paper, but
should also be aware that access to their papers will be limited on the
website to BC graduate students and faculty only.
In past sessions participants have said that their involvement in the
colloquium offers a means to develop individual papers, to build
conference experience as they begin to submit beyond Boston College,
and to really engage with the graduate community of which they are a
part. If you like to be considered for the role of Panel Reader for
future sessions of the colloquium, please sign-up here.
The role of moderator is to bring together the several, more or less
disparate, elements which constitute the first half of each session:
the two graduate students reading their papers, with which they form
the panel, and the audience constituted by various levels of graduate
students and faculty. This role entails: sitting on the selection panel
for the paper submission, meeting in advance with the graduate student
invited to read his or her paper, introducing the session and the panel
readers, formulating some questions raised by their papers, which can
be both directed to the readers or the audience, and also be both more
or less broadly directed towards the individual papers and/or the
themes of the session. Moderators then direct the discussion which
follows the paper reads.
Moderators are also asked to write a short statement about the panel
discussion in which they participated, which can then be posted on the
colloquium website. The total amount of time which the role of
moderator entails should certainly not exceed 6-8 hours over a period
of several months. If you like to be considered for the moderator role
for future sessions of the colloquium, please sign-up here.
The respondent role is intended to perform a quite
different function from that of the moderator. The respondent first of
all helps to contextualize the faculty lecture by introductory remarks
which help the audience to engage with a paper (which is sometimes on a
topic far from some audience member’s own areas of expertise), and/or
to offer some questions coming out of the lecture. This should help the
audience to gain access to some of the strands of the talk’s themes.
They can then also direct any questions from the audience.
The other intended goal of the respondent’s participation is to enact
an already established, or even long-standing academic relationship,
which allows the second half of each session to involve a more in-depth
series of questions and issues. As a result of this second goal, the
respondent is usually limited to PhD candidates, since they have often
had the opportunity to establish these kinds of longer term,
close-study relationships. Practically, taking on the role of the
respondent involves meeting in advance with the keynote speaker, to
engage specifically with the topics raised in their lecture.
Respondents also run a one hour meeting of the PhD’s reading circle,
the RRRC, which allows them, in preparation for the session, to engage
with their peers in a conversation about the faculty lectures, the
themes and questions which they are considering raising on the night,
and issues or questions which other students feel may be of interest
coming out of the paper. This is intended to be a low-key meeting which
helps both the respondent in their preparation, and engages other PhDs
in the forthcoming lecture, both so that they can raise question during
this conversation, and then perhaps also during the colloquium itself.
Respondents are also asked to submit a short summary of the second half
of the evening’s session, which will be posted on the colloquium
It is important to stress that the respondent role should not involve
more than around 8 hours of preparation over a period of several
months. Past respondents have indicated that participating in the
colloquium in this way offers them the opportunity to work closely with
the keynote speaker, and to engage more fully with the graduate
community of which they are a part.
Sessions always include a keynote lecture by a faculty
member from Boston College. This talk is the basis for the second half
of each session and builds on the central theme of the evening, but is
also intended to speak, in general terms, to some of the questions
raised by the panel discussion participants. There will then be an
opportunity for the keynote speaker to react to issues raised by the
respondent, or by members of the audience. In future years we intend to
expand the scope of the colloquium with speakers from other regional
Faculty are also asked if they would be willing to offer an abstract on
their paper, which can then be linked to information about the place of
publication for any essay on which the lecture may have been based, or
to other related works by them.