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Shaping an academic experience for ourselves

Third-year English Literature student, Snigdha Koirala, tells us what it’s like to organise our annual Undergraduate Literature Conference.

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The only university conference of its kind, the Edinburgh Undergraduate Literature Conference is entirely organised, led and peer-reviewed by undergraduate students in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC).

Taking place on Monday 19th February 2018, the first day of the Festival of Creative Learning at the University of Edinburgh, it’s a unique chance for undergraduate students in literary studies to come together from around the world and present their original research.

This year, the conference has been organised by five students - Bardha, Carissa, Snigdha, Tessa and Zoe - all studying English Literature as part of their degree, and in their third (penultimate) year of study.

In this short article, Snigdha Koirala (English Literature - MA Hons), tell us what it’s been like to take on such an important role…

Photo of organising committee
The EULC Organising Committee (with Snigdha centre)

Dualities and Dichotomies

“Organising the Edinburgh Undergraduate Literature Conference this year has been a fruitful experience. Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect has been reading and reviewing the papers we have received for the conference.”

“Our theme of “Dualities and Dichotomies” has been interpreted in a variety of ways, but particularly in terms of postcolonial, feminist, and diaspora studies. Some of the most striking submissions we received have examined narrative illness and phenomenology in Barbara Comyns’ ‘The Vet’s Daughter’ and Shirley Jackson’s ‘Hangsaman’, notions of ‘savagery’ and ‘civilization’ in HG Wells’ ‘The Island of Doctor Moreau’, and Homi Bhabha’s theory of colonial mimicry in Susan Choi’s ‘The Foreign Student’.”

Directing the course of academic interest and curiosity

“Pursuing a degree like English Literature, where a great deal of reading and analysis is done independently, having this conference to read and appreciate our peers’ work has certainly been a rewarding aspect of this experience. Additionally, the conference has been an opportunity, as a student, to create an academic endeavour for fellow students.”

“Often times, we seek academic experiences from lecturers and tutors, specifically in classrooms. The conference, however, has created an opportunity to shape an academic experience for ourselves - to delve into questions and topics of ours and our peers’ interests, to write and read critically on the works of writers who may not always appear on reading lists or tutorial sessions.”

“Essentially, the experience of organising the undergraduate conference has been one in which I, and I am sure my fellow organisers would agree, have been able to direct the course of academic interest and curiosity in a particular and stimulating way.”

Are you interested in studying English Literature at LLC?

Based in the first UNESCO City of Literature, we are home to the oldest department of English Literature in the UK, one of the longest established in the world. Study with us and you'll explore the varying and vital roles that literary writing plays in our lives and societies.

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Related links

Find out about all 15 Festival of Creative Learning Events involving LLC staff and students

Read our interview with English Literature graduate, Mairi Wilson