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ACETA Conference

Past Conferences


February 24-25, 2022
Jefferson State Community College
Clanton, Alabama

February 24-25, 2022
Auburn University at Montgomery
Montgomery, Alabama

February 28-29, 2021
Auburn University at Montgomery
Virtual Conference

February 28–29, 2020
University of North Alabama
Florence, Alabama

March 1–2, 2019
University of Montevallo
Montevallo, Alabama

February 23–24, 2018
Troy University
Troy, Alabama

Conference on the Sympathetic Imagination

In an 1817 letter to Benjamin Bailey, Keats writes, “The Setting Sun will always set me to rights, or if a Sparrow come before my Window, I take part in its existence and pick about the gravel.” What he describes is the sympathetic imagination, how we acquire knowledge of the inner lives of others by extending the imagination. The term “sympathetic imagination” comes to us from Adam Smith: “As we have no immediate experience of what other men feel, we can form no idea of the manner in which they are affected, but by conceiving what we ourselves should feel in the like situation. Though our brother is upon the rack, as long as we ourselves are at our ease, our senses will never inform us of what he suffers. They never did and never can carry beyond our persons, and it is by the imagination we place ourselves in his situation.” Sponsored by ACETA (The Association of College English Teachers of Alabama) and a partnering two-year or four-year collegiate institution, this conference broadly considers literature, film, and writing on the importance of sympathy and empathy. More broadly, papers might address phenomenology, the intersection of philosophies and literature, transhumanism, performativity, trauma theory, literary sensation and sensationalism, the nonhuman experience in literature, and other topics related to the conference theme. Sessions in pedagogy and composition and rhetoric are also among conference discussion.

Conference News

  • The 2024 ACETA Conference will be held at the campus of Alabama A&M University on February 22-23, 2024.
  • More information will be forthcoming.