2008 Call for Papers
For the 50th Annual Convention of the Midwest Modern Language Association
November 13-16, 2008, in Minneapolis, Minnesota
**We will be adding to the call for papers as changes come in, so please be sure to check back for updates.**
If you are interested in submitting a paper for one of these sessions, please contact the session organizer directly. The suggested deadline for submitting proposals to session organizers is April 15, 2008, although see descriptions below for exceptions. You may participate in no more than two sessions unless special permission is granted.
Individual paper proposals (250 words or less) on the general theme of the conference ("Fame / Infamy") may be submitted directly to the M/MLA office by March 1, 2008, either through the mail or through email (email@example.com). Those accepted will be organized into sessions.
If you are interested in proposing a Special Session for the 2008 Convention, fill out this form by March 1 and submit it to the M/MLA office. The proposed special sessions will be listed below as we receive them.
Reports for the 2008 Permanent Sections and Associated Organizations should have been submitted already to the M/MLA office by the Section Chair or Secretary. These reports should include proposed session titles and descriptions for the 2008 conference, and we have included all received details below. If you are respondible for a Permanent Section or an Associated Organization and have not yet let us know your 2008 details, here are the Section Report Form and the Associated Organization Report Form.
African American Literature: "Intersections of African American Literacies and Popular Culture." Paper topics should explore connections between popular culture (film, music, TV) and African American literacies. For example, Cornel West, one of the most prominent African American theorists, has produced a rap CD. What are the implications of such crossover scholarships? Other questions to consider include, but are not limited to, what are the connections between popular culture and African American literacies? How are these connections defined? What are the common attitudes and practices that inform African American productions in both popular culture and literature? Abstracts should be 300 words and in Word format. Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 15, 2008.
Faith Bennett, Loyola Univ.
American Literature I: Literature Before 1870: "Fame, Infamy, Slavery." This session invites papers that examine the famous and the infamous in the history of slavery and abolition in the United States. Papers may explore such topics as the popularity of abolitionist circuit speakers, the abolitionist press, and slave narratives; Harriet Beecher Stowe’s international fame following the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the phenomenon of “Tom-mania”; the rise of anti-Tom literature; the popular tradition of minstrelsy; literary representations of notorious personages, sensational trials, and cause célèbres (the Amistad case, the Margaret Garner case, Dred Scott, John Brown, etc.). Papers that look at this topic in a transatlantic context are welcome. Please send a 250-word abstract and a brief biographical sketch (as a Word attachment) to Whitney Womack Smith, Miami University Hamilton, email@example.com, by April 15, 2008.
American Literature II: Literature After 1870: "Labor Pains: Women, Writing and Work." This session invites papers that examine the representation of women’s labor in American literature. When Ruth Hall was published in 1855, the representation of a working woman caused quite a sensation. Her newspaper articles on labor, money, and American womanhood continued to scandalize her readers. Papers may explore such topics as Fanny Fern’s paper articles, the city, and women’s rights; the image of the working girl in literature; African American labor and the process of uplift; literary representations of labor reform and/or class conflict; the relationship between labor and resistance; and the relationship between labor and race. Please send a 250-word abstract (as a Word attachment) to Michelle Taylor, Miami University Oxford (firstname.lastname@example.org) by April 18, 2008.
Applied Linguistics: "Language Teaching/Learning: Acculturation or Integration?" Participants will explore the issue of acculturation and integration as it applies to the teaching and/or learning of a foreign/second language. Topics on language acquisition and/or Applied Linguistics in general are also welcome. Kashama Mulamba, Olivet Nazarene Univ, email@example.com.
"Art What Thou Eat": Food in Literature, Art, and Culture: Open Topic. Lynne Flora Margolies, Manchester Coll., firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bibliography and Textual Studies: "People of the Books: Christianity and Islam in Book Studies." Participants will consider elements of two religions and cultures especially concerned not only with the contents but the paratextual elements of their respective books. This panel is particularly interested in the intersection of Christianity and Islam in textual studies, although abstracts on any aspect of either religion as it relates to bibliography will be considered. Please send 250-word abstracts to email@example.com by April 15, 2008. Erin Mann, Univ. of Iowa
Canadian Literature: "Canadian Regions and Regionalism." In the Foreword to Two Solitudes, Hugh MacLennan explains that because “it is a novel of Canada … some of the characters in the book are presumed to speak only English, others only French, while many are bilingual.” The novel’s dialogue, however, is written solely in English. This panel will explore representations of Canada’s land, communities, citizens, and dialects. How does language inform nationality and the concept of only two linguistic and cultural solitudes? How do provincial, territorial, and municipal allegiances undermine or bolster the image of a united country with a national literature? Papers on Quebecois, First Nations, and immigrant regionalisms in Canada are particularly encouraged. Please send 250-word abstracts to Emily Sharpe, Pennsylvania State Univ, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Children’s Literature: "An Edwardian Centennial: Children’s Literature in 1908." 1908 marked a watershed year for children’s literature, with the publication of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows, L. Frank Baum’s Dorothy and The Wizard of Oz, and Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck. The year also saw the rise of the scouting movement, heralded by the publication of Scouting for Boys, by Sir Robert Baden-Powell. Papers are invited for this MMLA Panel that focus on any aspect of children’s literature and culture in 1908. Please send a 250-word abstract and a paragraph biographical sketch (as a Word attachment) by March 15, 2008, to Gwen Tarbox, Western Michigan Univ., email@example.com.
Comparative Literature: "Writing to the Moment." What is going on in Comparative Literature today? What are you doing? Old wine in new or old bottles, new wine in new or old bottles? Contribute your own work as example, or reflect on the new work of others to assess this moment in the discipline. William A. Johnsen, Michigan State Univ., firstname.lastname@example.org
Creative Writing I: Poetry. Open Topic. Please submit a sample of your work (approximately 5-10 pages) and a brief bio by April 15 to email@example.com. Eve Rosenbaum, Univ. of Iowa
Creative Writing II: Prose. Open Topic. Michael Kula, Carroll College, firstname.lastname@example.org
Drama: "Critics in Theatre/Theatre as Critic." In what ways have critics figured as characters, paratexts or in other operative roles in theatre? In what ways has theatre functioned as a critic both of itself and of other plays? Why has the figure of the critic loomed so prominently in theatre? Judith Roof, Michigan State Univ., email@example.com
English I: English Literature Before 1800: "English Literature and Prayer Forms/Spiritual Exercises before 1800." This standing panel of the Midwest Modern Language Association seeks papers on English literature to 1800 and its intersections with prayers, meditations, and spiritual exercises of all faiths and forms for the fiftieth annual meeting to be held in Minneapolis, MN (November 13-16, 2008). In doing so it seeks to answer some of the following questions: In what ways do English authors configure their faith relations in their text’s literary devices? How do prayer forms and spiritual exercises enter or alter narratives? How do existent prayer books and liturgies influence composition? What debt do literary forms owe to their spiritual counterparts and vice versa? How do prayers reflect religious/spiritual debate, and how do authorial responses to theological concerns evolve over time and across genres? Please send paper abstracts of no more than 200 words along with a brief biographical sketch/CV to Katherine Kickel, Miami Univ., firstname.lastname@example.org, by April 15, 2008.
English II: English Literature 1800-1900: "Celebrity, Sensation, and Infamy." We welcome papers addressing any aspect of 19th-century fame, from the admirable to the notorious. Possible topics may include but are not limited to: the shape/look of celebrity, commercialism and fame; sensationalism, sensation fiction, gossip, scandal, famous personages, famous trials and causes celebres, "movers and shakers", national celebrations, heroes, heroines, villains and criminals (real and imagined), (in)famous theories (scientific, social, aesthetic, religious, etc). 1-2 page abstracts emailed to email@example.com by March 15, 2008. Megan Early Alter, Univ. of Iowa
English III: English Literature After 1900: "Fame, Infamy, and Obscurity in Post-WWII British Fiction." This year’s English Literature After 1900 permanent session will explore the 2008 M/MLA conference theme of fame/infamy through a concentration on British fiction since 1945. We invite papers that might approach this topic by examining any of the various manifestations of fame such as celebrity culture, prize and award culture, notoriety, literary feuds, book reviews, and other modes of fame and publicity. Prospective panelists might also examine postwar British writers who remain largely unknown. Proposals (of 200-250 words) should be sent by 15 April 2008 to M. Hunter Hayes, Texas A&M Univ.-Commerce, at Hunter_Hayes@tamu-commerce.edu.
Fabricating the Body: "The Disabled Body in Literature and Culture." From the religious to the spectacular, the medicalized to the transsexual, the body is made to signify. This year’s “Fabricating the Body” panel focuses on representations of the dis/abled body. Possible topics can range from the idea of the able or disabled body as cultural construct to issues of the relationship between the dis/abled body and power, from historical representations of the dis/abled body to current cultural debates on the dis/abled body, from dis/ability as metaphor to dis/ability as fact, from representations of the dis/abled body in literature to representations of the dis/abled body in film or other media. Please submit a 250-word abstract to Beth Torgerson, English, Eastern Washington University, Patterson 250, Cheney, WA 99004, firstname.lastname@example.org. Abstracts due by April 15, 2008.
Film I: "Food in Film, Food as Film." This panel looks to explore how cinema represents food, eating, and cooking and how these culinary components also can become film themselves. The popularity of food television and the growing presence of food, cooking, and eating in film have pushed for such a consideration. Papers may analyze such topics as food & film narrative, the use of cinematic techniques to present food visually, how filmmakers employ food to foreground issues of nation, identity, economics, etc., or the use of food as metaphor in cinema. Michelle Parke, Michigan State Univ., email@example.com
Film II: "The Alternative Filmic Voice of John Waters." From the start of his career in the 1960s, producing 8mm and 16mm films starring the unforgettable Divine in leading roles, John Waters has remained a prominent and provocative voice in independent and Hollywood cinema. For this panel, we invite papers on all aspects of John Waters’ distinctive work in American cinema and television as a director, writer, actor, and personality. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following: Waters’ representations of the cultural life of Baltimore, uses of humor and, perhaps, earnestness in Waters’ films, an analysis of Waters’ work in relation to avant garde filmic expressions in the 1960s-2000s; readings of individual films directed by Waters, and, of course, the representations of gender, social class, and other identities within Waters’ films. David M. Jones, Univ. of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, firstname.lastname@example.org
French I: "Je t’aime, moi non plus: relations contradictoires entre la France et les Etats-Unis." Franco-American relations alternated between great moments of enthusiasm and affection, and long periods of resentment and disappointments. The two peoples have never felt indifference for each other. They have never been at war with each other. Numerous texts have been devoted to American attitudes toward France as well as to images of the United States in France. This panel seeks papers that examine historical, political, cultural, journalistic, cinematic and literary representations of the relations between France and the United States over the centuries, and the way in which these relations contributed to the shaping of the two countries’ identities. Please send 250-word abstracts by April 15, to Adela Lechintan, The Ohio State Univ., email@example.com.
French II: "La Guerre: Mémoire, Représentation et Théorie." This panel proposes a discussion of warfare as it is represented, witnessed, theorized and memorialized in the literature, the architecture and the visual arts of France from Early Modernity to the present. Kevin Snorteland, The Ohio State Univ., firstname.lastname@example.org
French III: Issues in French Studies: "Shapes, Space and other Scapes in the Writings of French-Speaking Women." If our environment determines our experience of the world, and if such experience—as it pertains to a “universal” human—has been theorized and examined in the literature produced by men of all periods, there is still much to be done on the forms it takes and the implications it carries in women’s writings. In this panel, particular attention will be given to the works of lesser known French-speaking women, be they emergent 21st-century writers or “forgotten” medieval and early modern women. Open to all historical periods and geographical locations. Topics may include: women and landscapes; verbal landscapes; landscape narratives; inner and outer spaces; visible and invisible shapes; rhythm and space; space and memory; space and emotions; spatial boundaries; gender and shapes; spatial metaphors; spatial images; space and power; l’ici et l’ailleurs; national and transnational spaces; other spaces; spatial otherness; space as a visual experience; space as bodily experience; representational spaces and shapes; poetic spaces; imaginary spaces; spaces of the fantastic. Please send abstracts to: Sophie Maríñez, French Department, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, at email@example.com.
Gender Studies: Male: "Masculinity and Theater." From the all-male public stages of Greek and Elizabethan drama to contemporary depictions of male identity in the plays of Neil LaBute and David Mamet, representations of men and masculinity on the Western stage have reflected, celebrated, and critiqued social constructions of manhood. This panel seeks papers on the representation of male identity and masculinity in theater, drama, and performance, including plays, solo performance, musical theater, dance, opera, experimental theater, and other theatrical forms, from any period and/or traditions. Topics and approaches may include, but are not limited to, historical and/or theoretical treatments of men and misogyny, race and masculinity, queer masculinities, etc. Please send your 250-word abstract to chair, Samuel Park, Columbia Coll. Chicago, firstname.lastname@example.org; please cc abstracts to secretary, Josep M. Armengol, SUNY Stony Brook, email@example.com.
German Literature and Culture I: "Heroes and Villains in German Literature, Film and Music." We invite papers that explore the representations of heroes and/or villains in German literature, film and/or music over time. How have portrayals of heroes and villains changed or stayed the same? What impact have sociocultural norms around gender, race, class and sexuality had on these portrayals? Please send a 200-word abstract to Rebecca Raham (firstname.lastname@example.org) and to Isolde Mueller (email@example.com) by March 31st.
German Literature and Culture II: "German-Language Poetry. Open Topic." We invite papers on any aspect and period of poetry in German, including translation. Send 250-word abstracts to Geoff Howes (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Jefford Vahlbusch (email@example.com) by 21 April 2008. Earlier submissions are welcome!
History of Critical Reception: "Righteous Readers: Race, Reception, and Book Club Mania." This session invites papers that examine the intersection of race, reading, and ethnicity. Papers may explore such topics as the intersection of race and literature in the 19th and 20th centuries; the explosion of book clubs in communities of color; literacy, books clubs and domestic nationalism; the explosion of urban literature; and the "Oprah effect." Papers that examine race and readership are the focus of the panel, but papers that explore other aspects of readership are also welcomed. Such papers might explore the relationship between authorship and authenticity with a focus on the exchange between James Frey and Oprah Winfrey. Other topics might consider the most recent moment of literary scandal involving Margaret B. Jones’s "autobiography" Love and Consequences and the commodification of race. Please send a 250-word abstract (as a Word document) to Michelle Taylor, Miami University Oxford (firstname.lastname@example.org) by April 18, 2008.
Illustrated Texts: "The Art of Children’s Literature." The Illustrated Texts panel invites submissions from all fields and all time periods that address the use of visual art—drawings, sketches, caricatures, pop-ups, cartoons, photographs, graphs and charts, etc.—in literature directed at young readers. Topics and approaches can include but are not limited to: the relationship of text and image, artistic recreations of historical events and figures, illustrating social realities, visualizing cultures. Please contact Janis Breckenridge (email@example.com) for additional information or to submit an abstract. Deadline: April 15, 2008.
International Francophone Studies: "Spaces, Places and Voices in World Literature in French." Hélène Brown, Principia College, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Irish Studies: "Contemporary Irish Literature." Paying tribute to the dynamic change that has recently occurred in Ireland, this panel seeks to approach the 2008 M/MLA conference theme of fame/infamy through concentration on living Irish writers. Throughout history Irish writers have reveled in depicting fame and infamy in their works. Often their depictions have spanned religious, political, cultural, and artistic boundaries. Some writers have sought to express such tensions through experimental structures and techniques; others have reinvigorated more traditional forms. Standard constants, however, have been an assured narrative voice, trenchant cultural commentary, and stylistic finesse (or bravado). Proposals (of 200-250 words) on any living Irish novelist, poet, or dramatist should be sent by April 15, 2008, to Gavin Keulks at email@example.com.
Italian: "Realism, Naturalism, Symbolism: Definitions of Modernity at the Dawn of Italian Modernism." The session aims at clarifying the distinctions among the three terms, Realism, Decadence, Symbolism, traditionally employed to describe late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Italian literature at least until the arrival of the avant-gardes and World War I. Papers are welcome on authors such as Verga, D'Annunzio, Pascoli, Fogazzaro, Pirandello and any other author of the period. Ernesto Livorni, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison, firstname.lastname@example.org
Linguistics: "Language Variation." This session invites papers that describe one or more non-standard dialects of a language. Possible topics may include but are not limited to: differences in the production of the dialect; differences in its perception; its evolution, status, or role in given communities; teaching about the aforementioned aspects. Jessica Miller, Univ. of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, email@example.com
Literary Criticism: "Criticism After the Cold War." This session will examine practices of post-Cold War literary criticism as well as ideas about literature and the world that inform them. Samuel Cohen, Univ. of Missouri, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Luso-Brazilian: “Writing against the Flow: Dysfunction, Dystopia and Detours in Lusophone Literature.” We welcome papers that deal with misrepresented groups, voices, peoples, and ideas (papers can be presented either in Portuguese or English). Please send abstracts (250-word limit) to Renato Alvim (email@example.com) or to Carolina Castellanos (firstname.lastname@example.org) by April 15.
Media Studies: "New Media: Negotiating Global Citizenship." M/MLA Media Studies section invites papers on the influences of New Media on global citizenship. Possible topics include New Media and: identity and the global citizen, citizen rights and responsibilities in the global village, global activism, global positioning/systems and surveillance, asset mapping. Please send 200-word proposals to Lisa A. Baird, Purdue Univ. North Central, email@example.com.
Modern Literature: "Commonwealth Literature." Papers addressing twentieth-century literature from any of the Commonwealth countries. Postcolonial approaches are welcome, but not obligatory. Please send 250-word abstracts to Rosemary Johnsen, Governors State University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Multicultural Literature in Classroom: Politics and Pedagogy: "Film and Other Visual Texts." Stuart Hall’s turn to the visual arts to address the rich “multicultural question” of how European societies can begin to reconcile “equality and difference” is the starting point of this session. Teachers of multicultural literature often count on visual texts (feature films, documentaries, photographs, illustrations, and so on) to make other cultures come to life for American students. These artifacts do the cultural work of rendering otherness visible, at once compelling and estranging, as they facilitate and problematize understanding of the worlds in which they are embedded. How do multiculturalists teach visual texts of otherness? What are the assumptions and objectives behind visual pedagogies of multiculturalism? How may difference (cultural, racial, ethnic) be taught alongside equality? Please send a 200-word abstract by April 15 to Alpana.email@example.com. Alpana Sharma, Wright State Univ.
Native American Literature: "On the Rez, Off the Rez." What do traditional stories and more recent literary works have to say about the importance of a sense of place for Native Americans? Where is home if one does not live on traditional land? If one does not live on a reservation? How are particular tribal values acknowledged, accepted, rejected, or altered in a context that combines tribal groups and/or reservations? Janet La Brie, Univ. of Wisconsin-Waukesha, firstname.lastname@example.org
Old and Middle English Literature and Language: "Comparative Approaches to Old and Middle English Texts." Valentine A. Pakis, Univ. of Minnesota, email@example.com
Peace Literature and Pedagogy: "The World Sustains Us: Narratives of Food, Water and Peace." In 1961, John F. Kennedy said of his “Food for Peace” program that “Food is strength, and food is peace, and food is freedom…” This panel invites papers that address those connections. Adequate access to resources is fundamental to assuring peace. Discussions of narratives revealing problems of sustenance—nutritious food and clean water—in a global economy are especially welcome, as are multiple and interdisciplinary perspectives. Lisette Gibson Díaz, Capital Univ., firstname.lastname@example.org
Popular Culture: "Commonplace Books, Scrapbooks, and Blogs." This panel seeks to establish an intellectual and literary continuity between the Renaissance educational practice of commonplacing, the 19th-century activity of literary scrapbooking, and 21st-century blogging. Mike Chasar, Univ. of Iowa, email@example.com
Religion and Literature: "Conversion, Identity and Otherness." When Paul claims in his letter to the Galatians that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female” in a Christian identity, he provocatively raises questions about how religious conversion can simultaneously efface and construct a sense of personal and group identity. How does a sense of religious belonging affect other ways of defining identity (including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, class)? Does the convert become assimilated into a new identity, or does she/he reconfigure traditional categories to represent more accurately a sense of self? Papers dealing with a range of religious identities and historical periods are encouraged. Send 1-2-page abstract to Meredith Neuman at firstname.lastname@example.org by April 15, 2008.
Science and Fiction: "The Legacy of Philip K. Dick." This panel will consider the impact of renowned science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, both in terms of his novels and short stories and in terms of the films adapted from his work. In what ways does Dick’s fiction revisit and revise common conventions of both science and fiction? How has his approach to genre forms and conventions altered the evolution of science fiction? Abstracts for this panel should explore either the texts by Philip K. Dick or those based on his work with the same aims of critical redefintion that Dick’s fiction itself performs.
Some of the possible Philip K. Dick-related texts to consider include: Novels such as: Ubik, The Man in the High Castle, Valis, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said, Confessions of a Crap Artist. Movie adaptations based on Dick’s work, such as: Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, Paycheck, A Scanner Darkly, Next. Other authors, filmmakers, or texts directly or indirectly influenced by the work of Philip K. Dick.
Some possible topics to consider include:
-the connections between Dick’s science fiction and questions of philosophy, science, culture, class, race, and gender
-the relative capacity for cultural transformation through "high culture" ideas in a "low culture" genre
-the critical function of synthesizing or questioning other genres with science fiction
-the relationships between film adaptations and Dick’s source material
-the fame/infamy of Philip K. Dick, his work, and his characters
Please send 150-300 word abstracts to Greg Wright at email@example.com, or mail to:
Greg Wright, English Department, 203 Humphrey House, Kalamazoo Coll., 1200 Academy Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49006. E-mail submissions are preferred. The deadline for abstracts is March 31, 2008.
Science and Literature: "The Relationship between Naturalism and Science from 1859 to 1940." The advent of Darwinian science has long been recognized as greatly influencing the development of American naturalist fiction. From its insistence on an evolved cosmos to arguments made for an evolving social order, Darwinian science helped to shape the fiction of—among others—Crane, Dreiser, Norris and London. Papers are sought that explore those connections, especially those that offer a variety of interpretive methodologies. Particular attention will be given to papers that relate to the Conference theme of “fame/infamy.” Richmond B. Adams, Southern Illinois Univ. Carbondale, firstname.lastname@example.org
Shakespeare and Shakespearean Criticism: Open Topic. The session invites papers on any topic on Shakespeare and Shakespearean Criticism. Particularly of interest, however, are papers related to the conference theme of Fame/Infamy. Some examples include the following topics: Rumor, Slander, Calumny; Praise and Blame; Renaissance Self-Marketing; Crime, Criminality and Notoriety; Fame and Race; Celebrities; Fandom; Scholar Academostars, Quotations; Canon and Anti-canon; Laureates and National Fame; Fame and Class; Artistic Rivalry; Single Author and Collaborator; Gendering Fame; Actors and Theaters; Famous Performances; Fame and Stereotyping; Wealth, Status, Aristocracy; Spectacle. Submit a 250-word abstract by April 21, 2008, to Don Hedrick at email@example.com.
Short Story: "Fame/Infamy in Short Story Writing: 'What makes you so special?'” Not limited to just the story, possibilities may include author, situation/inspiration, or culture. In other words, what makes a story famous? Is it merely the story itself, or does the author have anything to do with it? Is the story culturally driven or is it just an imaginative story; what does it have that makes it appealing to the reader? What makes it so special, so great? What makes it not so great? What of the stories from famous authors that are left behind? This will be the Short Story Panel of the Good and the Bad. Please interpret as you will. Annette Bahringer, Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, firstname.lastname@example.org
Spanish I: Peninsular Literature Before 1700. Open Topic. Abstracts are invited for papers on any topic related to Spanish literature and culture before 1700. Please send 250-word abstracts by April 15, 2008, to Chad M. Gasta, Iowa State Univ., email@example.com.
Spanish II: Peninsular Literature After 1700. Two topics: "Changing Views of Nationhood in Spain." Papers in this session will discuss the changing views of nationhood in Spain as perceived by authors from the 18th to the 21st century. Presentation topics can address a variety of perspectives, such as the viewpoint of the woman, and an array of different genres (fiction, film, poetry, theater, journalism). Topics may include, but are not limited to, costumbrismo, Generation of 1898, realism/naturalism, the theme of censorship, exile, historical revisionism, and/or memory studies. Asbtracts written in English or Spanish will be considered. Please send 250-word abstracts to Kajsa Larson, Univ. of Minnesota, firstname.lastname@example.org, by April 18.
In addition, Open Topic. Abstracts are invited for papers on any topic related to Spanish literature and culture after 1700. Please contact Malcolm Compitello, Univ. of Arizona, email@example.com, by April 25.
Spanish III: Latin American Literature: Open Topic. Debbie Lee DiStefano, Southeast Missouri State Univ., firstname.lastname@example.org
Spanish IV: Literary Theory and Hispanic Criticism: "Issues of Gender in Hispanic Literatures." Abstracts are invited for papers that treat such topics as gender identification, gender difference, gender and violence, and the gendering of genres or modes of discourse. Please submit an abstract (200 words) in the body of an e-mail message by April 16, 2008, to Robert Lesman, Modern Languages, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, email@example.com.
Spanish Cultural Studies: Open Topic. Please send 250-word abstracts by April 23, 2008, to Stephen Vilaseca, Pacific University, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teaching Writing in College: "But I'm Not an English Major!: Connecting College Writing to the Academic Experience." As instructors of composition courses, we often hear this plea when students are faced with assignments, readings, and topics they do not believe will ever have any impact upon their experiences within the college setting or on the jobs they will be obtaining afterwards. The challenge then becomes to make our courses and assignments relevant to students, and show them the greater context of the work they perform within our classrooms. This panel will explore the ways in which this can, and cannot, be achieved, as well as the theoretical issues faced by instructors attempting to "justify" their courses within the ever-changing academic world. Leah Kind, Northern Illinois Univ., email@example.com
Travel Writing/Writing Travel: "Travel and Conflict." This panel is interested in papers examining travel writing as it intersects with violent conflict. From the perspective of those who are persecuted, those who create and/or perpetuate the conflict, and/or those who are "impartial" observers or outsiders, how does this literature engage with/participate in the conflict out of which it arises? How do the issues of violence, armed conflict and war fit into the genre of travel writing? We welcome papers addressing literature of all genres and time periods. Leah Wahlin, Miami Univ., firstname.lastname@example.org
Women in Literature: "Rewriting Women." From Robert Zemeckis’s recasting of Grendel's mother in his recent adaptation of Beowulf to Jane Smiley’s re-imagining of King Lear’s Goneril and Regan in A Thousand Acres to Jean Rhys’s reconsideration of Charlotte Brontë’s Bertha Mason in Wide Sargasso Sea, authors have re-envisioned previously created female characters. This panel seeks papers that address such adaptations or rewritings of women, from medieval to contemporary literature and film. Please send 200-word abstracts by April 15 to Laura.Vorachek@notes.udayton.edu.
Women's Studies: "Narrating Gender Geographies." This session welcomes papers on analyses related to narrating gender geographies. Possible topics include: autobiogeography, gender and place, global bodies and shifting topographies, space matters, and the relationship between gender geographies and post-human theories. Louise Detwiler, Salisbury Univ., email@example.com
Writing Across the Curriculum: "WAC Outreach and Partnerships." In the most recent issue of The WAC Journal, Joan Mullin and Susan Schorn remind us, “When successful WAC workshops, course development protocols, newsletters, and all other typical program elements are in place or have run their course, WAC directors and faculty often need to create other strategies to sustain or reinvigorate participation, interest, and engagement.” What innovative strategies are you using to rekindle faculty, student, and/or administrative involvement? Presentations exploring outreach (in humanities and social and natural sciences, to librarians or professional staff), curricular development, emphases on WAC as local (e.g., grounded in institution, mission), and connections or partnerships forged between WAC and other campus programs (first-year seminars, core curriculum/general education, service learning, academic support, information literacy, study abroad, faculty development) especially welcome. Abstracts of 300-500 words due via email by March 31 to Melanie Brown, St. Norbert College, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Young Adult Literature. "'New' and 'Alternative' Texts in Young Adult Literature." This panel seeks to investigate “new” and “alternative” texts for adolescents by exploring television, film, reality programming, online communities, video games, and other nontraditional genres. We invite participants to explore theoretical approaches to “new” and “alternative” texts, examine the way these texts function, and theorize the way these texts might fit within the field of young adult literature, and we welcome papers which focus on emerging forums that call for literature, poetry, and film produced and published by young adults. Please address questions or abstracts to Melissa Sara Smith at email@example.com or Illinois State University, Department of English, Campus Box 4240, Normal, IL 61790-4240. Abstracts should be 200-300 words and must be submitted by April 15, 2008.
American Dialect Society: "English and Other Languages in the United States and Canada." We welcome papers dealing with varieties of English and other languages spoken in the United States. Presentations may be based in traditional dialectology or in other areas of language variation and change, including sociolinguistics, historical linguistics, anthropological linguistics, folk linguistics, language and gender/sexuality, language attitudes and ideologies, pragmatics and politeness, linguistics in schools, or critical discourse analysis. Deadline for abstracts: April 1, 2008. Abstract specifications: Email submissions only; send abstract as attachment in Word. Abstract should be no more than 250 words, excluding title and references. Include word count at end of abstract and omit identifying information (name, affiliation, etc). Include contact information, affiliation, and abstract title in body of your email. Send abstracts to: Susan M. Burt, Illinois State University, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Association for the Study of Literature and Environment: "The Legacy of Paul Gruchow." Paul Gruchow, who died in 2004, was raised on a small subsistence farm near Montevideo, Minnesota. He was the author of six books, including Journal of a Prairie Year, The Necessity of Empty Places, Grass Roots: The Universe of Home, and Boundary Waters: Grace of the Wild. Gruchow’s writing has often been described as lyrical, beautifully intense, bard-like, and prophetic. While plying his talents as seer and naturalist, Gruchow was also a master of trenchant insight into the right ways of living, as well as the foibles and hypocrisies of modern society. This panel will explore the legacy of his words and thought. Thomas K. Dean, Univ. of Iowa, email@example.com
Henry James Society: "Henry James and Publicity." Papers are invited on any aspect of Henry James and publicity; and there is an opportunity to arrange intersections between these papers and the theme of the convention: Fame/Infamy. Please send a title, abstract (300 words), and short vitae as an e-mail attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 15, 2008 at the latest. Peter Rawlings, Univ. of the West of England, Bristol
Medieval Association of the Midwest: "Famous & Infamous: Medieval Punishments, Penance, and Rewards." These three sessions will examine famous and infamous punishments, penance, and rewards in early literature. Papers may address physical or psychological issues, cosmological or personal metaphors. William Hodapp, College of St. Scholastica, email@example.com
Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature I: "Famous/Infamous Minnesota Writers and Place." In our first session we hope to examine the work of famous/infamous writers born or living in Minnesota and how they use place as a character in their texts. What is their relationship to Minnesota? Why is this important, interesting? Please send inquiries and 1- to 2-page abstracts to Marilyn Judith Atlas, Ohio Univ., firstname.lastname@example.org, by February 23.
Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature II: "Getting Noticed: New Voices in Midwestern Literature." In our second session we plan on talking about contemporary Midwestern literature. Many new voices are emerging from the Midwest. Have they been around long enough to be famous or infamous? How do these contemporary Midwestern writers contribute to the texture of Midwestern/American literature? How do they explore place? Please send inquiries and 1- to 2-page abstracts to Marilyn Judith Atlas, Ohio Univ., email@example.com, by February 23.
Women in French: "Changing Worlds: Promises and Challenges." This panel seeks to explore how changing worlds (including shifting family, political, historical, and/or national alliances, to increased interconnectedness in a “global” world) have forced or inspired women to envision a reconceptualization of their lives: public/private, voice/silence, gender identities, maternity… Pascale Perraudin, Saint Louis Univ., firstname.lastname@example.org
Women's Caucus for the Modern Languages/Midwest I: "Feminist Pedagogy: Transforming Silence." How do we as feminist teachers engage our students in the rich and meaningful relationship between theory and practice, teaching and activism? We invite papers that explore strategies for achieving this goal, for example service learning, teaching language as activism, community research, and campus organizing. Linda S. Coleman, Eastern Illinois Univ., email@example.com
Women's Caucus for the Modern Languages/Midwest II: "Female Academic Superstardom." This panel will explore female academic superstardom from a variety of perspectives. How does a critic or theorist become an "academostar," a famous academic? Is there room on the runway for female "academostars"? What effects have students, teachers, departments, and/or the academy experienced as a result of academic superstar culture? What trends have occurred in academic superstardom, and what do they mean for academic women, female students, and/or for the field? Do female academic celebrities experience superstardom differently than males? How does the fame of a female academic affect the field differently than the fame of a male academic? How do race and/or sexual orientation affect academic superstardom? How do academic memoirs affect the field, both in terms of public perception and actual teaching practices? Andrea Powell, Ball State Univ., firstname.lastname@example.org
Women's Caucus for the Modern Languages/Midwest III: "Women in Popular Music: What About My Reputation?: Fame and the Female Musician." For women in popular music, fame—getting it, maintaining it, losing it, and what you have to do for it—presents problems. Having a career in popular music depends to a certain extent on fame, but questions arise. How do women in popular music achieve fame? What is the role of reputation, good and/or bad, in the career of the woman artist in jazz, rock, pop, hip-hop, and other popular music genres? Has this changed over time? What is the role of the music business—managers, publicists, producers—in the formation of the pop/rock/rap/jazz woman’s public persona? How does fame influence an artist’s work? And what happens when the artist decides fame is irrelevant? Our session will explore these and other questions. Patricia S. Rudden, New York City College of Technology, email@example.com.
PROPOSED SPECIAL SESSION TOPICS
(acceptance not yet determined)
Acclaimed American Women Writers Challenge Injustice, 1888-1922. This session explores how three famous American women writers challenge injustices in literature between 1888 and 1922. Frances Harper serializes Trial and Triumph after Reconstruction’s failure; advocating social and economic integration, Harper demands full citizenship rights and an end to discrimination while condemning race prejudice and the intellectual hegemony that overlooks African Americans. Edith Wharton in The House of Mirth demonstrates that people construct identity around class in an elitist mentality resulting in the unequal distribution of wealth and the formation of cliques that deny human sympathy, allowing no one to act heroically or outside of class status. In her drama The Verge, Susan Glaspell raises the question of what happens to intellectual members of society when eugenics law has been applied to heredity and reproduction. Amy Cummins, Fort Hays State Univ., firstname.lastname@example.org
Afro-Caribbean Identity: Space, Culture, and Literature. In this session, we welcome papers in English that explore Afro-Caribbean culture history, literature, and geographical space. We also invite papers dealing with literary trends or movements such as: Negritude, Negrismo, Antillanité, Créolité, etc… All abstracts should be forwarded electronically to email@example.com. Mamadou Badiane, University of Missouri-Columbia
American Cultural Studies. Papers welcome on any aspect of American Cultural Studies from any time period in US history. Particularly relevant are papers that speak to the conference theme of “fame/infamy.” Papers may address material culture in the U.S. (automobiles, clothing, toys, etc.), popular culture (television, movies, music, fashion, etc.), media (journalism and the internet), and others. Papers may also investigate high culture through the lens of cultural studies. Please send abstracts and queries to Elizabeth Klaver, firstname.lastname@example.org, by April 15, 2008.
American Studies Beyond the Center-Periphery Model. Recent work on global circulatory systems has placed a center-periphery model of global socioeconomic flows under a lot of scrutiny, frequently asking whether or to what end this model remains relevant. This panel seeks papers addressing what functions the center-periphery model serves for an understanding of the circulation of texts, bodies, ideas, especially in relation to the field of American studies. What role does willful transposition or misrecognition play in maintaining the stability of a discourse? Where are moments when the center of the center-periphery model shifts, why, and who (re)defines the center? What cycles of commodification circulate when consumption becomes a form of production? Is there a choice between endless consumption and the recycling of earlier themes? How does the integrity of a nation-state hold up in an era of increasingly complex and transnational flows of finance capital and does this obviate or sophisticate a center-periphery model? 250 word abstracts and a brief CV to Nathan Leahy (email@example.com) or Jason Malikow (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 15 April.
Animals and Imperialism in Literature and Film. Writing on the emergence of the public zoo in the 19th century, John Berger affirmed that “[t]he capturing of the animals was a symbolic representation of the conquest of all distant and exotic lands.” Authors and filmmakers have frequently employed images of captive animals in the promotion and justification of empire-building projects as well as in critiques of imperialist activities. This session welcomes papers that explore the functions of wild or domesticated animal imagery in literary or filmic representations of imperialism. Examples might include, but are not limited to, narratives of exploration, discovery and encounter; animal imagery in nationalistic or nation-building poetry or prose; and animal characters in children’s literature (e.g. the Babar books or the works of Syd Hoff). Stacy Hoult-Saros, Valparaiso Univ., email@example.com
Book Studies-American Studies I: Nineteenth-Century American Book Performances. This panel broadly considers the construction, production, dissemination, and performance of printing, reading, and writing in the 19th-century United States . How does the physical structure and manipulation of the book-object mediate the social-political attachments undergirding the national imaginary? How do visual and aural representations of reading and writing in the American theatre elaborate, critique, and/or transform ideologies of race, gender, and class? How might we understand the ideological implications of cross-pollinating budding American industries with printing and publishing networks? Please send 250-word abstracts to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 15, 2008. Mark Mattes, Univ. of Iowa
Book Studies-American Studies II: The Visual Text in Twentieth-Century Print Cultures. This panel is meant as an eclectic consideration of how the “linguistic codes” we find in twentieth-century printed objects are made meaningful by a host of visual devices and strategies. What is the location of erotic illustration in burgeoning mid-century discourses on sexuality? How might we excavate genealogies of visually representing the sonic dimensions of the text? What are the linkages between typographical innovation and narrative experimentation? Please send 250-word abstracts to email@example.com by April 15, 2008. Mark Mattes, Univ. of Iowa
Celebrity, Politics and Literary Prizes in France. Literary prizes such as the Prix Goncourt, founded in 1896 to recognize “le meilleur ouvrage en prose paru dans l’année,” confer a measure of fame and prestige to a text as well as to its author. Yet decisions concerning some laureates have been contentious. What, then, are the criteria and how do they evolve over time? How do factors such as contemporary politics or an author’s renown influence a candidate’s nomination and prize distribution? To what extent are laureates guaranteed admission to the literary canon? Finally, how is the literary prize model borrowed to lend legitimacy to cinematic texts? For this session, we welcome papers on topics related to literature and/or cinematic prizes, censorship (the controversial exclusion/coronation of certain works) and topics examining the relationship between fame and authorship. Please send abstracts to: Marion Duval, Department of French and Italian, University of Iowa, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Celebrity, Reception, and Literary Production. P. David Marshall points out that “celebrity is a negotiated ‘terrain’ of significance.” This panel is interested in exploring that “terrain.” We invite papers that investigate authors’ and audiences’ negotiations of literary meaning in the contested terrain of celebrity. How does an author’s celebrity affect readers’ interpretations of his or her works? How does the celebrity author, in turn, attempt to manage audience’s responses to their works in a culture where reputation alters interpretation? We welcome papers on authors whose celebrity affected their writing and reception. The nation of origin or period of the works covered is less important than the papers’ engagement with the ideas of meaning creation generated by theories of celebrity and reception. Send 1-2 page abstracts by April 15 to Bonnie Carr O’Neill, Wake Forest University, email@example.com.
Changing of the Guard: Anxieties of Succession in England, 1595-1605. As we prepare for a changing of the guard in Washington, D.C., the English prepared for and adjusted to a changing of the guard in the years up to and after 1603, when Elizabeth died and James VI of Scotland succeeded her as James I of Britain. What do we learn from the literature of this period about the popular attitudes toward succession? What range of emotional and intellectual responses do we see represented, and in what ways? Papers on both literary and non-literary treatments of popular response to the succession issue are invited. Barbara Mather Cobb, Murray State Univ., firstname.lastname@example.org
The City and Literature: The Trail of More than Two Cities. The city has occupied a significant place in the field of geography, history, and anthropology. There are many literary works that deal with certain cities and make them visited and revisited every time a reader or a literary scholar ponders upon these works. Certainly, world literature has many cities like The Dickensian London. This session invites papers that address the city as a theme or setting in works of fiction. The scope is any medieval or modern world city, and a comparative analysis of more than one city is also welcome. Asaad Al-Saleh, Univ. of Arkansas, email@example.com
Contemporary Cultural Issues: Fame and Scandal. Please submit abstracts to Devoney Looser, Univ. of Missouri-Columbia, firstname.lastname@example.org, by April 25. If you are interested in moderating this session, please contact the M/MLA office at email@example.com.
Creative Writing Theory and Pedagogy. This session invites papers that investigate the creative writing process, concepts such as inspiration and creativity, and approaches to teaching creative writing. Participants are encouraged to draw on insights from educational psychology, composition studies, and other fields, as well as to consider the unique aspects of creative writing practice and pedagogy. How do our writing and teaching inform each other? What kinds of research are being conducted, or could be conducted, in creative writing pedagogy? How do we develop theoretical frameworks and disciplinary or institutional supports to further our pedagogical research? Please submit abstracts of 250-500 words (in the body of an e-mail and as an attachment) to Ann Linde, University of Minnesota, firstname.lastname@example.org by April 15.
Cultures of American Poetry. Since F.O. Matthiessen defined the American renaissance almost seventy years ago—sans poetry excepting Whitman—American literature has continued to be equated with American fiction. This, Joseph Harrington writes, “despite increased suspicion toward ‘theories of American literature’.” The turn to cultural criticism in recent years has often meant a turn away from poetry in favor of other genres not closely associated with New Criticism. This panel seeks to redress the marginalization of American poetry and invites papers addressing any aspect of poetry in the Americas and its relation to American culture. Papers that attempt to theorize poetry’s relation to American cultures within specific historical periods or focus on poets underrepresented in scholarship will be given preference. Wendy R. Roberts, Northwestern Univ., email@example.com
Digital Humanities: Exploring New Directions in Literary and Linguistic Scholarship. The field of Digital Humanities (DH) is rapidly expanding and offers a variety of new opportunities for literary and linguistic research. This session is designed to explore current DH issues and thus welcomes papers addressing a wide range of DH topics. Topics may relate to: text encoding and TEI projects; using digital archives; corpus development; digital editions; DH and the individual scholar; the problems DH researchers face; DH pedagogy; etc. Deadline for abstracts: May 1, 2008. Please send 250-word abstracts to Stephanie Schlitz at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Early Modern Literature: Fame, Infamy, and Ideology. Please submit abstracts to Devoney Looser, Univ. of Missouri-Columbia, email@example.com, by April 25. If you are interested in moderating this session, please contact the M/MLA office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ethics of Infamy. Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is a recent offspring of the legacy of Satan (that includes Milton’s Paradise Lost and Blake’s poetry) as a figure in whose name the inherited morals that Nietzsche names “fossilized violence” are tested and revised. Invited are proposals that focus on Pullman’s trilogy as a revision of the Judeo-Christian tradition, Milton’s use of Satan, Blake’s use of Satan (and/or Milton) against puritanical religion, or that otherwise consider the use or inhabiting of infamy as an ethical choice. Amy Murray Twyning, Univ. of Pittsburgh, email@example.com
Fame/Infamy and Late 19th-/Early 20th-Century U.S. Literature. This session will explore the ways in which notions of fame and infamy structure our understandings of U.S. literature of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a period that saw the publication of such once (and perhaps still) scandalous texts as Dreiser’s Sister Carrie, Chopin’s The Awakening, Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Dickinson’s Poems, Sinclair’s The Jungle, Dixon’s Reconstruction trilogy, and others. How do texts from this period represent issues of fame and infamy? How do the famous/infamous reputations of these texts shape the ways we read and teach them? 250-word proposals to Jeremy Wells at firstname.lastname@example.org by April 25.
Fame, Infamy, and Evil in Contemporary Literature and Film. Please submit abstracts to Devoney Looser, Univ. of Missouri-Columbia, email@example.com, by April 25. If you are interested in moderating this session, please contact the M/MLA office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fame, Infamy, and Spanish Literature. Please submit abstracts to Devoney Looser, Univ. of Missouri-Columbia, email@example.com, by April 25. If you are interested in moderating this session, please contact the M/MLA office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fame Junkies. We seek papers that intervene in and push public discourse about celebrity, fame, and addiction. As a poison and a gift, the pharmakon is one means by which celebrities deal with their “real” and rampant problems with addiction. Consider various possible definitions of fame, and different genres of celebrity, from child-star complexes, to concepts of exposure, exhibitionism, masochism, denial, repetition compulsion, to “rehab” as a commonly accepted “stage” in the career of the artist; from the movie star to the beat poet, from the heroin addict to the death drive, why are we confronted with an epidemic of addiction among the famous? What are the causes, symptoms, and cures of this movement that might be synthesized from material culture and literary texts and concepts? Erin Labbie, Bowling Green State Univ., email@example.com
Fame versus Infamy: Plagiarism—Preventing, Detecting, Responding. Three Dakota State Univ. English faculty will discuss the problem of plagiarism. It is not secret that the internet has made plagiarism a growing problem in classes across the curriculum. Our session will examine three strategies for dealing with plagiarism. First we will discuss assignment strategies that might dissuade plagiarism; next we will describe ways of detecting plagiarism that go beyond the basic "google" search. Finally we will discuss institutional responses to plagiarism once it has been detected. Dr. John H. Laflin, Dakota State Univ., firstname.lastname@example.org
The Famous and Exotic in Literature and Film. There are well-known figures in literature and film that are considered exotic. What makes them exotic? What are the techniques for their representation? This session explores who and what is exotic, and the mechanisms for its representation in literature and film. Ana Adams, Gustavus Adolphus College, email@example.com
Freaks of Fame: '80s Edition. Fame can turn a person into an icon, an icon into a cultural freak. This panel will focus on some of the effects of 1980s celebrity and that decade’s unique brand of famous freakdom. We will be especially interested in essays which discuss one or more celebrity-turned-freaks of the '80s as they attempt in the current moment to reinvent themselves—with varying degrees of success—for the 21st century. Submit abstracts electronically to Marjorie Worthington, Eastern Illinois Univ., firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gender and Nationality on Contemporary Spanish Television. This session invites papers that analyze different aspects of contemporary Spanish culture, specifically gender and national issues, as presented in television series and shows in Spain. Television becomes a fundamental artifact to investigate the continuous changes that Spanish society is facing. How are straight and queer sexualities portrayed on Spanish television? How are the multiple national identities of Spain depicted? How are immigrants represented on Spanish television? Please submit a 250-word abstract to Iker González-Allende, Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln, email@example.com.
The Gendering of Literary and Cultural Fame. Please submit abstracts to Devoney Looser, Univ. of Missouri-Columbia, firstname.lastname@example.org, by April 25. If you are interested in moderating this session, please contact the M/MLA office at email@example.com.
German Women Writers. German Women Writers was introduced and met for the first time last year, at the M/MLA Convention in Cleveland, was heartily welcomed by colleagues at the convention, and the papers presented were well received by the attendees. In fact, as the organizer, I was, and our session’s papers were, solicited by a publisher for a book-length volume of essays, not merely as conference proceedings. Furthermore, I believe this session provides a forum for newer as well as more experienced scholars to share their expertise on writers who may often be underrepresented in the canon and the secondary literature on German writers of all periods and in all genres. Amy Kepple Strawser, Otterbein College, firstname.lastname@example.org
Germany, Europe, and the World: Topics on Integration and Globalization. In the expanding European Union, Germany’s position is gaining momentum and its influence on Eastern European countries is becoming stronger. What cultural and political image does Germany have in the European realm? How do minorities living in Germany and other German-speaking lands reflect on their social, political, and cultural situation? How do they sustain contact with their “home” countries, and what role does their new “Heimat” play? Considering that 2008 is being labeled the year of integration in Germany, what are the economical and cultural implications of integration within the larger process of globalization? Vera Pollina (email@example.com) and Elizabeth Frye (firstname.lastname@example.org), Univ. of Illinois at Chicago
"I wish I knew how to quit you": Brokeback Mountain as Cultural Narrative and Film. This session will analyze Brokeback Mountain as a cultural text, which cuts across social discourses of narrative fiction, film text, cultural event, and cultural reception of a pivotal text in American/global cultural spaces. Presenters are welcome to address the film/story from multiple perspectives: gender studies, post-marxism, psychoanalysis, film studies, narratology, queer studies, sexuality studies, ethnic studies, ethnographic studies, cultural studies. All abstracts should be forwarded electronically to email@example.com. Luke Mancuso, St. John's Univ.
Ideological and Aesethetic Infamy: Postcolonialism and the Modernist Text. Postcolonialism offers a trend for reflecting upon modernist aesthetics. In an effort to explore new locations (rhetorical, environmental, and theoretical) within modernist literature, this panel seeks to examine the relationship between the culture and the aesthetics of modernist texts through postcolonial theory. Papers should examine the relationship between writers and their culture in which postcolonial theory brings to bear the tenants of ideological and aesthetic modernism. Ideally, papers should show the development of modernist aesthetics within culture (i.e. gender, ecology, marginalized discourses) and reflect a search for an ideological destination within literature. Donna Decker Schuster, Marquette Univ., firstname.lastname@example.org
The Infamy of Theory. “Theorist as Celebrity and the Infamy of Theory.” Recent films about Derrida and Zizek produced by Zeitgeist, as well as Zizek’s own “Pervert’s Guide to Cinema” and his insistence on the public intellectual as a kind of rock star of theoretical maneuvers, produce a perception of the theorist as a celebrity. What does this popularization of theory do for the theorist as author, what does it do for the popularity of ideas? Does it help to make the theorist or ideas accessible, or does it reinforce the perception of theory (and those who produce it), as infamously difficult? What are the effects, a. of these performances of the theorist as celebrity, and b. of the perceived “difficult” of theory? Finally, can theory itself ever be seen as a pharmakon? Erin Labbie, Bowling Green State Univ., email@example.com
Interrogating the Absence of “Fame” and “Recognition” in Representations of Women of Color Impacted by AIDS. As the AIDS pandemic moves closer to its third decade, scholars, activists, and NGOs are (re)evaluating the ways that individuals and communities are affected by the disease. Women of color are now posited as one of the groups most at risk for contracting HIV, yet cultural representations of this population are rare and rarely heralded. This session seeks to interrogate why there is such a dearth of representation of AIDS as it impacts women of color across the world. Given the conference’s theme of “fame/infamy,” can this lack of representation be read through this lens, or is it more in line with silencing and marginalization? Participants may speak to literary and/or filmic treatments, media representations, stage plays, oral histories, etc. Chris Bell, Syracuse Univ., firstname.lastname@example.org
Literature and Terrorism. In the proposed session “Literature and Terrorism,” an interdisciplinary panel of faculty in the Humanities will analyze literary works dealing with the theme of terrorism. For example, Dostoevsky’s The Devils, as a response to profound social dislocation, focuses on what drives people to fanaticism. Les Justes by Camus offers a moral view of revolutionary violence. The recent play by the Presnyokov brothers, Terrorism (a comedy), explores the ways in which acts of terrorism reflect our own complicity. Finally, Yasmina Khadra’s Les Sirènes de Bagdad provides the western reader with a different view of the moral character of a terrorist and the importance of personal honor. Each of the panel participants will tackle the moral question posed by these texts: Do the ends justify the means? Jolene Barjasteh, St. Olaf College, email@example.com
Memory and Trauma in Postcolonial Writing. I would like to propose a session on “Memory and Trauma in Postcolonial Writing”. My own work has begun to merge these two topics and the growing literature about memory and traumatic experience puts this topic at the intersection of psychoanalytic theory and literature. Trauma as both metaphor and reality is an apt subject heading for discussion of postcolonial texts in a number of ways. While many of the victims of colonialism remain silenced -- either in death or through continued repression in the contemporary era --, the postcolonial writer assumes the voice of the traumatic victim who 0performs the act of narrative remembrance on the victim’s behalf. Kathleen W. Smith, Kalamazoo Coll., firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mezzuzah and the Mestizaje: Latin American Jewish Studies. This session welcomes contributions related to all aspects of Latin American Jewish Studies. Last year we had presentations on film, narrative, and theory. We hope to make this a permanent MMLA session with participation from scholars who have an interest in this vital area of Latin American Studies. Lynne Flora Margolies, Manchester Coll., email@example.com
Multicultural Identity in Creative Writing. This panel seeks to examine the influence of multicultural identity on creative writing. While studies of literature often incorporate authors from a single underrepresented or minority culture, there is rarely a discussion centered around authors that identify as members of two or several cultures. Do these authors have a responsibility to explore multicultural identity through their work? If so, how? How does a multicultural identity influence the “outsider” perspective? In this context, this panel will investigate the many definitions of multicultural identity as well as the many ways these identities influence the creative process. Please send abstracts to Sheena K. Fallon, University of Minnesota, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Narrating Nationalism: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Nationalism continues to define political, economic, religious, linguistic and racial borders. We therefore see a need for on-going discussion and sharing of ideas to interrogate this concept. We invite papers approaching nationalism from multiple viewpoints, theoretical approaches, and historical time periods. This panel’s goal is to shed light on how national narratives and perceptions inform and, in some cases, misguide the formation of identity. Sarah B. Buchanan and James A. Wojtaszek, Univ. of Minnesota, Morris, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
The New Mainstream: Popularizing the Unpopular. Topics on Repression, Restriction and Progress in the German-speaking Context. Western mainstream culture has often been defined in terms of supporting roles and expectations associated with patriarchal societies. Heterosexual norms along with capitalist ideals of productivity and progress are transmitted through literature, film, cartoons, and mass media in general. To what extent can critical/minority voices be heard in the mainstream culture? Do they reinforce, problematize or overthrow patriarchal and capitalist norms? What is the precarious relationship between sub- and mainstream cultures? Germany is the world’s second largest immigrant society and the most populated state in Europe where a variety of subcultures coexist. How does a dialogue between mainstream and minority cultures contribute to the redefinition of mainstream in a wide range of genres? For this panel, we seek contributions that deal with different epochs and within the context of various historical situations. Ervin Malakaj, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago, email@example.com, Natalia Dudnik, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago, firstname.lastname@example.org
Poetry and Philosophy: Rethinking the Divide. Recent discussions on poetry and philosophy have focused on how they might “think” differently—while philosophy depends on logic, reason, or argumentation, poetry uses non-rational or trans-rational methods, affect, and musicality. But poetry’s “thought” is often reduced to the paraphrase of an argument supposedly contained in the poem – an argument that follows the thinking of philosophy. This holds even for analyses which claim to be doing the opposite. Rather than distinguishing between them, might we not consider what philosophy can contribute to the reading of poetry, and poetry to the practice of philosophy? This panel will provide an opportunity to understand how philosophical claims can impact reading practice and how lessons learned through poetry can be brought to bear on philosophical assumptions and methods. Justin Evans, Univ. of Chicago, email@example.com; Jett McAlister, Univ. of Chicago, firstname.lastname@example.org
Power, Gender and Identity in Contemporary Narrative by Hispanic Women Writers. The texts analyzed in this session will raise questions about the limitations imposed by society’s expectations on traditional gender roles, such as power inequalities resulting from fixed gender roles, the identity crises that ensue, as well as their resolution. Elena Sanchez Mora, College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University, email@example.com
The Profane Prairie: Controversial Stories from the Upper Midwest. This panel will present different texts that try, each in its own way, to address controversial themes—racism, blasphemy, adultery, violence, etc.—while negotiating Midwestern codes of politeness, morality, and reticence. Set mostly in the Upper Midwest, in what William Gass calls “the heart of the heart of the country,” these stories explore conservative modes of communication and the ways in which diplomatic decorum both restricts and enriches literary discussions of topics normally expurgated from public discourse. Eleanor (Elly) Williams, Univ. of North Dakota & The Johns Hopkins Univ., firstname.lastname@example.org
Raymond Carver’s In/Famous After/Life. The International Raymond Carver Society proposes to organize a session which resonates with the general convention theme of “Fame/Infamy”. Papers on any aspect of Raymond Carver’s actual or posthumous fame/infamy, whether biographical orliterary, are welcome. Topics may include, but are not limited to, alcoholism, bankruptcy, adultery, divorce, domestic violence, illegal substances, theft (literary or otherwise), the Carver-Lish scandals, Carver’s letters, his‘teaching’ career/scandals, film adaptions, and his posthumous status. Send abstracts (max 250 words) to email@example.com no later than April 15, 2008.
Rebecca West: Feminism, Modernism, Gender, and War. This session welcomes papers on the writings of Rebecca West, whose contribution to early modernist critiques of war, class and gender have too long been underappreciated. Special attention will be given to West’s first novel, The Return of the Soldier, which, as critic Margaret Diane Stetz asserts, “has been both maligned and ignored over the years, but very seldom understood” (63). Our particular scope will include a discussion of feminist narratology and West’s authorial voice, WWII representations of masculinity, and textual symbolism in relation to class and/or gender critique. Maura Dunst, Univ. of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebels, Rogues, and Social Outcasts: Deconstructing Unstable Identities in Hispanic Narrative. This panel will explore identity shifts or transgressions that occur in marginalized, (in)famous characters, from both Spanish and Latin American narrative, as they move through physical space. We will look at how these characters, from Morisco/Muslim slaves to Hispanic detectives and radical environmentalists, assume certain characteristics or identities when in their nucleus, their place of “authenticity.” However, as they venture out into peripheral spaces, dominated by certain social, religious, ethnic, or cultural expectations, they define and redefine themselves. This session will explore the factors that motivate movement, the influence of space on identity, and how these Hispanic characters reinvent themselves as a means of survival. Please send 250-word abstract and one-page CV by April 15 to Bradford Ellis, St. Norbert College, email@example.com.
"Reconstruction is still in abeyance": Walt Whitman and American Reconstruction Cultural Narratives. This session will analyze Walt Whitman's textual production/reception from the postbellum perspectives, which recast antebellum poetry, prose, journalism, fiction, and persona, into the cauldron of American/hemispheric/global post-Civil War Reconstruction cultural narratives. Presenters are welcome to analyze Whitman's textual production/reception from multiple cultural perspectives: globalism, material culture, racial politics, ethnic studies, institutional discourses, reception studies, biographical narratives, gender studies, sexuality studies, post-marxism, psychoanalysis, etc. All abstracts should be forwarded electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org. Luke Mancuso, St. John's Univ.
Re-mapping the English Major: Plotting along New Media, Domestic, and Transnational Borderlines. This session takes up questions about the directions of the English major as a program of study, particularly at this moment when most English departments have traveled well away from their popularly misunderstood fame as “conservators” of a set of canonical texts into the sometimes still infamous territories of teaching theoretical approaches to and methodological practices for approaching texts and cultures. Even as we might feel comfortable in our current practices, recent articles about pedagogy in PMLA, ADE, and elsewhere suggest that that the disciplinary borders of inquiry are ever changing. Using Hamline University’s English department as a case study, this session asks where the discipline of English’s fame is to be found along changing borderlines of both objects of study and approaches to study. Mark Olson, Hamline Univ., email@example.com
Return of the Repressed?: The Place of Psychoanalysis in Contemporary American Studies. If psychoanalytic criticism has suffered from academic disdain, this is especially true in American Studies. Dominated by historical paradigms, American Studies largely rejects “theory” and psychoanalysis in particular. Seeking to open a conversation about the stakes of including, or omitting, psychoanalysis from American Studies, this panel welcomes papers that utilize psychoanalytic frameworks to illuminate some of the most pressing questions confronting American Studies, including race, class, gender, sexuality, globalism, and violence. Topics might include analyses of various psychoanalytic models (e.g., Freud, Lacan, Deleuze, Caruth); inquiries into intersections of psychoanalysis and historicist approaches; and psychoanalytic readings of literary and cultural objects from the United States and Americas. Please send 250-word abstracts by April 15 to Sarah Lahey, Dept. of English, Northwestern University, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scene of the Crime: Investigations of Place in Contemporary Spanish Crime Fiction. This panel will explore the changing sociological, political and, in particular, physical landscape of Spain in the current era of globalization as reflected in contemporary Spanish crime fiction. These challenges might include such factors as the ever increasing presence of multinational businesses and the subsequent dissolution of regional industries, the rapid growth of upscale housing developments and real estate speculation and the unprecedented influx of foreign immigrants. Please send 250-word abstracts by April 15, 2008, to Renée Craig-Odders, University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point, at email@example.com.
Situated Narratives. We invite papers that explore the intersections of postcolonial literature, world literature, and narrative theory. How do writers from around the world use (or subvert) narrative forms (metafiction, fictional autobiography, etc.) to convey their situated realities? How do we evaluate the authenticity of narrated experience and integrate local perspectives into broad theories of literary discourse? Please send one-page abstract by April 1 to Carolyn Ayers, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, firstname.lastname@example.org, and Brooke Lenz, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, email@example.com.
Teaching Castro’s Cuba. How can one teach a topic as divisive, dynamic, complex, and controversial as Cuba? Participants should address strategies and materials for teaching and discussing issues relevant to the widely defined artistic and political landscape of Cuba to students of Spanish in the U.S. Please send abstracts of 250 words electronically to Manuel Fernández, University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, firstname.lastname@example.org, and Geoff Guevara-Geer, Ripon College, email@example.com, by April 15.
Truman Capote. Critical investigations of the literary and cultural work of Truman Capote (1924-1984). Close readings are encouraged. Possible topics include: Capote as famous friend (Harper Lee, Andy Warhol, et.al) and infamous enemy (Norman Mailer, Jacqueline Susann, Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams, et. al.), the dialectic of fame/infamy, and larger issues of celebrity and literary culture; the “rise”, “fall”, and “revival” of the author; Capote’s influence in fiction, reportage, and the nonfiction novel; biography / bio-pic; and fictional accounts of the author (inclusive of gossip, rumor and innuendo). Please send one-page abstract and CV to Douglas Dowland, firstname.lastname@example.org, by April 11, 2008.
Twentieth-Century Fame and Celebrity. Please submit abstracts to Devoney Looser, Univ. of Missouri-Columbia, email@example.com, by April 25. If you are interested in moderating this session, please contact the M/MLA office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Utopia and Science Fiction. Recent critical works, such as Fredric Jameson’s Archaeologies of the Future, have emphasized and rethought the relation between utopia and science fiction. The papers in this session continue such work by offering new perspectives on utopia and science fiction. The papers refer to a variety of issues, including anarchism, the environment, surveillance, allegory, and collective subjectivity. Texts under discussion include American science fiction novels, such as Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed and Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars, as well as English Chartist fiction of the nineteenth century. Nicholas Spencer, Univ. of Nebraska–Lincoln, email@example.com.
Victorian Authors, Readers, and Publishers. This session will examine the relationships between Victorian authors, readers, and publishers with an emphasis on the business of literature. How do authors view themselves as both artists and workers? How do readers “value” literature as both culture and commodity? How do publishers serve as mediators between authors and readers? How does the production of books affect authors, readers, publishers, and their relationships? Proposed papers may deal with the history of the book, the book as a material object, book production and sales, advertising, reader responses, author studies, or other related topics. Please send abstract and CV to Troy J. Bassett, Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne, firstname.lastname@example.org, by April 11, 2008.
Victorian Power/Victorian Violence. This session invites papers that investigate and analyze the intersections between various forms of power (realized in discursive, institutional, and physical practices) and acts of violence as they are addressed and represented in Victorian literature. Though universally condemned, violence was a pervasive reality in 19th century Britain; thus, in the session we might consider: how violence is defined in various paradigmatic texts of the 19th century; the various forms of institutional violence that are reified and tolerated in Victorian culture and society; patterns of violence that may be characterized as distinctly Victorian; the allure and use of violence in Victorian popular culture. Kevin Swafford, Bradley Univ., email@example.com
War, Text, Women and Power. Papers will consider war as what Margaret Higonnet calls a “clarifying moment” revealing systems of gender in flux and highlighting their workings. Intersections of the construction of women’s subjectivity in war with the male gaze, violence, militarism, cross-dressing, spectacle, and/or surveillance are welcome. Jennifer Shaddock, Univ. of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, firstname.lastname@example.org