NEMLA Call for Papers 2014: Anglophone/Transnational Literatures

Set in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the Northeast Modern Language Association’s 45th annual convention continues the association’s tradition of generative scholarship. The 2014 event will include guest speakers, literary readings, professional events, and workshops; and will have a special emphasis on drama and creative writing. A reading by George Saunders will open the Convention. Located on the Susquehanna River, Harrisburg is known for its vibrant restaurant scene, historical sites, the National Civil War museum, and nearby Amish Country and antique shops. The 2014 convention will be downtown at the Hilton Harrisburg and the Crowne Plaza. Events with transportation will be planned to help you make the most of your stay.

The convention will be held April 3-6.


CFP Now Available

The session proposal process is now closed. The call for papers (CFP) is
available online and will appear in NeMLA’s summer
newsletter by early June; abstracts are due to session chairs by 30 September 2013.


Here are some calls for papers in Anglophone and other transnational literatures….

Achebe at the Turn of the 21st Century (Roundtable)
This board-sponsored panel focuses on examining the works, legacy and the interpretations of works written by Chinua Achebe at the turn of the twenty-first century. Those who are interested in participating in this panel must submit a 300-350 word proposal along with their name, e-mail and academic affiliation to La Rose T. Parris <
Aesthetics of Dalit and Tribal Literature
While the burgeoning publication of Dalit and tribal writers is heartwarming, it demands the need for a critical reading of the ever newer crop of poets and novelists. Writers like Bama, Daya Pawar, and Bisakha Mahji demand an aesthetic re-framing by which they are judged. Do we’ead’ Dalit and tribal writing as merely palimpsests of history, social critique, and reportage? How do we judge Dalit feminist writing that exposes personal and societal oppression? Pramila Venkateswaran, Nassau Community College.
The Age of Dystopia
There has, in recent years, been an increase in the number of dystopian works of literature meant for adults and ’young adults,’ as well as television programs and films with a dystopian flavor. This panel will examine reasons for the recent increase in popularity of dystopia as well as looking at particular works and the ways they approach the genre. Margaret Atwood’s Maddaddam trilogy and The Hunger Games trilogy stand out for their popularity but lesser known works are welcome. Abstracts to:
Amitav Ghosh at the Turn of the 21st Century
This board-sponsored panel examines the novels and essays written by Amitav Ghosh from 2000 until the present. Possible areas of investigation include the evolution of Ghosh’s methodology and writing style over the past 14 years, Ghosh’s engagement with contemporary social, cultural, environmental, and (geo)political issues, and the literary influences that can be traced in his recent novels. Participants are invited to submit 250-350 word proposal (including name, e-mail address and academic affiliation) to Adam Drury <>.
Bachelors, Bastards, and Bad Boys in the Transatlantic World, 1600-1865 (Seminar)
This seminar will examine how various forms of manhood—including but not limited to bachelors, bastards, and bad boys—are represented in a range of English and American texts from the seventeenth through the mid-nineteenth century. It is particularly interested in how modes of exchange across geographies, classes, genders, or cultures articulate male deviancy or legitimacy. Participants are invited to submit 250-300 word abstracts as MSword or PDF attachments to Jordan Windholz, with BBB in the subject line.
Beyond Post-Colonialism: Embeddedness in Colonial Hegemony and Re-Othering
Sherman Alexie has rendered the dilemma faced by the post-colonial author who, embedded within the colonial hegemony, finds himself ‘othering’ recent immigrants to the United States. Fraught with prejudice and irony, the dilemma of the Native American author faced with a recent immigrant speaks to the complex experience of post-colonial indigenous authors. This panel explores this phenomenon of the indigenous writer’s negotiation of boundaries of racial, cultural and political identity as s/he encounters the new immigrant.
A Celebration of Janet Frame, New Zealand Writer
Abstracts are sought on the unique style and subjectivity of the work of New Zealand writer Janet Frame. Comparative papers and discussions of film adaptations of Frame’s works (An Angel at My Table dir. by Jane Campion, and A State of Siege, dir. by Vincent Ward) are welcome, as are explorations of the work of members of Frame’s circle — sexologist John Money, writer Frank Sargeson, painter Bill Brown (William Theophilus Brown) — and their impact on Frame’s style and approach. Send to:, with subject NeMLA 2014.
Child Abuse and the Supernatural
This panel examines child abuse figures in 20th century narratives that use a supernatural frame and/or supernatural elements. What aspect of abusive environments does the supernatural represent? Is the supernatural used by the child to regain agency? Or does it further objectify? Papers will focus on the abused child’s function in a supernatural frame, bearing in mind questions of space, autonomy, and boundaries in relation to both child subject and supernatural element/environment. 300-word abstracts
Contemporary Irish Poets and the Poetics of Space
One of the goals of the Irish Literary Revival was the formulation of an ‘Irish sense of place.’ How do contemporary Irish poets articulate and/or interrogate this ‘Irish sense of place’? How does their poetry reflect revisionary stances toward nature? How does it reflect a struggle to forge authentic relationships with nature? Abstracts of 250-500 words may be submitted to Susan R. Bowers,
Crossing Boundaries: Science in Postmodern Fiction
This panel explores the deconstruction of the opposition between literature and science in postmodern fictional narratives. Relevant questions include: 1) Do scientists write differently about the world? 2) Does science as subject define the conclusions drawn by scientific fiction? 3) Is science seen as a malevolent, neutral or beneficial force in novels about science and hard science fiction? Please send 250-word abstracts to
Detecting Nation: Formations of Nationhood and Subjectivity in Detective Fiction
Boasting an international roster of authors of global acclaim, detective fiction is uniquely situated to convey and question national identities. As sleuths solve puzzles against narrative backdrops that conceal the anxieties of nationalism, solving crime consequently becomes a site of struggle with myths of nationhood and national belonging. This panel investigates the outcomes of detective fiction that destabilizes national identity. Send 300-word abstracts to Patrick Henry at with ‘Detective’ as the subject.
Enacting the Unspeakable-Unreal: Trauma Represented in Contemporary Narratives
This panel will examine how trauma narratives–both fiction and memoir–attempt to represent and enact the unrealities of the traumatic experience of war, genocide, rape, sexual abuse, slavery and colonization, and at the same time, compel our understanding of the impact of that experience on the individual, relationality, community, culture and meaning. As such these trauma narratives provoke vexing questions including questions about the ethical function of literature itself. Send 500 word abstract to
Literature and Medicine in the Eighteenth Century
This panel seeks papers that explore the complex intersections between eighteenth-century literature and medical discourse. How does the imbrication of medical language and literary composition provide a frame for understanding the articulation of the body as a sign? How has medical discourse influenced the fashioning of identity, subjectivity, and selfhood? Please submit 300-400 word abstracts and brief biographical statements to Kathleen Alves at .
The Loud Twentieth Century: Literature Sounds Off
This panel invites papers attuned to modern and contemporary exchanges between the printed word and sound matter. In an age of sound reproduction, transmission, and storage, what has, and will, become of a mute medium like the book? What relationships exist between innovations in the technologies of voice and evolutions of the novelistic/poetic/theatrical voice? How has the amplification of noise and the proliferation of sound been represented formally and thematically? Please send 200-300 word abstracts to Fred Solinger (
Modernism and Cuisine
This panel seeks to investigate moments of ‘modernist cuisine.’ Whether in the form of Proust’s madeleine, Joyce’s gorgonzola cheese sandwich, or Woolf’s boeuf en daube, food often emerges in prominent moments across literary modernism. Areas of inquiry include, but are not limited to, modernist representations of cooking, dining, and eating; of taste and disgust; and of processed foods, wartime rations, and colonial foodstuffs. Please send a 300-500 word abstract and a brief biography to Kate Nash (
Modernism and the (Im)Possible ‘Time of the Now’
This panel considers how modernist literature has represented the ‘time of the now,’ and whether an experience of the present is even possible. Temporal experience is inherently traumatic, for there is no present as such. How have literary representations of time responded to the possibility of experiencing the present moment? We seek papers engaging in philosophical and theoretical approaches to modernism’s representations of the ‘now.’ Send 250-word abstracts and brief bio to Matthew Scully at
Postcolonial Ecopoetics of Disaster (Seminar)
This session will discuss the intersections between ecocriticism and postcolonial literatures of disaster. What ecological tropes recur across literatures of disaster from the Global South? What strategies do postcolonial writers deploy to avoid enforcing the stigmatization of their home countries as ‘disaster-ridden?’ How do postcolonial writers use the disaster narrative to explore un-sensational forms of violence and localized environmental ethics? Please send abstracts to
Representing Conflict in Postcolonial Literature and Film
This panel invites critical submissions on the subject of war and violent conflicts as represented and narrativized by the postcolonial literatures and cinema of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. How does the representation of war violence in these texts charge, complicate and/or empower our reception and resistance to it? Please submit abstracts of no more than 300-500 words and a short biography to: Sreyoshi Sarkar at OR Kavita Daiya at
Reviving, and Revising, Henry James (Roundtable)
David Lodge called 2004’he year of Henry James,’ and the Jamesian revival has only intensified over the past decade. This seminar solicits papers on James’s relevance to the present cultural moment: these might address James’s technique, issues of interpretation, the wave of curiosity about his personal life, and the larger question of what he means to the present time, and not just to literary critics. How is James’s influence felt in popular culture and where do we see his vestiges of James in contemporary literature?

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