This seminar seeks to draw on the growing body of work oriented toward the transnational and global turn in American Studies to trace connections between the Indian subcontinent and the United States in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. We invite papers that examine the traffic (of ideas, texts, people, commodities) between India and the U.S. to provide a window into the ways in which India was part of the cultural landscape and imaginary of the U.S. from its inception, and performed important ideological work in domestic conversations such as those surrounding race, nation, religion, gender, and trade.
The reputations of Hartford, Connecticut, residents Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mark Twain overshadow the city's antebellum authors. NeMLA 2016 seems ideally situated for a session to raise the academic appreciation and profile of earlier writers who contributed to Hartford's historical literary legacy, which includes Lydia Sigourney, Ann Plato, abolitionist ministers like Lyman Beecher and Amos G. Beman, and Hartford-born pamphlet writer Maria Stewart. Hartford was also a publishing center with a young Samuel G. Goodrich and later, Lewis Skinner, who printed Rev. James C. Pennington's book about African and African American history; lexicographer-journalist Noah Webster was of West Hartford, and The Charter Oak, was Hartford's anti-slavery newspaper.
The Evidence of Realism
[For the annual meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association at Harvard University, March 17-20 2016]
How do texts--and especially realist texts--and their plots use or complicate the idea of evidence? What sort of evidence do such texts seem to assume readers require in order to encounter the "effect of the real"? And how do contemporaneous ideas of evidence from philosophy, legal theory, or science provide context for the consideration of evidence in literary works?
With dynamic individual superhero/superhuman characters populating a world of complex, interwoven mythologies and origin stories, the films and television series of Marvel Comics Studios present an experiment with long-form transmedia storytelling that is at once both commercially successful and critically acclaimed. Given the ongoing debate in film criticism and media studies surrounding the degree to which analyzing films as literature is useful (or not), that such a commercially popular phenomenon also emphasizes artistic elements (e.g.
Deadline for abstract submissions: September 30th 2015
In worlds full of superhuman heroes, mythological imaginary creatures and battle narratives of epic scope, what is the role of the domestic? In the recently released film _Avengers: Age of Ultron_, the titular superheroes hide away not in a high-tech secured stronghold but in a farmhouse belonging to the archer Hawkeye, his wife, and their young children. Barton's presence as the film's only parent with a seemingly stable domestic lifestyle provides a temporary shelter for our heroes, illustrating how the domestic can function as a stable ground for the superhero narrative to withstand its otherwise fantastic, explosive elements.
This seminar will explore how national identities have been forged through the manipulation and deployment of animals and animality. How have animals, and ideas associated with such animals, been used to construct imagined communities? How have these constructions helped to strengthen or weaken national borders? How have assertions of imagined community, as expressed via relations with animals, overlapped with racial/ethnic identities?
Foundational texts, events, and people influence our cultural and national personas. In the United States, for example, people may look to the Constitution and patriotic songs or even the bible as foundational texts--texts that define (and limit?) national identity. We often see events such as the Salem Witch Trials, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement as critical moments of national formation, while people such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr. represent quintessential "Americans.". These foundational texts, events, and people work their way into literature and pop culture in myriad ways as authors, writers, poets, filmmakers and playwrights incorporate, reify, or challenge them through their works.
THE "POETESS" IRL: The World, Work, and Performances of Nineteenth-Century Women Poets
What was the nineteenth-century woman poet like in real life? This panel seeks to unsettle current definitions by attending to her performing/reforming body and the work she did in the material world.
From sympathetic contagion to animal magnetism, nervous physiology to cell theory and germ theory, nineteenth-century medical theory and practice imagined human embodiment in open relation to the environmental, economic, religious, and political forces that shape historical experience. Often represented in both cultural and physiological terms, disease functioned as both sign and symptom of the irrevocable togetherness of mind and body, something to be combatted morally and technologically by prudence and enlightened reason.