CFP: [American] Schools and Schoolteachers in American Literature (ALA 2009)

full name / name of organization: 
Tasha Kohl
contact email: 

A Panel for the Annual Conference of the
American Literature Association
Boston, May 21-24, 2009

Title: Schools and Schoolteachers in American Literature

John Adams referred to the school as one of the cornerstones of the new
republic; thus, since America’s inception, the school and subsequently the
schoolteacher have occupied a central role in national as well as
individual identity formation. This is clearly illustrated by the nation’s
literature in which schools, schoolteachers and school systems have
maintained a consistent presence. From Irving’s ineffectual schoolmaster,
Ichabod Crane, in “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” to Morrison’s violent
slave-master “Schoolteacher” in Beloved, literary representations of
teachers and the schools which they represent have permeated the fabric of
America literature, revealing a deeply embedded implication that these
figures and institutions have a significant hand in shaping the cultural
meanings of American life. Despite the pervasive presence of teachers and
schools in American literature, there has been little comprehensive
scholarship engaging this critical trope.

This panel responds to this absence by creating a scholarly discourse on
the meanings of American literature’s preoccupation with schools and
teachers. The panel welcomes papers which consider the variant locations of
the schoolteacher, the school and the school system in American literature.
While open to other considerations, papers which explore the role of either
school or teacher in constructing gender, race, and class, and in
delineating the boundaries of national and community membership are
particularly encouraged.

Please send a 250-500 word abstract and brief biographical sketch including
institutional affiliation, contact information, and AV requirements by
January 2, 2009 to:
Tasha Kohl, Fordham University

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Received on Mon Nov 24 2008 - 16:06:05 EST