Affect in American Literature (NeMLA Boston 2020)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Thomas Conners, University of Pennsylvania
contact email: 

This panel sets out to discuss the ways in which affects, emotions, and sensations shape, take shape in, and are shaped by American literatures.

While political theory and cultural studies have meaningfully engaged such theories of affect, it seems as though literary studies still have much to explore. As such, and approaching theories of affect and emotion broadly, we ask the following questions: What are the formal and aesthetic manifestations of affects in literature? How do feelings in literature register, respond to, and reject historical and political realities? What is the relationship between affects and borders, minoritized languages, racial identities, queerness, and national affiliations? In what ways do intangible intensities structure genre, tradition, and canon? How should interpretation respond? This panel looks to examine the implications of affects and feelings in American literature’s many traditions and iterations.

Please submit 300-word abstracts no later than September 30, 2019 through the NeMLA online submission system, found at Please direct any questions to