Looking Back on Activism and American Literature

full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
contact email: 
clare.callahan@duke.edu

Call for Papers

Looking Back on Activism and American Literature of the Twentieth Century

41st Anniversary Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)

April 7-11, 2010

Montreal, Quebec - Hilton Bonaventure

Writing in 1940, Walter Benjamin suggests that “the historical progress of mankind” be immobilized so that we may respond to, rather than overlook, social injustices in the present. This panel seeks to examine through the trope of looking back how American literature of the Twentieth Century represents activism and defines its relationship to activism. How does a literature or literary history understand the distinction, if at all, between the world of words and that of action? Along these lines, papers might examine whether symbolic forms, namely literature, are themselves politically effective or if they must be valued as primarily heuristic formations. How, furthermore, can one create praxis through literature? By having characters enact an ideology, can an author potentially generate a clearer picture of how that ideology might work or fail to work in practice? How do authors who may be thought of as “activist” negotiate between faith and skepticism and, on another level, how do they understand the relationship between the individual as the basis for critical consciousness and collective belief and action? Please send 250-500 word abstracts to Clare Callahan at clare.callahan@duke.edu.

Deadline: September 30, 2009

Please include with your abstract:

Name and Affiliation

Email address

Postal address

Telephone number

A/V requirements (if any; $10 handling fee)

The 41st Annual Convention will feature approximately 350 sessions, as well as dynamic speakers and cultural events. Details and the complete Call for Papers for the 2010 Convention will be posted in June: www.nemla.org.

Interested participants may submit abstracts to more than one NeMLA session; however panelists can only present one paper (panel or seminar). Convention participants may present a paper at a panel and also present at a creative session or participate in a roundtable.

Travel to Canada now requires a passport for U.S. citizens. Please get your passport application in early.

cfp categories: 
african-american
american
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
ecocriticism_and_environmental_studies
ethnicity_and_national_identity
theory
twentieth_century_and_beyond