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Edward P. Jones and the City (MELUS Conference 4/8/10-4/11/10)
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The MELUS Conference theme for 2010 seeks to “explore literature of the city and theories of the urban experience in a multi-ethnic context.” In keeping with this theme, this panel wants to engage with the story collections of Edward P. Jones, specifically Lost in the City (1992) and All Aunt Hagar’s Children (2006). The preponderance of scholarship on Jones’s work heretofore has focused primarily on his Pulitzer-Prize winning novel The Known World (2003). Therefore, this panel wants to widen the scope of Jones critical study to include these other texts with a variety of questions in mind. How does the setting for these texts (Washington D.C.) function within the texts? How does the urban environment relate to U.S. ethnic and racial experience? How is ethnicity and race molded and influenced by the city, and vice versa? In what ways does the short story, story collection, or short story cycle enhance or detract from representing such a complex relationship? How can narrative tools such as narrator, narratee, implied author, time, duration, etc. help us understand how these stories come together? How can these texts help us better understand not only relationships in terms of race but also other hegemonic interactions? We are open to a wide array of approaches to these texts. Abstracts may explore particular stories within one the story collections, an entire collection, or both collections in concert with one another. Please send your abstracts of 250 words to Christopher Gonzalez (firstname.lastname@example.org) by December 1, 2009. You must be a member of MELUS in order to present at the conference. Please visit the MELUS website (http://webspace.ship.edu/kmlong/melus/) for more information on the society and the conference.