Psychopathology in American Literature (01/15/10; ALA, 05/27-05/30/2010)
This call invites proposals for papers to be presented at the 2010 American Literature Association conference in San Francisco, CA, May 27-30.
In The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, Freud explains that "the border-line between the nervous, normal, and abnormal states is indistinct." Consequently, while phenomena such as forgetting, slips of the tongue, and other "mistakes" are generally seen by society as normal, one could argue that they are in fact the foundation for more menacing psychopathologies like paranoia, schizophrenia, personality disorders, or even homicidal behavior.
While Freud's interest is predominantly psychoanalytic, later theorists like Horkheimer and Adorno, Habermas, Foucault, Badiou, Althusser, and Žižek—to name a few—have explored the institutionalization of psychopathology and its effects on contemporary culture.
With this in mind, this panel seeks to explore psychopathology in the works of American writers, including—but not limited to—Melville, Hawthorne, Dickinson, Faulkner, Poe, Burroughs, Ginsberg, Kerouac, Baldwin, Ellison, and DeLillo. Papers taking a variety of approaches, including psychoanalytic, sociological, and political are welcome.
Please send an abstract of 250-500 words, along with a brief CV, to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, January 15, 2010. Please include all relevant contact information as well as any need for audio-visual equipment. Each paper will be allotted 20 minutes, equaling 8-10 pages in MLA format.