Kurt Vonnegut at ALA, Boston, May 26-29, 2011
The Kurt Vonnegut Society (www.vonnegutsociety.net) invites proposals for papers to be presented at two sessions of the 2011 American Literature Association in Boston, MA, May 26-29. Presenters need not be members of the Kurt Vonnegut Society (though we certainly hope they will join, especially since we do not have any dues). Please send a 100-word abstract for 15-minute presentations, along with a brief CV, to Robert Tally at firstname.lastname@example.org by January 10, 2011.
1. Kurt Vonnegut: Life as Literature
Few writers have so artfully, yet overtly, combined autobiography with fiction as thoroughly as Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut himself appears as a character in Breakfast of Champions, Timequake, and perhaps Cat's Cradle, but he also draws strongly upon his personal experiences in nearly all of his writings, even those so fantastic or science-fictional as to be considered wholly unrealistic (as in Slapstick, which Vonnegut said is "the closest I will ever come to writing an autobiography"). Of course, Vonnegut also is well known for speaking in his own name in prefaces, speeches, and various pieces of nonfiction. We invite papers dealing with any aspect of Vonnegut's characteristic blending of his life and work.
2. Vonnegut and the Human Sciences
A former anthropology student (later awarded his M.A. from the University of Chicago thanks to the anthropological content of Cat's Cradle), Vonnegut has always been interested in the human or social sciences. Vonnegut's writings explore international relations, politics, economics, anthropology, sociology, and psychology, to name a few, and his views—whether expressed through his works of fiction or given directly in speeches or essays—are often couched in the analytical language of the social sciences. Throughout his career, Vonnegut expresses a keen interest in understanding humankind in all of its absurdity and nobility. Papers dealing with the relations between Vonnegut's work and the human sciences or any specific associated discipline are welcome.