The Midwest, The Middle Class, and Queerness in the Mid-Twentieth Century; MAASA Conference; Tulsa, OK; April 1-3, 2012

full name / name of organization: 
Elyse R. Vigiletti / University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
contact email: 

Literature and culture critics are beginning to realize that the study of literature and print culture suffers from an obsession with the urban and the avant-garde. There exist huge archives of print and literary artifacts which, forgotten by academia, may have much to reveal about American literary and print history. As some have argued, there may be great potential in constructing a literary and print history that includes the sort of widely circulated "middlebrow" works that were reliably consumed by the reading public. As a few have argued, this centeredness on urbanity is particularly a problem in queer studies, thus rendering rural and/or middlebrow queer literature and print culture rich with possibilities for recovery.

As we're slowly discovering, not all queer artifacts have urban migration at their center and an avant-garde aesthetic. Lesbian pulp novels and queer "genre fiction" suggest a middlebrow audience, and Ann Bannon's most enduring work (though, admittedly, "most enduring" in lesbian pulp fiction in academia is no high praise) is set in the Midwest; some periodicals reveal queer discontent with compulsory urbanization. This panel is interested in exploring this oft-neglected queer archive.

The MAASA annual conference is interested in scholarship that explores mid-America as cultural concept and is an ideal space to begin a discussion about a queer middlebrow archive. This panel is interested in papers that consider rural or middle-class queerness in twentieth century mid-America as it can be understood through print, literature, or film. What can queer literary and cultural artifacts reveal about the how middle-class, non-urban queer individuals understood themselves?

Submissions should be 250 words. Please include your name, your university affiliation, and your contact information, by January 7.

(Link to MAASA website: )