full name / name of organization:
CFP: Shaping the Future of Octavia Butler: Towards Understanding Her
Legacy (9/15/06; NEMLA, 3/1/07-3/4/07)
Call for Papers
Panel Title: Shaping the Future of Octavia Butler: Towards Understanding
38th Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
March 1-4, 2007
The recent, tragic death of Octavia Butler occasions comments about her
legacy. A recipient of a MacArthur "genius" grant and the Nebula and Hugo
awards, and a rare voice in a genre dominated by white men, Butler has
drawn much critical attention. This panel seeks to identify and trace
Butler's characteristic concerns: the individual and the community, the
mobility of identity, the semi-permeable barrier between self and Other,
the voice of the liminal, and the nebulous and changing loci of race,
gender and sexuality.
Ultimately, the panel will attempt to define the importance of Butler’s
*To what extent did she help to humanize science fiction, to raise
questions of humanity in a genre that is often more concerned with plot
and theme or the end of humanity altogether?
*How did her voice influence science fiction, African-American literature,
*What new possibilities did her work open up in any or all of these genres?
*How did her view of the self influence other writers and/or foreground
discussions of the nature of self?
*To what extent did she write from the margins? To what extent bring the
margin into the center?
*What new ground did she break, and what lasting effects has she had on
other writers and on the various genres within which she worked?
These are preliminary questions, of course, and they rise as well from
certain assumptions about the nature of literature and of humanity. Papers
that question the validity of these questions as they pertain to the work
of Octavia Butler will also be given serious consideration; the panel
seeks to open up a discussion rather than deliver a summative judgment. We
welcome papers that examine characteristic themes in any work or her opus
as a whole.
Please submit 250-500 word abstracts by September 15 to Shari Evans,
either as a word attachment to sevans_at_umassd.edu, or in hard copy to
Assistant Professor of English
University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth
285 Old Westport Road
North Dartmouth, MA 02747-2300.
For further information on NEMLA and the convention, please see the
NEMLA website: www.nemla.org.
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or write Jennifer Higginbotham: higginbj_at_english.upenn.edu
Received on Fri Aug 04 2006 - 09:27:28 EDT