[UPDATE] William T. Vollmann at ALA 2013 (Boston, May)

full name / name of organization: 
Ralph Clare, Boise State University

One of the notable features of William T. Vollmann's work is its ability to defy simple classification. Whether through its excessive display of language, genre, and experiential "research," as well as its sheer page count, footnotes, and glossaries, Vollmann's expanding oeuvre eludes the usual conceptual categories we might draw upon to understand it. This can be both exhilarating and frustrating, as one of the primary strengths of Vollmann's texts also makes them difficult to deal with critically and pedagogically.

In response to this challenge, this panel seeks papers exploring the notion of "transgression," in its broadest possible sense, in the works of William T. Vollmann. In what ways can we conceive of Vollmann's work as transgressing normative literary, ethical, sexual, national, or temporal boundaries? How can such a theory of transgression offer a way of thinking about Vollmann's work that still respects its radical heterogeneity? Are such transgressions truly subversive, or are they easily subsumed by the moral, political, economic, or social systems that they confront?

Areas of inquiry might include:
--genre mixing
--history as fiction, fiction as history
--traversing national borders and geographical boundaries
--sex and gender "transgressions"
--the relationship between self and "other"
--negotiating center and margin(alized)
--the book as apparatus
--American/transnational literature
--moving beyond postmodernism

Please send a prospective title, 250 word abstract, and the briefest of bios by January 23rd to Ralph Clare at ralphclare@boisestate.edu.