Poetry & Identity in Ethnic American Literature (Deadline for abstracts - May 31, 2013)

full name / name of organization: 
Sarah Chavez / Midwestern Modern Language Association (MMLA)
contact email: 

CFP: Multicultural Literature in the Classroom: Politics and Pedagogy

Topic: Poetry & Identity in Ethnic American Literature

In her text, Feminism on the Border: Chicana Gender Politics and Literature, Sonia Saldívar-Hull states that "[r]eading Chicana feminism . . . makes certain demands on the audience. We ask the reader to learn our histories, to read our literature, and finally, to understand that we have established arenas of discussion" (56). Though Saldívar-Hull is specifically referring to writing by and about Chicanas, the idea that inexperienced readers may not have the adequate background to contextualize writing from subaltern, or merely unfamiliar, cultural positions is a relevant and necessary issue to address as more academic institutions begin to value multicultural and ethnic studies curriculum. To layer this issue further, it may be difficult enough when introducing prose, a genre most students feel they have competence with, but what about poetry?

This panel is interested in addressing intellectual, epistemological, and pedagogical approaches to teaching multicultural and ethnic American poetry. Papers on African, Asian, Central and South American, Mexican, and Native American poetry (as well as related genres such as flash fiction, fairy tale and folklore, or poetic/lyrical memoir), and all historical periods will be considered. The panel is especially interested in questions regarding voice and dialect, constructions of identity, form and function, the politics of politics, pedagogical tools to ease or confront unfamiliar literature and papers that explore the process, difficulties, and/or rewards of teaching ethnic American poetry in mono-cultural and/or multicultural classrooms, and why it should matter to students?

Please send 250-word abstracts by May 31st to Sarah Chavez - schavez@huskers.unl.edu

55th Annual Midwest Modern Language Association Convention
November 7 – 10, 2013 Milwaukee, WI