Trickster: (Re-)constructing the World from its Edges (NeMLA 2014, April 3-6)

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Northeast Modern Language Association

45th Annual Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
April 3-6, 2014
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Host: Susquehanna University

The session topic coincides with recent renaissance of the interest in trickster, comprehended both as an agent of change and instrument of progress, but also a vehicle of instability, and a driving force of destruction. The growing awareness of this character, which embodies uncertainty at the moment of change, reflects upon the sensation of tumble of well-established categories and time-honored institution of the world as we know it.
The session lays its conceptual roots in the comprehensive monograph by Lewis Hyde, Trickster Makes this World, which was first available in 1998, and has recently been republished in 2008, and again in 2010. While recognizing mythological provenience of a trickster, Hyde puts this character in the comparative perspective, and promotes study of a trickster as an archetype, that has constantly reappeared in different forms in culture from antiquity to the modern times. The panel offers to build on the scholarship dedicated to a trickster by critically exploring one particular aspect of this character, i.e. his ability to create alternative worlds with the use of acquired or self-invented skill, and further confuse these constructs with reality.

This Panel will include papers that present modern incarnation of archetypal Trickster, as presented in literature from the 19th till 21st century. Successful articles should be concerned with the creational aspect of the trickster, his/her ability to "make the world," and to confuse the notion of reality. We are particularly interested in the portrait of the trickster as an architect of alternative/virtual realities, visual illusions, and confusing imagery.

Please submit 300-500 word abstract and brief bio to Joanna Madloch at

Deadline: September 30, 2013

Please include with your abstract:
Name and Affiliation
Email address
Postal address
Telephone number
A/V requirements (if any; $10 handling fee with registration)

The 2014 NeMLA convention continues the Association's tradition of sharing innovative scholarship in an engaging and generative location. This capitol city set on the Susquehanna River is known for its vibrant restaurant scene, historical sites, the National Civil War museum, and nearby Amish Country, antique shops and Hershey Park. NeMLA has arranged low hotel rates of $104-$124.

The 2014 event will include guest speakers, literary readings, professional events, and workshops. A reading by George Saunders will open the Convention. His 2013 collection of short fiction, The Tenth of December, has been acclaimed by the New York Times as "the best book you'll read this year." The Keynote speaker will be David Staller of Project Shaw.

Interested participants may submit abstracts to more than one NeMLA session; however, panelists can only present one paper (panel or seminar). Convention participants may present a paper at a panel and also present at a creative session or participate in a roundtable.