CFP - What's Queer about Musical Theatre? Due Sept 30 - Panel at NeMLA in Harrisburg 2014

full name / name of organization: 
Christopher Culp/Panel at NeMLA conference in Harrisburg 2014
contact email: 

45th Annual Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
April 3-6, 2014
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Host: Susquehanna University
D.A. Miller, in his 1998 essay "Place for Us," ventured into describing the formal characteristics of Musical Theatre as a queer environment. Filled with shame, hiding, secrets, and longing, Miller identifies many characteristics of the Musical that are stereotypically associated with queer sexual identities. Much has changed since 1998 and the 'queerness' of the Musical has been explored in many different ways, from historical analysis of the queer subjects that produced Musicals to the coming of more queer characters within the subject matter of the Musical itself. This seminar aims to return to Miller's essay as a point of departure into the new field of Affect Theory in order to revise what is queer in Musical Theatre today in terms of its affective status as 'musical' expression.

As "Glee" and "Smash" continue to rewrite the LGBT narrative of identity politics through music, the Musical has become increasingly 'mainstream' and perhaps losing some of its queerness in the sense that Miller described. In what ways does this 'queerness' show itself in Musical Theatre, if at all? The remnants of queer subjectivity are at work within the aesthetics of Musical Theatre, attracting audience participation (as in "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog") and political discourse (such as "Glee"'s incorporation into the discourse on Gay Marriage in the United States). This seminar is meant to bring many sites of analysis into dialogue with each other to form an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary discourse about the affective influence of making something a Musical rather than a 'straight' play – and the possible formal and political ramifications of embedding music into a narrative.

Deadline: September 30, 2013
Please submit the following materials to Christopher Culp,

(1) Abstract of no more than 300 words in a .doc or .docx file

In body of email:
Name and Affiliation
100-200 word bio
Email address
Postal address
Telephone number
A/V requirements

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.