[UPDATE] Representing Law in Ethnic American Literature (NeMLA 2014)

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New England Modern Language Association

This session will explore representations of law in twentieth century ethnic American fiction—for example, law and legal figures in Charles Chesnutt's The House Behind the Cedars, Louise Erdrich's deployment of crime novel conventions in The Roundhouse, etc. How do ethnic American writers deploy aspects of law in their works, and to what ends? How does the law define and codify particular groups as "races," and how do ethnic American writers complicate, subvert or deconstruct these legal modes of identification? In fiction, how is the law made to account for specific bodies and/or behaviors? And how do particular legal treatments differ from familial, communal, and societal interpretations of identities, bodies, behaviors etc.? Potential topics might include legal and literary constitutions of identity (identity as determined by descent and blood quantum, performance, association, marriage, adoption, etc.); flexibility and/or rigidity of legal discourse in literature; representations of judges, lawyers, legislators, victims, perpetrators, witnesses, etc. Please submit 300-500 word abstracts to: Rebecca.Nisetich@uconn.edu