Vice and Assimilation in American Literature - NeMLA - Harrisburg, PA (April 3-6, 2014)

full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association

This panel seeks papers that explore narratives wherein the process of assimilation is completed through vice rather than through the virtues of hard-work and persistence. By 'vice', we do not necessarily mean violent and/or criminal activities (although we are open to such topics) but rather forms of leisure that are oftentimes un-associated with tales of assimilation, such as drinking, gambling or adultery. Some foundational questions we will ask are: how does this alternative mode of assimilation affect the character's chances of successfully becoming an American citizen? Moreover, what does this reveal about the character's definition of 'citizen'? Also, how are these narratives typically presented: are they showcased as a legitimately viable means of assimilation or are they ultimately seen more as cautionary tales? And lastly, what do these narratives ultimately help us realize about the time periods from which they derive?
Presenters, however, should not feel obligated to present assimilation in a positivistic light. In examining the theme of assimilation through this lens, we hope to complicate the discussion and broaden the analysis of literary works by first- and second-generation Americans. Please submit 250 word abstracts to Francisco Delgado 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)