The American Novel and Terrorism: CFP for ALA 2014 (May 22-25, Washington DC)

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ALA 2014
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Proposals sought for papers that read American novels written since 1790 (the year in which, the OED tells us, the terms "terror" and "terrorism" were first used) that take terrorism as subject and that use these readings to consider the ways that the formal allegiances of such novels (postmodernism, realism, the gothic, horror) relate to the novel's meditations on the causes and effects of terror, conspiracy, or war in relation to "ordinary life," however defined. What is gained, what is lost, by considering these novels of crisis as a group and/or by considering contemporary novels of the War on Terror with or apart from earlier novels focusing on the threat and reality of terrorism? How does the focus on terror involve transnational encounters, individual and extra-individual, and how do local assumptions about gender, religion, class, race, age, or ablebodiedness inform the reading of such encounters? What responses to terror do these novels model and urge, and what are the implications, political, aesthetic, ethical, of such economies of emotion? Do these novels gesture toward or involve other media, such as photography or film? How do these novels relate terrorism, war, and peace?

Works considered include 9/11 novels such as Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close; Don DeLillo's Falling Main; Jess Walter's The Zero; Jay McInterney's The Good Life; Andre Dubus III's The Garden of Last Days; Ann Patchett's Bel Canto; William Gibson's Pattern Recognition--and earlier novels such as Henry James's The Princess Casamassima, Frank Norris's The Octopus, Thomas Dixon's Leopard Spots, or works by Edgar Allen Poe or George Lippard.

Please submit abstracts of 250-300 words to Jennifer Thorn at Please indicate any A/V needs you might have for your presentation. The deadline for abstract submission is January 15, 2004.