[UPDATE] Society for American Travel Writing at ALA 2014 (22-25 May 2014 in Washington, D.C.) Deadline extended to 15 Jan. 2014

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Society for American Travel Writing
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The Society for American Travel Writing will host two sessions at the American Literature Association’s 25th Annual Conference, 22-25 May 2014 at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Scholars of American travel writing and practicing travel writers are particularly encouraged to submit proposals.

Panel 1: Travel Writing in the Age of Instant Feedback
Today’s travelers have the ability to tweet, blog, and “Yelp” about their experiences, eliciting immediate rather than reflective commentary from a global, online audience. In this age of instant feedback, the reader gains direct access to authorship, diminishing the distinction between the author and public in ways reminiscent of Walter Benjamin’s observations about the effects of mechanical reproduction on aesthetic sensibility.

The Society for American Travel Writing invites proposals for papers exploring the relationship between travel writing and electronic media. Possible questions include: What constitutes “travel writing” in the age of instant feedback? How has digital media changed the shape, experience, expertise, and style of travel writing, as well as its audience and reception? What advantages do traditional forms of print travel writing hold over online forms, and vice versa? How do new forms of technology enrich or detract from the experience of travel? What are the social and economic implications of travel writing in the digital age?

Please submit a brief CV and 300 word proposal by 15 January 2014 to Melanie Scriptunas (mscript@udel.edu), using “SATW Age of Instant Feedback Panel” as the subject line.

Panel 2: Thanatourism or Dark Tourism
Thanatourism relates to the visiting of sites of massacre, historical trauma, internment sites and memorials, reenactments, and sites like museums at which evidence of the dead has been assembled. Also called dark tourism or grief tourism, thanatourism refers to tourism to sites associated with death and disaster.

The Society for American Travel Writing invites proposals for papers exploring the nature of thanatourism. Possible questions include: What are the ethics of commercializing trauma in thanatourism? What draws tourists to these sites? Why are they so popular? To what extent does thanatourism or dark tourism rewrite or recast history to attract tourists? How do writers negotiate the media’s role in thanatourism? How do writers negotiate the tension between sites of trauma and sites of refreshment? What is the value of visiting or memorializing sites of trauma?
Since the ALA will take place in Washington, D.C., we are particularly interested in papers that consider thanatourism to the D. C. monuments and sites related to death or historical trauma.

Please submit a brief CV and 300 word proposal by 15 January 2014 to Susan Roberson (susan.roberson@tamuk.edu), using “SATW Thanatourism Panel” as the subject line.

For further information, please consult the ALA website atwww.americanliterature.org or contact the conference director, Professor Alfred Bendixen of Texas A & M University (abendixen@tamu.edu), with specific questions.

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