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Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) 46th Annual Conference (April 30-May 3, 2015, Toronto, Ontario)

Seminar: Poetry and Contemporary Regimes of Affect

Poetry has traditionally been a field where affect is generated, parsed, negotiated, circulated; the making of poetry might itself often be described as a form of affective labor. In the current phase of the service economy — with labor "dematerialized" for workers involved in information, finance and trade, and some forms of culture-making, though not for those whose bodies are on the line, such as caregivers, taxi drivers, and domestic servants — affective labor has become both more pervasive and more specialized. As contemporary recursive circuits blur distinctions among production, consumption, and reproduction, affective labor is, too, incurred in the use of social media, while the precarity of life arrangements under neoliberalism conditions our shared yet uneven experience of affective currents and dispositions as well as our labors to manage them. What happens to and in poetry in this context -- how does (or how can) poetry register such states of affairs? How do poetic forms and genres represent, conduce to, (re)enact, process, and critically intervene in contemporary affective experience? Along what trajectories does poetry perform, deconstitute, distribute, and reconfigure the subject of affect -- whether in accord or in conflict with the current conjuncture? This seminar invites proposals that focus on contemporary poetry's intensive mediation and analysis of neoliberal feeling, with special consideration to how these texts address the power differentials and social divisions that structure affective regimes. We aim to provoke a lively discussion on a range of poetic responses to current political economies of affect.

Submission Deadline: September 30

Post 300-word abstracts at

For questions about the session please contact Judith Goldman at or Cathy Wagner at

The 2015 NeMLA conference will be held April 30 through May 3, 2015, at the Fairmont Royal York in downtown Toronto. Conference guidelines and procedures and the answers to many frequently asked questions can be found at