CFP: [American] CFP: Revisiting (Re)Memory: Contemporary Multiethnic American Literature (NeMLA 2009)

full name / name of organization: 
Shari Evans
contact email: 

Revisiting (Re)Memory: Re-evaluating Trauma, Nostalgia, and Cultural Memory in Contemporary
Multiethnic Literature

40th Anniversary Northeast MLA Convention
Boston, MA
February 26-March 1, 2009

Panel Chair: Dr. Shari Evans
Deadline: September 15, 2008

This panel will investigate and evaluate the role and development of the trope of memory in
contemporary multi-ethnic American literature. From Tayo's negotiation of trauma in Silko's
Ceremony and Kingston's merging of memoir and fiction in The Woman Warrior to the concept of
rememory in Morrison's Beloved, the intersection of cultural and individual memory have figured
vividly in contemporary multiethnic literature. More recent works have imagined other kinds of
hauntingsâ€"we can see this at work in Atwood's apocalyptic remembering in Oryx and Crake; the
memory machine and transatlantic voyaging in Mukherjee's Holder of the World; the past that
follows the characters of Danticat's stories; or the thickness of New Orleans in Brenda Marie
Osbey's poetry. Contemporary authors conceive of memory in different ways, yet the work of
many seems to strive to reconcile the difficult cultural and historic memories of the past with the
complex identities and perceived amnesia of the present. This panel seeks investigations into the
ways contemporary writers have conceived of and negotiated these multiple sites of memory,
relating contemporary ethnic literature to current theories of memory, nostalgia,
commemoration, memorialization, cultural memory and trauma studies. Memory can be
understood as simultaneously personal, cultural, and historic, and varied types of memory have
also been conceived of as ethical practices. Papers that deal with contemporary American
multiethnic literaturesâ€"novels or movements, groups of writers or the careers of single writers,
poets or playwrightsâ€"are welcome. Papers that problematize or extend these theories by
considering the relationship of particular works of literature or ethnic literatures to memory are
particularly welcome.

Please submit 250-500 word abstracts by snail mail or email as Word documents (in .doc format,
not .docx) by September 15, 2008. Include a brief biographical statement.

Shari Evans (
English Department
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
285 Old Westport Road
North Dartmouth, MA

Consult the NeMLA web site ( for more information about the conference and the

Panelists may present only one paper at the convention, though they may submit abstracts for
consideration to more than one panel.

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Received on Wed Jul 23 2008 - 14:52:16 EDT