CFP: [American] william faulkner society cfps for mla and ala 2009 conferences

full name / name of organization: 
john t. matthews
contact email:

The William Faulkner Society

Calls for Papers for 2009

Calls for papers for two panels each at the American Literature Association
Conference in Boston (May 21-24, 2009) and the Modern Language Association
Conference in Philadelphia (December 27-30, 2009).

We encourage submissions of 250 word abstracts for individual papers or
proposals for entire panels on open topics for either conference.

Deadline for ALA submissions: January 15, 2009.

Deadline for MLA submissions: March 1, 2008.

Proposals should be sent to:
        John T. Matthews
        President, The Faulkner Society
        Boston University
        Department of English
        236 Bay State Road
        Boston, MA 02215 Electronic submissions preferred.

In addition to unrestricted proposals, we are interested in papers or
panels that might address the following topics:

For ALA:

Faulkner and disability studies
Faulkner and the African Diaspora

For MLA:

Faulkner and environmental studies
Faulkner in the 1950s

The organizer of a panel for ALA on the following topic, “Faulkner and the
Metropolis,” also wishes to solicit abstracts. Please send inquiries and
abstracts by January 15, 2009 to Peter Lurie (

Faulkner and the Metropolis
American Literature Association 2009

What is the role of both the real and the imagined city in Faulkner? What
impact did time that he spent in cultural centers and capitals such as New
York, New Orleans, Paris, and Hollywood have on his life and writing? What
cities figure prominently in his work, and what role do those locations
play in readers’ understanding of his writing? What are the connections
between the cosmopolitan and urban modernism of the nineteen-teens and
twenties and Faulkner’s formal experimentation? What thematic issues such
as commercialism, industrialization, or the rise of media technology (all
facets of urban modernity) figure in his work? What racial, ethnic, or
cultural biases follow from attitudes about the city (such as Jason
Compson’s distrust of “New York jews”)? What urban types or institutions
figure in his work such as prostitution, the newspaper, the gangster, or
the detective? How do real cities such as Memphis and New Orleans figure
in his writing and at various stages of his career? What differences are
there between these Southern cities and Northern ones like Detroit or
Chicago? What do we make of representations of rural space that comes to
resemble the city (such as the industrial-seeming Utah mine in “The Wild
Palms,” or the “proletarian” swampers who watch the hunt for Old Ben in
“The Bear” and are explicitly compared to the audiences for prizefighting)?
How do we understand the influence on Faulkner of the metropolis as a
mental construct, an imagined and constructed space, as well as a fact of
social and material history?

This topic welcomes a range of methodological approaches: biographical,
historical, theoretical, cultural. Some questions these approaches might
prompt include the following: what kinds of experiences did Faulkner have
in different major cities and in connection to his romantic, artistic, and
professional life? How does Faulkner’s work bear a relation to largely
urban phenomena such as the cinema, mass spectacle, mass politics, or the
newspaper? How were changes in demographics and urban development in the
South in the modern period reflected in his works’ narratives, structures,
or style? Might we consider that Faulkner’s verbal textures are related to
rhythms that are meaningfully understood as urban? Do Faulkner’s texts
(like those of other modernists) resemble or operate like “cities”? How do
various definitions of the city obtain in his novels—for example, in what
ways does Jefferson or the very idea of “town” function for his rural
characters or Faulkner’s narrators?

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Received on Wed Nov 12 2008 - 21:32:34 EST

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