CFP: Philip Roth and Race (6/30/04; collection)

full name / name of organization: 
Philip Roth Society


We are seeking papers that treat the subject of race in Philip Roth's
literature, for a new collection of essays titled "Philip Roth and Race."
The collection will have three sections. The first will examine the racial
status of Jewishness in Roth's work. The second will examine race in the
plots of Roth's novels, including inter-racial interaction in the novels,
and race as a plot motivator. The third section will compare Roth's work to
writers of other racial and ethnic groups. Recent novels such as _The Human
Stain_ or _Operation Shylock_ clearly benefit from a race-discourse
analysis; Roth's earlier fiction too has been concerned with race
difference, as characters are often positioned between class and race
strata, and narratives of Jewish social mobility include non-Jewish black
and white participants.

Some of the questions that prompt this call for papers are: How does recent
scholarship on race help us re-read Philip Roth's older literature or
approach his new work? In what ways is Roth's literature, as an exemplar of
Jewish American literature, in conversation with other ethnic literatures?
How are Jews "raced" in Roth's literature, and in writing about Roth? We are
looking for new essays which address these questions, and which will place
Roth's work in the mainstream of American and multi-ethnic literary
histories. We are interested in a broad range of possible approaches, but
some topics to consider might include:

- The taxonomy of Jewish being in _Operation Shylock_, along with Roth's
treatment of the image of the Jew as Shylock.
- The recent debate in _Prooftexts_ amongst Michael Kramer and his
respondents about whether Jewish literary history benefits from a
raced-based conception of Jews.
- The efforts by David Biale and the contributors to _Insider/Outsider: Jews
and Multiculturalism_ to situate Jewish studies in the race and ethnic
studies curriculum.
- Approaches to _The Human Stain_ or other works in a multicultural context.
- Adam Zachary Newton's trope of "Facing" blacks and Jews-are there other
pairings possible?
- Treatments of Roth's fiction which take into account Karen Brodkin's
analysis of "how Jews became white folks."
- An analysis of raced characters in Roth's fiction.
- Teaching _The Human Stain_ or any other novel in a multi-ethnic literature
course, or at an ethnically diverse or HBCU campus.
- And, of course, postmodern and deconstructive approaches to race and
ethnicity which analyze the performativity of Jewishness in Roth's

Essays should be between 6,000-7,000 words. We are also happy to review
abstracts (500 words please). For more information, contact:

Dean J. Franco
Dept. of English
Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem, NC 27106


Derek Parker Royal
Dept. of Literature and Languages
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Commerce, TX 75429-3011

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Received on Tue Jan 13 2004 - 21:10:03 EST