CFP: [American] Essays about Place (session call for Writing the Midwest)

full name / name of organization: 
Laura Julier
contact email: 

Call for proposals
for a special session: Essays about Place

at Writing the Midwest, a conference of scholars, creative writers, and
filmmakers, May 8-10, 2008, on the campus of Michigan State University,
East Lansing, MI.

For the 2008 meeting of the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature,
we are putting together a session focusing on essays about Midwestern
places. We invite you to consider proposing an essay (or excerpt from a
longer work of literary nonfiction).

This call is for one or two sessions of readings of creative nonfiction for
the annual conference of the , this year titled

Scott Russell Sanders has written recently, “We’re likely to flood, pave,
poison, or otherwise abuse land if we think of it merely as property or as
raw material for human designs. To think of land more intimately, more
reverently, we need the help of art.”

What land, what place do you find essential? Why? What are the richest,
deepest stories you can tell about its many facets? While many of us feel
connections to particular places, especially when some part of our
childhood or identity is wedded to that place, we often have a basic
illiteracy about the natural and human histories of these placesâ€"a
knowledge of the flora and fauna, of the geological and human activity that
have shaped it, of the threats it faces in the present or the abuses it’s
undergone in the past. We drift down river and tell stories about what
happened to us, but forget to identify what's on the banks, or explain the
river's shifting course over the centuries, or describe the history of
peoples whose lives and cultures were shaped by it, or how humanity has, in
turn, shaped it.

In “Buckeye,” Sanders calls for “new maps, living maps and stories” of our
home ground, especially the Midwest. What acts of attention can you offer
that will fill in the many gaps in knowledge and map a route to a new sense
of reverence for one specific place?

We are again seeking essays that engage the particulars of specific
Midwestern places in ways that may indeed be grounded in personal
experience but seek also to mine substantially the natural, environmental,
civic, cultural, and/or geologic histories of such places.

Please send a brief proposal (less than one page) by November 1 to both of
us. Either paper or electronic submissions are acceptable.

Linda Elizabeth Peterson, 227 Anspach, Dept. of English, Central Michigan
University, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48859 (

Laura Julier, 235 Bessey Hall, Dept. of Writing, Rhetoric, & American
Cultures, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1033

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Received on Sat Sep 29 2007 - 12:20:35 EDT