Literary Studies and the Affective Turn Roundtable (September 30 2009; NEMLA April 7-11 2010)

full name / name of organization: 
Rachel Greenwald Smith/NEMLA
contact email: 

Call for Papers

Literary Studies and the Affective Turn Roundtable

41st Anniversary Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
April 7-11, 2010
Montreal, Quebec - Hilton Bonaventure

There has recently been an explosion of texts that signal what Patricia Clough defines as an "affective turn" in cultural and literary studies. Yet this "turn" is hardly monolithic; there appears to be no agreed upon way to read the cultural production of affect. While psychoanalytic theory has heretofore dominated studies of subjectivity and the emotions, it is noteworthy that many recent studies look elsewhere for theoretical models of affectivity: to cognitive science, aesthetics, political theory, and a wide range of philosophical traditions. The aim of this roundtable is to take stock of these disparate approaches in order to assess the position of affective criticism in literary studies today. What insights do we glean from positioning the affective turn within the history of criticism? Within geopolitical history? Can we think of the turn to affect as being one of many manifestations of what comes after postmodernism, or is affective theory itself a postmodern phenomenon? Finally, how do affective approaches allow us to read literature differently? This roundtable will offer an opportunity for scholars to connect with one another and share strategies, struggles, ideas, and innovations in negotiating the affective turn.

While proposals for studies of a single text or author will be considered, broader considerations of the relationship between contemporary theories of affect and literary studies are encouraged. Please submit a 250-300 word abstract for a 7-10 minute roundtable presentation and a brief biographical statement (preferably as a single pdf attachment) to Rachel Greenwald Smith at

Note: Convention participants may present a paper at a panel and also participate in a roundtable.

Deadline: September 30, 2009

NEMLA Information:

Please include with your abstract:

Name and Affiliation
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A/V requirements (if any; $10 handling fee)

The 41st Annual Convention will feature approximately 350 sessions, as well as dynamic speakers and cultural events. Details and the complete Call for Papers for the 2010 Convention will be posted in June:

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