Literary Darwinism and Social Justice (Sept. 19) (April 7-10 2011) [UPDATE]

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Call for Papers

Literary Darwinism and Social Justice Panel

42nd Annual Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
April 7-10, 2011
New Brunswick, NY – Hyatt New Brunswick
Host Institution: Rutgers University

In recent years, Literary Darwinism has made rapid advances as a methodology for literary exploration with many seeing it as potentially "the next big thing." This panel addresses an important issue in the field that arises specifically out of the contrast between Literary Darwinism, and Post-Modern methods of criticism that focus on culture and cultural constructs. Many in literary studies see the promotion of social justice as a major goal of both their scholarship and pedagogy. This session addresses the question of how Literary Darwinism as a methodology is, or could be, consistent with the long held goal of many in literary studies to create better citizens, defeat harmful stereotypes, and, generally, to promote greater social justice. As we move forward in the twenty-first century, Literary Darwinism appears destined to play a prominent role in literary criticism. This panel seeks to further clarify the nature of that role.

In relation to literature, of course, topics may include but are not limited to,
• Misappropriations of Darwinism
• Tensions between the cultural and the universal
• Self-awareness
• The centrality of competition to survival
• The adaptive value of cooperation
• The adaptive value of empathy
• Environmental elements of adaptability
• Essentialism
• Biology and culture

Broadly theoretical papers, papers addressing pedagogy, or treatments of specific texts are welcome. Email 250-300 word abstracts to Todd O. Williams.

Deadline: September 19, 2010

Please include with your abstract:

Name and Affiliation
Email address
Postal address
Telephone number
A/V requirements (if any; $10 handling fee with registration)

The 42nd Annual Convention will feature approximately 360 sessions, as well as dynamic speakers and cultural events. Details and the complete Call for Papers for the 2011 Convention will be posted in June:

Interested participants may submit abstracts to more than one NeMLA session; however panelists can only present one paper (panel or seminar). Convention participants may present a paper at a panel and also present at a creative session or participate in a roundtable. Do not accept a slot if you may cancel to present on another session.