City Mouse, Country Mouse: Shifting identities and Pedagogies in the Composition Classroom.

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43nd Annual Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
March 15-18, 2012
Rochester, New York – Hyatt Rochester
Host Institution: St. John Fisher College
Keynote speaker: Jennifer Egan, 2011 Pulitzer Prize winner, A Visit from the Goon Squad

Are your students fans of ATVs and Nascar or skinny jeans and Jay-Z? Do your students skip class for the first day of buck hunting season or when they feel like wandering around St. Marks Place? This roundtable will address the impact of place on our pedagogies and on our students' identities in the composition classroom. Whether we integrate urban outsider art like graffiti and rap lyrics in our writing assignments or facilitate class discussion on factory farming, Michael Pollan and hydrofracking, how do we we shift our identities and assignments as we interact with students from in either rural or urban backgrounds? Moreover, how do the urban/rural identifies of our students in turn affect our own pedagogies? Moreover, since a sense of place always and informs and impacts one's sense of identity, how do our students construct their own identities in the classroom as college students depending on where they live?
This panel will primarily allow participants to reflect on how geographic place impacts the identities of our students as well as our own pedagogical interests and assignments, citing both best practices as well as challenges. Time will be permitted for participants to also address the way their own backgrounds (urban, rural, suburban) frequently intersect with those of their students.
Please submit 250 word proposals to Christine E. Atkins at

Deadline: September 30, 2011
Please include with your abstract:
Name and Affiliation
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Postal address
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A/V requirements (if any; $10 handling fee with registration)

The 43rd annual convention will be held March 15-18th in Rochester, New York at the Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown, located minutes away from convenient air, bus, and train transportation options for attendees. St. John Fisher College will serve as the host college, and the diverse array of area institutions are coordinating with conference organizers to sponsor various activities, such as celebrated keynote speakers, local events, and fiction readings.

Building upon the excellence of past NeMLA conferences, the association continues to grow as a vibrant community of scholars, thanks to the wide array of intellectual and cultural opportunities at every venue. Compact yet diverse, Rochester also boasts important historical connections; it is the site of the home, publication operations, and orations of Frederick Douglass, where he edited the North Star, as well as his eponymous periodical, and delivered the speech, "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?". Visitors can explore the houses of abolitionist, suffragette, and reformer Susan B. Anthony and the inventor of devices popularizing photography, George Eastman, as well as shopping and eateries; attendees will also be within reach of the beautiful Finger Lakes region, known for its local wineries.

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.