Race, Class, and Sentimentalism in the 20th Century (NeMLA 2012)

full name / name of organization: 
Jenn Williamson
contact email: 

As African American men and women began to appropriate sentimental tropes and the sentimental novel form in the nineteenth-century, they argued for their humanity and alignment with social norms while simultaneously critiquing the ways in which sentimentalism marginalized African American identities by excluding them from class and racial ideologies that promote white dominance. This panel invites papers examining uses of sympathy and sentimental forms in 20th century American literature to address issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, and/or national belonging. In what ways do 20th century authors strategically deploy modes of sentimentality in their writings? Do writers in the 20th century recognize the political efficacy of sentimental writing? How do 20th century cultural trends or critical understandings regarding race, class, gender, and sexuality alter portrayals of sentimentality? Please send 250-500 word abstracts, along with a brief CV, to Jenn Williamson (jwilliamson@unc.edu) by September 30.

Please include with your abstract:

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

43rd Annual Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
March 15-18, 2012
Rochester, New York– Hyatt Regency Rochester
Host Institution: St. John Fisher College
The 43rd Annual Convention will feature approximately 360 sessions, as well as pre-conference workshops, dynamic speakers and cultural events.

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. Please do not accept a slot if you may cancel to present on another session.