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South Central Modern Language Association/SCMLA
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"Masking and Unmasking the Subject"

The search for the authentic self or transcendental ego holds a privileged place in the history of literary theory, philosophy, and psychoanalytic theory. Literature, language, film, and art all provide tools for constructing vivid imagery of the subject and her façades. In New Orleans, the city of performance and masquerades, we will explore the following questions, among others: What are the social factors that participate in forming the subject's masks? When are these masks in place and when do they fall away? Behind the mask, is there such a thing as an authentic self? How do race, religion, gender, sexuality, nationality, class, and education influence maskings and unmaskings? What particular use of the mask do we find in times of war, economic recession, political repression, and other modes of crisis vis-à-vis peaceful and prosperous contexts? Please join us for these discussions at our 70thannual conference at the beautifully restored historic Hotel Monteleone in the Heart of the French Quarter October 3-5. Papers for regular sessions and special sessions on all topics are welcome.