Use, Abuse, Abstinence: Reading Alcohol in Literature | NEMLA 2016, March 17-20 | Submission Deadline Sept. 30, 2015

full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association
contact email: 

This panel calls for papers that stake a claim in the cultural significance of representing alcohol or alcohol consumption. How do these representations relate to alcoholism as a disease and the alcoholic as an identity category? Does the text evaluate alcohol abuse morally or politically? Do communities organized around alcohol consumption facilitate social movements based on class, race, sexuality, or gender?

Interdisciplinary approaches to literary analysis, such as ecocriticism, have shifted attention from characters' subjectivities to the ways settings and even substances function in texts. This shift has made it possible to explore the link between alcohol or drugs and narratives of normativity, capitalism, and nationalism (as seen, for example, in Deborah Toner's recent book Alcohol and Nationhood in Nineteenth-Century Mexico). Alcohol and drugs are depicted diversely in literature: as dangerous, enticing, liberating, or even as mundane and normal. They might shed light on or open a doorway to the deep psychological truth of a character, or serve as a substance that characterizes the environment, politics, and ecological relations in a text.


NEMLA 2016 will take place in Hartford, CT from March 17-20. It will feature approximately 400 sessions, 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.

More information on NEMLA:


Abstracts of 300 words or less are due by September 30, 2016 to session I.D. 15614 at

More information on NEMLA abstract submission: