We're Gonna Have to Face It: Literatures of Addiction

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Seminar at NeMLA
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We're Gonna Have to Face It: Literatures of Addiction

Seminar accepted for the 49th annual Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) meeting under the areas of Comparative Literature and Interdisciplinary Humanities

Pittsburgh, PA April 12-15


An affinity for psychotropics is well attested in works by canonical European writers. Thomas de Quincey praised “portable extasies,” inspiring Baudelaire’s artificial paradises; Italo Svevo’s exasperating chain-smoker enacts as comedy a struggle of rather more tragic proportions in the dingy corridors of David Foster Wallace’s rehab wards. This seminar seeks, first, to recruit witnesses from across and especially outside the European traditions, thus literary representations of addiction in Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean and other literatures will be welcome, as will papers which cross linguistic boundaries, European or otherwise. Secondly, cognizant of the current addiction emergency, yet well aware of literature’s ambivalence about drugs, the seminar will ask through what if any contributions literary scholars might improve a public discourse in which drug use is characterized as deviance, addicts are perceived as derelicts, and detox is construed as a matter of clinics and medications. As university campuses launch “medical humanities” initiatives, can humanists help humanize society’s understanding of addiction?


Abstracts are due on September 30th and must be submitted online (https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/login).