ALA 2018 Pauline Hopkins Society panels on genre and activism, deadline extended

deadline for submissions: 
January 18, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins Society
contact email: 


Call for Papers

Pauline E. Hopkins Society

American Literature Association

29th Annual Conference

May 24-27, 2018

San Francisco, CA


The Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins Society will sponsor two sessions at the 29th Annual Conference of the American Literature Association.


Panel One: Pauline Hopkins and Genre

Pauline Hopkins’s work is notable for its experimentation with genres.  Like W.E.B. Du Bois’s use of multiple genres in The Souls of Black Folk (1903), Hopkins’s writings in The Colored American Magazine encompass – and often blend – biographies, fiction, histories, and more in her attempt to combat the stereotypical depictions of blackness that were the norm in the mainstream press of the day.  Her novels engaged with a variety of literary genres in order to expose and subvert racism in the Jim Crow United States and to argue for a black history that is grounded in richness, depth, and beauty.  John Gruesser’s description of Of One Blood as a text that “combines elements from a number of popular genres” and thus “frustrates attempts to briefly summarize it” applies to many of her writings.  This panel welcomes papers on Hopkins’s use of genres in her novels and/or her other magazine work.  Comparative papers that analyze her use of genres in relation to other writers, such as Du Bois, are particularly welcome. 


Questions to consider might include: What is the connection between Hopkins’s literary experimentation and her racial politics?  How does Hopkins align her work within genre conventions or subvert them?  How does her emphasis on genteel class politics intersect with her use of popular genres?  In what ways does her use of genre work to “frustrate” her readers? 


Panel Two: Pauline Hopkins’s Activism in 2018

2018 will mark the 50th anniversaries of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination and the establishment of the first black studies department at San Francisco State.  It will also likely be a year that continues the conversations and activism around issues like mass incarceration and police violence against African Americans.  These instances of racial violence and the responses to that violence call attention to similar issues of the Jim Crow period – or, perhaps, it is more accurate to state that the racial violence and protests of the 21st century are themselves continuations of those of the late 19th century and early 20th century.  Where do Pauline Hopkins and her work – in her novels and in the magazines – fit into the current climate?  Papers that engage with Hopkins’s activism, particularly in relation to racial violence, are especially welcome.  Approaches to teaching Hopkins in the United States of 2018 are also welcome. 


Instructions for proposal submission:

  • Abstracts for both panels should be no more than 300 words and accompanied by a brief CV.
  • Proposals for both panels should be sent to Eurie Dahn, Program Committee Chair, at by January 18, 2018.  Deadline extended!
  • The subject line of the email should be “Hopkins/ALA panel one (or two).”
  • AV needs should be included in the proposal.
  • Membership in the Pauline E. Hopkins Society is required of presenters.