Transnational Deafnicity? The Liminality of Deaf People in Literature

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association
contact email: 

The 50th NeMLA Anniversary Convention

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Convention Site

Gaylord National Resort Center
Washington, DC
March 21-24, 2019

Convention Theme

Transnational Spaces: Intersections of Cultures, Languages, and Peoples

Panel CFP:

Transnational Deafnicity? The Liminality of Deaf People in Literature

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The appearance of Sign Language Peoples (SLPs), or signing Deaf peoples in literature (and film) creates liminal spaces in-between Hearing and Deaf cultures that foreground the invisible “hearing line” (Krentz 2007). As cultural understandings of Deaf people involve “Deafnicity,” or the nexus of language, community, and ontology that create ethnic identities for Deaf people (Eckert 2010), this session asks for consideration of various forms of intersectional Deafnicity, or the ways in which Deafnicity coexists with other ethnic identities (Mazique 2017). How may the unifying and transnational conceptualization of Deafnicity not only promote “sameness” or the experience of “DEAF-SAME” and similitude among SLPs from different nations, cultures, and socioeconomic statuses, but also recognize intersectional SLPs who not only experience Deafnicity but also other ethnic identities (Moges 2015; Friedner and Kusters 2015)? How does literature with deaf characters depict intersectional and/or transnational forms of Deafnicity? Is Deafnicity transnational as Victorian literary scholar Jennifer Esmail (2013) and historian Joseph Murray (2008) seem to suggest in their respective studies on transatlantic and transnational forms of contact? What is the place of deaf people in literature with consideration of ethnic studies, disability studies, and/or deaf studies? How may the appearance of (intersectional) deaf people in literature create liminal spaces of transcultural exchange that disrupt dominant discourses? In other words, how may the liminality of deaf people in literature not only challenge traditional notions of history, territory, and identity, but also illustrate pathways for social change desired by various humanistic disciplines?


Primary Area / Secondary Area

Comparative Literature / Interdisciplinary Humanities



Rachel Mazique (Rochester Institute of Technology)


Abstracts due September 30! (

General Guidelines

  • NeMLA membership is not required to submit abstracts but it is required to present at the convention.
  • Participants may submit paper abstracts to more than one session but may not present in more than one session of the same type. It is permissible, however, to present a paper as part of a panel and also to participate, for example, on a roundtable or creative session.
  • No pre-formed sessions or reading of papers in absentia are allowed at NeMLA.
    • To submit an abstract, sign up for a (free) account at The online submission format will ask for a title (maximum 100 characters including spaces), an abstract (250-500 words), a short biography, the option to provide AV media requests, and the name of a co-presenter.
    • For additional questions about this CFP, you may email the Chair, Rachel Mazique, at
    • Chairs will confirm the acceptance of abstracts by October 15.
    • Please confirm the panel on which you wish to participate.
    • Please pay for Registration/Membership by December 1st.