MLA Special Session AUTOTHEORY

deadline for submissions: 
March 8, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Robyn Wiegman/Duke University
contact email: 


MLA Special Session: AUTOTHEORY
Organizer: Robyn Wiegman, Literature, Duke University

Old or new, personal or impersonal, a genre of self invention or a practice of self dissolution? While the term autotheory is increasingly used in commercial and academic venues to describe writing that mixes the conventions of autobiography and critical theory, there is yet no sustained academic inquiry into its aesthetic, political, and rhetorical forms. I seek abstracts for presentations for a special session at the 2020 MLA in Seattle that will explore 1- the diversity of writing that has been called autotheory (from Audre Lorde to Maggie Nelson, Chris Kraus, and Anne Garreta); 2- the theoretical legacies at stake in autotheory’s transgressions of genre conventions; and 3- the academic implications of autotheory as a practice of contemporary criticism in the literary humanities. Please send inquiries, abstracts, and/or papers to Robyn Wiegman, by March 8, 2019.