Pre- or Post-? Periodization Problems in American Literary Study

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
NEMLA 2020 (Boston)

This panel for NEMLA 2020 (Boston) examines the scholarly, pedagogical, and professional problems posed by current chronological demarcations of “early” and “modern” American literature and seeks to propose viable alternative chronological models. The specific years covered by the traditional undergraduate American literary survey have a lasting impact on the American public’s sense of literary history, the dissertation topics of graduate students, the canonical visibility of authors who span chronological margins, the specific texts that receive attention in an author’s oeuvre, the networking of scholars, the availability of grant money, the publication contracts of major presses, and the creation of tenure-track positions. How might American literary periodization be reconsidered to improve 21st-century scholarship, pedagogy, and public engagement with American literary study?

For a more detailed description or to submit a 250-word abstract for consideration, go to