Narrative and Poetic Ethnographies in the Social Sciences (Creative)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
contact email: 

Conference: 51st Northeast Modern Language Association Annual Convention

Conference Date: 5-8 March, 2020

Location: Boston Marriott Copley Place, Boston, MA

Session Title: Narrative and Poetic Ethnographies in the Social Sciences (Creative)

Session Description: This creative session will present a collection of narratives and poems based on ethnographic fieldwork. The goal of this session is to encourage scholars to use alternative literary genres to explore concerns in the social sciences (broadly defined). We specifically call for presentations of ethnographic research as non-fiction narratives or non-fiction poetry. Rather than traditional academic nonfiction that foreground discussions of theoretical frameworks, we welcome submissions that narrate the particularities of interlocutors and examine these ethnographic encounters in situational and personal detail. Do these genres help us better convey the complex lives of interlocutors whose stories we as ethnographers collect? What emotions and experiences are better conveyed through these genres? How do narratives and poems help us balance theory and story in the social sciences?

In tune with the NeMLA 2020 theme of "Shaping and Sharing Identities: Spaces, Places, Languages, and Cultures," we especially encourage participation of scholars working with identities, languages (e.g. Arabic, Dhivehi, Khmer, Tibetan, Wolof, to name a few), and cultures that are underrepresented in academia. Thus, this session will also serve as a starting point of conversation on how to increase representation (of both scholar and interlocutor) in academic spaces.

Submission Details: This session invites abstracts of up to 300 words for 15-20 minute oral presentations of original essays and/or poems. To view the NeMLA CFP and submit your abstract, please visit Only abstracts submitted through this portal will be accepted. The submission deadline is September 30, 2019. Applicants are not required to be NeMLA members at the time of submission. Once accepted, speakers will need to register as members by December 9, 2019.

For further information, please contact the session chair Anu Ahmed ( Anu Ahmed is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at Boston University.