NeMLA 2020 Panel: Social and Self-identity in the Early Modern Spanish Picaresque Updated 8/29/2019

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
contact email: 

Early Modern Spain witnessed the birth of the literary and culturally significant picaresque genre with protagonists that existed in liminal spaces that allowed society to fashion them and in turn these pícaros to refashion themselves. Through autobiographies, letters and dialogues, they became manifested not only as beggars, buffoons, thieves, card sharks and prostitutes, but also as animals, actors, rich runaways and academics. This panel seeks papers in English or Spanish that examine how society fashions the picaresque genre’s protagonists and/or how pícaros shape themselves. Due to this proposed topic’s depth and breadth, this panel hopes to reinvigorate interest in a broad range of historically and socially significant works from Spain’s early modern period from various theoretical perspectives. The proposed topic´s richness will allow panelists to address questions related to contemporary fields of cultural studies such as self-representation, gender, social class, race, religion and animal studies. Some possible presentations might include papers on the following topics:

Writing from Inquisitorial Exile

Autobiographical Pícaros?

Ecclesiastical Criminal Societies

Crafting the Racial or Religious Other through Genealogies

Questioning the Picaresque “Novel” through Theatrical Works

The Noble Pícaro?

Prostitution in the Picaresque

‘An Animal with speech’: Dogs, Humans and Cynicism

We firmly believe that the topic’s concern with literary works’ cultural and formal characteristics will allow panelists to reassess and criticize dominate theories related to the picaresque that continually direct how the genre is discussed in academic literature and taught in university courses. With this approach, we believe that the call for papers should attract many rigorous treatments of the topic.

Submissions are welcome in Spanish or English.  Please submit paper proposals of up to 250 words and a brief bio through the NeMLA submission portal:

Deadline for submission is September 30, 2019.

NeMLA 2020 will be in Boston, MA on March 5-8, 2020 (  You can review the guidelines for proposal submission here:

Please direct any questions to the panel chairs John Giblin and Ignacio D. Arellano-Torres via email ( and