MLA 2021: The Position of Fascism in American Culture

deadline for submissions: 
March 15, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Modern Language Association Annual meeting

 ****This is a CFP for MLA 2021*** In Habeas Viscus (2014), Alexander Weheliye invokes metonyms of Nazism, European colonialism, and American slavery, revising Paul Gilroy to argue, "the concentration camp, the colonial outpost, and the slave plantation suggest three of many relay points in the weave of modern politics, which are neither exceptional nor comparable, but simply relational." However, where Gilroy and Weheliye are particularly interested in how colonial practices preceded and underwrote fascism, they also raise the question of how fascism relates and returns to America.  Over the past six years, beginning with Christopher Vials's Haunted by Hitler (2014), there have been a number of significant scholarly works that have revealed the fascist threads in the American tapestry. Whereas Vials argues that anti-fascist culture comprises an essential but overlooked archive of twentieth-century leftist thought in the U.S., Sarah Churchwell's Behold America (2018) highlights how fascism masqueraded in the American interwar period through the moniker "America First". Vaughn Rasberry's Race and the Totalitarian Century (2016) and Benjamin Balthasar's Anti-Imperialist Modernism (2015) both considered how anti-authoritarian rhetoric worked in decolonial discourse.  This panel builds on these texts to reconsider fascism as both thematic subject of and critical analytic for American culture. What is the role of fascism in American culture? How is it be useful as a critical analytic for scholars in American cultural studies? How does American literature, film, and photography draw upon (European) fascism as a way to think about the United States? What is the role of American culture in the genesis of fascism? Or is white supremacy a more productive term to use in an American context?        Committed to interdisciplinary and intermedial approaches, this seminar welcomes work on popular as well as canonical literature, film, and photography. This panel is not temporally limited and transnational work is very much encouraged!We are likewise interested in work that utilizes feminist and queer approaches as well as critical race theory. Please email 300-word abstracts and brief bio to by March 15.


****This is a CFP for MLA 2021 (January 7-10, 2021; Toronto, Canada)***