Kurt Vonnegut Society Panel at the NeMLA 2021

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Kurt Vonnegut Society

This guaranteed session will be part of the March 11-14, 2021 NeMLA convention in Philadelphia, PA: http://www.buffalo.edu/nemla/convention.html.  Proposals must be submitted through the NeMLA’s conference website.

Please contact Tom Hertweck (thertweck@umassd.edu), Vice President of Kurt Vonnegut Society, with questions. 

Panel Title: “Kurt Vonnegut Changing the World—and In a Changing World” 

Kurt Vonnegut lived a writing life long enough to have begun by molding himself into the existing literary world working for mass-market publications, and ended by being appreciated as one who had played a central role in reshaping the landscape of fiction as we define it.  Likewise, during his life he became a public figure and stalwart of the progressive era who nonetheless espoused old-fashioned (but retooled) ideas like family and hard work and taking responsibility.  Responding to the Convention’s theme of “Tradition and Innovation,” the Kurt Vonnegut Society’s panel turns its attention to the author’s various works in their curious relations to both terms, asking two central questions: How can we better understand Vonnegut’s relationship to literary tradition and innovation regarding the forms and subject matter he was a part of? And, how do we better explain Vonnegut’s relationship to the social traditions and innovations he played a role in suggesting or (re)shaping?

Topics may range from reassessing Vonnegut’s craft relationship to literary movements such as commercial realism, modernism, or postmodernism, to uncovering new vantages on his works’ responses to changes in conservatism and progressivism during his lifetime, or anything in between.  Preference will be given to papers dealing in less-studied works or underutilized approaches to Vonnegut; however, any original proposal will be considered.  Please submit abstracts of 250-300 words, and a short bio of no more than 100 words.

NB on Conference Modality: Currently the NeMLA is scheduled as a confernece with in-person participation in Philadephia.  However, as circumstances change, the NeMLA may consider shifting this format to hybrid or wholly virtual participation.  The Vonnegut Society is committed to ensuring participation in whatever modality the accepted presenters are most comfortable with.  Please see the NeMLA's site for additional information, and do feel free to contact us with questions as things move forward.