"All Doing Is Ours": Ritual and the Collective Construction of Meaning in American Literature - ALA 2021

deadline for submissions: 
February 25, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Jonathan Bayliss Society
contact email: 

Jonathan Bayliss created a fictional science called "dromenology" in his Gloucesterman series which was meant to study collective human endeavor. In contrast to the Romantic concept of individual action, this science describes activity conducted by humans as groups: work and play, religious ritual, and artistic endeavors such as dance or drama. He conceptualized such activity as the work that staves off entropy in the thermodynamic systems we call communities or societies.

Proposals should address descriptions of collective activity in families, communities or groups of any kind in American literature, such as the examinations of individual function and collective purpose on the sea voyages of Herman Melville's novels; Flannery O'Connor's fixation with ritual performance; the rituals in Louise Erdrich's early poetry; ordinary activities becoming surreal devotional performances in the work of Ben Marcus; the use of communal repetition in tennis practice and addiction recovery programs in David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest; the importance of death rituals in the work of Toni Morrison.

Please send proposals of no more than 100 words to Gary Grieve-Carlson at grieveca@lvc.edu by February 25, 2021. 

For information about the ALA 2021 conference visit https://americanliteratureassociation.org/ala-conferences/ala-annual-conference/.