Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association (PAMLA) Conference CFP: Absurdist History (Nov. 11-14 2021)

deadline for submissions: 
April 15, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Stanley Orr, University of Hawaii - West Oahu
contact email: 

PAMLA 2021 LAS VEGAS: "CITY OF GOD, CITY OF DESTRUCTION" (Thursday, November 11 - Sunday, November 14, 2021 at Sahara Las Vegas Hotel, hosted by University of Nevada, Las Vegas)

Session: Absurdist History: UFOs, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Culture

Contacts: Stanley Orr, University of Hawaii - West Oahu ( / Kenneth Hough, University of California - Santa Barbara (

Description: In June 24, 1947 near Mount Rainier, Washington, pilot Kenneth Arnold observed a series of strange objects which moved through the air “like saucers skipping on water”—aircraft the press soon dubbed flying saucers,and later rechristened more prosaically “unidentified flying objects.” Arnold’s stupendous sighting was an immediate sensation that produced an enduring culture rupture, an absurdist counternarrative that questioned almost all the assumptions of modern authority figures. This session examines the cultural and historical reverberations of the UFO phenomenon, including the sometimes playful, sometimes gloomy conspiratorial mindset that quickly coalesced around discussions of visitors from other worlds and apparent government cover-ups to hide the truth of their existence.

Broadly conceived, this session seeks papers that address UFO culture in literature, film, and other media, with a special emphasis on the absurd, the disruptive, and the subversive as alternatives to more traditional, dispassionate narratives of the modern moment.

Conference Note:

This November, PAMLA will be offering both in-person (in Las Vegas, NV) and virtual sessions, which you can search for today, alongside important deadlines, membership details and conference fees.

Top tip: when you log in and enter the Call for Papers portal, remember that you have to click on the title of the session that you are interested in submitting your paper to, and then click on the green “Submit Abstract” icon at the top right corner of the page!

And for those who are interested, note that our conference theme this year is “City of God, City of Destruction,” an homage to contemporary urban literature, culture, architecture, as well as other topics, including the noir genre, postmodern cityscapes, dystopia and postindustrial decay, and/or the sublime, spiritual spaces found across many urban depictions.

We look forward to reading your submissions, and all of us at PAMLA HQ hope for calmer, better days ahead.