53rd Annual Convention of NeMLA: Other Times in Neo-slave Novels Panel

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association
contact email: 

This panel , presenting at the 53rd Annual Convention of the Northeast Modern Language Association (March 10-13, Baltimore, MD), is entitled "Other Times in Neo-slave Novels: Anachronisms, Alternate Timelines, Parallel Universes, and More." Read below for the panel abstract. Please submit all paper abstracts directly to the NeMLA conference portal.

Literary criticism has often focused on how American neo-slave narratives establish connections between the contemporary writers’ cultural context and the antebellum period. However, these texts are not frequently regarded for their palimpsestic, multi-temporal qualities beyond these two periods. What happens to our understanding of the American neo-slave novel, short-story, or play as historical criticism or current cultural critique when we consider that these works may also call upon other periods of black history besides the present and the antebellum to represent slavery for a current readership, as well as the future or unexperienced utopian/dystopian moments? This panel is open to discussing how neo-slave fiction writers have drawn from the post-bellum past, alternate timelines, afro-futurism, and other modes of temporalization to convey the slave past to their current readers in distinct ways. Additionally, this panel can consider how expanding the genre of neo-slave narrative to magical realist, fantasy, and other generic modes of writing time and history expand how we regard the neo-slave genre as accounting for the antebellum past centuries later. Lastly, this panel would welcome a study of neo-slave narratives across literary forms, to examine if a study of the different modes of fiction yield distinct ways of conveying multiple temporalities surrounding slavery in the U.S..