Queer Faulkner

deadline for submissions: 
January 31, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Jay Watson / University of Mississippi
contact email: 

Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha 2023

“Queer Faulkner”

July 23-27, 2023

University of Mississippi

Announcement and Call for Papers

http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/events/faulkner

Eve Kosofky Sedgwick once pointed out the oddly superfluous, unintentionally revealing nature of the question, “Has there ever been a gay Shakespeare?”  How might reframing this question around a queer Faulkner prove similarly generative and unnecessary?  Taking its title, “Queer Faulkner,” as both a description and an imperative, the forty-ninth annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha conference will explore the diverse expressions, meanings, and functions of nonnormative sexuality, gender, desire, and affiliation in William Faulkner’s life and work, tapping into the disciplinary ferment of queer and trans studies scholarship and the new paradigms and reading strategies it has established.  In so doing, the conference seeks to broaden, deepen, and diversify ongoing conversations about sexuality and gender in Faulkner started by scholars such as Phillip Gordon, Jaime Harker, Gary Richards, Michael Bibler, and Catherine Gunther Kodat, in a dialogue whose terms will inevitably be open to debate. 

Does the transgressive spirit so many readers attribute to the author and his work extend to his portrayals of sexual and gender identities, preferences, practices?  How and where does his art create space for queer energies?  How and where does it work to contain or disavow them?  What might queering Faulkner’s writings—whether with or against their grain—entail as a project of defamiliarization, decolonization, or reparation?  Given the fraught nature of the term, what do we mean by “queer” anyway?  Wherein lies its usefulness (as adjective, noun, or verb) for students of Faulkner’s work, and wherein lies Faulkner’s usefulness for queer studies and LGBTQ+ teaching and scholarship?

Topics might include but are not limited to:

--same-sex desire in Faulkner’s life and work:  homosociality, homoeroticism, homosexuality, “homoness”

--queer performativity in Faulkner’s writings and biography

--queer erotics:  pleasures, intensities, celibacies

--asexuality as a critique of universal/compulsory sexuality

--nonbinary identities: bisexual, genderfluid, genderqueer, etc.

--queer kinships, affiliations, and communities in Faulkner’s fiction, personal life, or career

--queer modernisms and Faulkner’s place in/amidst them

--lesbian characters, desires, and textualities in Faulkner

--the Faulknerian closet and other queer topographies

--homophobia and its consequences in Faulkner’s writings

--non-normative sex practices in Faulkner:  kink? SM? etc.

--cosmopolitanism, metropolitanism, and their sexualities: New Orleans, Memphis, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Paris

--queer histories and temporalities

--queer modes of re/productivity

--queer epistemologies

--the queer art of failure in Faulkner and his world

--intersections of queerness and disability

--queer nationalisms and the biopolitics of sexuality

--queering form: nonnormative configurations of narrative, genre, voice, stylistics, etc.

--“queering the color line” in, with, or against Faulkner

--queer Souths and Faulkner’s stake in them

--queer ecologies and environmental attachments

--“transing” Faulkner: trans methodologies and their applicability to Faulkner’s work

--queer inhumanisms and posthumanisms: queering the human in Faulkner

--Faulkner’s responses to queer writers and artists

--responses to Faulkner’s work by queer writers, readers, critics

The program committee especially encourages full panel proposals for 60-minute conference sessions. Such proposals should include a one-page overview of the session topic or theme, followed by 400-500-word abstracts for each of the panel papers to be included. We also welcome individually submitted 400-500-word abstracts for 15-20-minute panel papers.  Panel papers consist of approximately 2,500 words and will be considered by the conference program committee for possible expansion and inclusion in the conference volume published by the University Press of Mississippi.

Session proposals and panel paper abstracts must be submitted by January 31, 2023, preferably through e-mail attachment. All manuscripts, proposals, abstracts, and inquiries should be addressed to Jay Watson, Department of English, C-135 Bondurant Hall, University of Mississippi, P.O. Box 1848, University, MS 38677-1848. E-mail: jwatson@olemiss.edu. Decisions for all submissions will be made by March 15, 2023.