cfp - "Roads of America" [NeMLA panel]

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association
contact email: 

**This cfp is for an already-acceped panel at the NeMLA conference. NeMLA is taking place in person March 23-26, 2023 in Niagara Falls, New York. **

This panel, "Roads of America: Travel, Theory, and How We Get There" welcomes talks that explore the cultural figuration of the road in US culture(s).  We consider “roads” broadly conceived across histories and geographies, from The Great Trail to The Underground Railroad to Route 66. We are interested in how roads figure in cultural practices, representations, and historical (re)tellings of the United States. What cultural work do “roads” do? How does “road travel” facilitate questions of American modernity, freedom, progress, possibility, and mobility? What can “the road” tell us about American dreams and American nightmares? What respite might “roads” offer weary travelers of history? How are “roads” made accessible and to whom? How do representations of locomobility or automobility engage questions of climate change, fossil fuel capitalism, or environmental harm? 

We welcome proposals that interrogate the duality of “the road,” both as a means of moving forward, but also as a harbinger of the past. Narratives and theories of “roads” need not be limited to literature - guide books, poetry, comics, video games, music, art, film, political rhetoric, and theory (to name a few) are all welcome on this panel. We also welcome diverse experiences and conceptual frameworks to the question of the road, including but not limited to race, indigeneity, gender, sexuality, ability, ethnicity, citizenship, and the environment.

Please email abstracts [with the subject line: ROADS OF AMERICA] of approximately 250-300 words to Zarah Quinn at and Erna Andersson at The deadline to submit these abstracts is September 30th at 11:59pm.