Material Welty Roundtable

deadline for submissions: 
December 1, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Rebecca L. Harrison / Eudora Welty Society
contact email: 

Eudora Welty Society

American Literature Association Conference

May 25-28, 2023 / The Westin Copley, Boston, MA

Eudora Welty writes that “[m]aking reality real is art's responsibility,” something achieved “by a cultivated sensitivity for observing life, a capacity for receiving impressions, a lonely, unremitting, unaided, unaidable vision, and transferring this vision without distortion to it onto the [page]” (from “Place in Fiction”). A daring writer, accomplished photographer, and avid consumer of varying forms of “high” and “low” culture, Welty’s opus keenly incorporates material artifacts as she examines the relationship between individuals and communities and their material world. Her writer’s eye is both clear sighted and critical in its exploration of the tangible–irrespective of time and place–and social construction of identity (regional and national) and the (re)production and polemic uses of culture.


For this roundtable, the Eudora Welty Society seeks panelists across disciplines working to frame new conversations concerning Welty’s engagement with the material world. Panelists would select a specific artifact in Welty’s imaginative vision–watermelon (LB), ruby ring (“PH”), ancestral portraits (DW), the Hotel Brevoort (BBB), etc.–and then present their findings in a five-to-seven-minute talk, depending on the number of presenters.   


Send abstracts of no more than 250 words and brief bios by December 1st to Rebecca Harrison ( Early statements of interest are encouraged. 


Key words: material culture, object theory, consumer culture.