NEMLA 2023 Community, Resistance, and ‘Surplus’ Populations in American Literature
This panel invites papers that explore literary representations of populations—immigrants, migrant workers, the racially or sexually marginalized, disabled persons, etc.—that are rendered ‘surplus’ by American society. This might be through economic, political, or interpersonal forces. This panel is especially interested in the ways these populations resist this dehumanization and forge their own communities. The label ‘surplus’ pushes these populations to the margins of society, deeply isolating them. Isolation is one of the most crippling afflictions that an individual can encounter, leaving them with no support system when forces like prejudices, poverty, or oppression affect them so deeply. This panel seeks to examine the literature that captures the significance of community in the face of this isolation. Often, the formation of these communities and relationships appear counterintuitive to an individualistic American society. This session aims to examine how literature explores the resilience and strength of these communities and welcomes papers spanning all literary genres and time periods through American literature.