Culture Wars 2.0: Teaching Diverse Literature in Troubled Times
*** DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JULY 20 ***
PAMLA Annual Conference
October 26-29, 2023
“Culture Wars 2.0” (Roundtable / Special Session)
It is probably fair to say that—given the recent increase in book challenges, public protests, legislative mandates, and whatever we might call what is currently happening in Florida*—today’s teachers of literature find themselves caught squarely in the middle of America’s “Culture Wars 2.0.” And perhaps nowhere is this fight more visible than in the teaching of authors from marginalized populations that have traditionally been excluded from course syllabi (especially LGBTQ+ or BIPOC authors). In response to decades of difficult curriculum work and constant political advocacy that finally expanded the array of voices featured in our classrooms, the pendulum has now begun to swing rapidly in the opposite direction, forcing teachers at the K-12 and the collegiate levels to think carefully about the texts and other media they choose to build their courses around for fear of being investigated, sued, or even fired from their jobs.
This special PAMLA roundtable invites participants to speak about their own experiences navigating the current and/or previous “Culture Wars,” and, if possible, to share tactics that have proven successful in this fight to increase literary diversity. Although the exact format will be determined by the number of participants, ideally the session would include 4-6 participants who would talk individually (no more than five minutes) at the beginning to establish some shared context before diving into a vigorous, free-flowing conversation with one another—and with the audience, too, of course. The goal of the roundtable is, in the end, to create a space for dialogue and reflection that ultimately leads to concrete strategies for continuing to incorporate a diverse cast of marginalized voices into our teaching—all without having to constantly look over our shoulders while doing so.
*The author of this proposal spent the first three decades of his life in Florida (and began his teaching career there, too!), so he feels fully qualified to call out his own home state for its current “race to the bottom.”
Anyone interested in submittting a proposal (<250 words) and brief abstract (<50 words) can upload their documents by visiting: https://pamla.ballastacademic.com/Home/S/18953.
PLEASE NOTE: Although the deadline is listed as 7/30/23, all new submissions will be evaluated on a first-come, first-served basis. IF you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out!