Word-ing as Worlding: Writing in/through/from the Body to the World (NeMLA 2024 Panel)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association / NeMLA
contact email: 

This session emerges from an attunement to the excess of grief and trauma that have recently marked being and belonging for so many of us. In doing so, it aims to hold room for where grief and trauma meet literature and creative writing, asking first: what literature can we engage and look to for support on writing through grief and trauma, both our own and that of others we have come to know intimately? Other key questions that the session seeks to explore include, but are not limited to: How do we straddle writing about the “damage” of the everyday while also writing about what Toni Morrison calls awe and reverence? Further, how might one’s position as the Other in relation to the groups we speak and write about enable relationships to literature and writing that are centered on “speaking nearby” (Trinh. T. Minh-ha, 1992)?

This session engages with the 2024 NeMLA theme of surplus through an attention to the connections between who is rendered as surplus (i.e., through processes such as othering), what the affects of being positioned in various ways as surplus are, and how those affects show up in our everyday engagements with literature. It invites papers that think with and beyond routine us/them binaries of belonging and group membership to explore what words and worlds we can engage, look to and work to build in writing and literature. In particular, we would like to make room for papers that discuss what it would mean to write about experiences that are not our own while being ethical and relational in the writing we engage and provoke. We particularly welcome engagements with embodied experience and its spillover into creative writing and literature, but all offerings in response to the session’s framing questions will be warmly considered.

Abstracts should be between 200 to 300 words and are due September 30, 2023, and should be submitted through NeMLA's submission portal (https://cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/20337) using the NeMLA guidelines (https://www.buffalo.edu/nemla/convention.html). 

NeMLA 2024 will take place in person in Boston, MA on March 7-10, 2024. More information about the convention can be found on the NeMLA website (https://www.buffalo.edu/nemla/convention.html).