Going Home Again: Revisiting American Literature of Suburbia

deadline for submissions: 
March 31, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Julie Wilhelm and John Miller
contact email: 

Chapter proposals are invited for an edited volume tentatively titled Going Home Again: Revisiting American Literature of Suburbia. We are aiming for a balance of revisionary views of “classic” suburban literature of the post-war decades informed by current critical approaches; explorations of how 21st century American literature has represented and revised ideas about suburbia; and arguments looking comparatively at both. We hope that putting newer and older works of American suburban literature in dialogue may suggest ways in which the genre and its history can be redefined.

The suburbs, as both a physical setting and a cultural idea, have been central to representations of conflicting American values and identities since the end of World War II. Over that time, suburbia has evolved from embodying an aspirational vision of domestic prosperity and tranquility–along with all the contradictions and oppressions that vision entailed–to being the default norm of American domestic experience: over half of Americans today report living in suburbs. As the suburbs themselves have become correspondingly diverse, so has the American literary landscape, allowing for new perspectives on the tensions that suburban literature has played with for 75 years: conformity and individuality, diversity and identity, public and private selves, materialism and spirituality, artifice and authenticity. The time therefore seems ripe for a reconsideration of how literature reflects and reflects on this evolving American social and domestic reality (at least two monographs have appeared in the last few years on aspects of this literature). In addition to the familiar suburban themes noted above, we would welcome chapters considering such topics as

  • race, class, and gender in older and more recent suburban literature
  • the immigrant suburban experience
  • definitions and varieties of suburbia
  • the demographic evolutions of post-war suburbs 
  • suburbia and post-modernity
  • malls and mall culture
  • meanings of “home”
  • suburbia in an era of global crises
  • suburbia and youth cultures
  • American suburban literature and American regionalism

We have received preliminary interest in the book from at least two academic presses. Please send proposals of 250 words and a brief bio to Julie Wilhelm and John Miller at jwilhelm@nu.edu and jmiller@nu.edu by March 31, 2024. Completed chapters should be in the neighborhood of 6000 words.