Call for Papers MLA 2019

American Literature Pedagogies: The American Literature Society invites individual proposals for a panel on the theme of “American Literature Pedagogies” at the 2019 MLA convention in Chicago, Illinois (Jan 3-6, 2019). In her 1977 essay, African American feminist literary scholar Barbara Smith writes, “For books to be real and remembered they have to be talked about.” We seek submissions that draw on pedagogical approaches that interrogate, expand, and challenge the American literary canon across time, space, and place. Papers that offer innovative, visionary, and/or new ways for thinking about American survey courses, period courses, multi-ethnic literature courses, and/or incorporate digital humanities, experiential learning, community-engagement, or other methods are encouraged. Please submit via e-mail a 250-word abstract and a 1-page CV by 5 March 2018 to Marci R. McMahon, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (

New Diasporas: A Roundtable: Recent African migrations to the United States prompt a revision of conventional notions of diaspora based on the frame of Atlantic slavery.  This roundtable – a collaborative session of the Postcolonial Forum with the American Literature Society – invites reflections on contemporary African Diasporas and their relationship to race, migration, postcoloniality, the Global South and/or the Black Atlantic. Please send a 200 word abstract and brief bio to Sheri-Marie Harrison ( and Yogita Goyal ( by 12 March 2018.

American Literature without Authors: Can we have American literature without authors? F. O. Matthiessen’s American Renaissance (1941)—the book said to found the study of antebellum American literature—based its argument upon a Romantic idea of the author: the lone genius who single-handedly created original, “great art.”  What might American literature look like if we did not have a propensity to study writers who we tend to think created their writings alone and/or if we queried traditional notions of authorship?  How can we conceive of American literature as a series of “Textual Transactions” (MLA 2019 Presidential Theme), wherein we could think of textual production as a transactional process?  Papers topics could include collaboration, conventions and clubs, political collectives, anonymous writing, book histories that displace the author as the center of meaning-making, translation, amanuenses, editors, anthologies, seriality, and reprinting of texts. 250-word abstracts and CV by 5 March 2018; Katy Chiles (