Congratulations to the 2018 Winners of the 1921 Prize

In the tenured category:
Claudia Stokes, “Novel Commonplaces: Quotation, Epigraphs, and Literary Authority”
American Literary History 30. 2 (2018): 201-221.

In the untenured category:
Christopher Pexa, “Futurity Foreclosed: Jonestown, Settler Colonialism, and the Ending of Time in Fred D’Aguiar’s Bill of Rights.” MELUS 43.1 (Spring 2018): 2-20.

Hortense Spillers is the Recipient of the 2018 Hubbell Award

Hortense Spillers is the recipient of the 2018 Hubbell Award, which will be presented at the MLA Awards Ceremony in Chicago, Illinois during the MLA January 3-6, 2019.

photo-spillers

Hortense J. Spillers is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English at Vanderbilt University. Since receiving her Ph.D. from Brandeis, she has taught at Wellesley College, Haverford College, Emory, and Cornell Universities. She has also served as a guest professor in the Program in Literature at Duke University during academic year 2002-03 and for two consecutive years during tri-semester terms at the John F. Kennedy Center for North American Studies at the Free University in Berlin, Germany, 2000 and 2001. A recipient of numerous honors and awards, among them, grants from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation, she has been a fellow at both the National Humanities Center, Research Triangle, and the Center for the Study of the Behavioral Sciences, Palo Alto. While at Haverford, she was chair of the English Department for two years before moving to Cornell where she joined the Norton projects by serving as one of the period editors of the Norton Anthology of African-American Literature. At Vanderbilt, where she joined the English faculty there in AY 2006-07, she founded The A-Line Journal, an independent online magazine devoted to examination of national and world events through a theoretical lens.

Her collection of scholarly essays, Black, White, and In Color: Essays on American Literature and Culture, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2003. With Marjorie Pryse, she co-edited Conjuring: Black Women, Fiction, and Literary Tradition, published by Indiana University Press; Spillers also edited for the English Institute series a collection of essays entitled Comparative American Identities: Race, Sex, and Nationality in the Modern Text, published by Routledge. Spillers serves on a number of editorial boards, among them, the Editorial Collective of boundary 2, and is a former member of the Executive Council of the Modern Language Association. Some of her more recent essays have appeared in The New Centennial Review, das argument, and boundary 2. She co-founded with Tamura Lomax The Feminist Wire, an online magazine dedicated to feminist issues and critique. Currently, she is at work on two new projects, the idea of black culture and black women and early state formations. She teaches courses in American and African-American literature, Faulkner, and feminist theory. She travels extensively, lectures widely both at home and abroad, most recently delivering the 2010 Sidney Warhaft Distinguished Memorial lecture at the University of Manitoba, and will give the DuBois Lectures at Harvard in the fall of 2014. She lives in Nashville.

CFP: American Literature Association Conference 2019

The American Literature Society invites contributions for a panel at the upcoming American Literature Association Conference in Boston, May 23-26, 2019.

Growing up and Growing Old: Age, Race and Gender in American Literature

From the Revolutionary War era, when the U.S. considered itself an “infant nation” through the nineteenth century’s fascination with urchins, orphans and other deserving cherubs, childhood has been a central organizing metaphor for American authors. As recent work in Critical Age Studies and Childhood Studies have shown, narratives of progress, development, and eventual mastery are cast as seemingly universal American stories, even as the option to “grow up American” is systematically refused on the basis of race, ethnicity gender, sexuality and ability. This panel seeks to explore how the concepts of age and aging are constructed in conversation with–and often in opposition to–other forms of identity in American literature.

Some possible topics include, but are not restricted to:

Childhoods of color

How do we think about age without falling into narratives of growth and decline?

Growing up gender fluid and/or other modes of queering childhood

Institutions (prisons, schools, hospitals) and the process of growing up/old

Rethinking the bildungsroman

Who gets to grow up?

Racial temporalities and the aging process

Colonizing childhoods

Metaphors of infantilization

Rethinking the parameters of children’s literature

Childhood in the literature of social justice

Children as political actors

Please send a 200 word abstract and c.v. to Anna Mae Duane at amduane1@gmail.com by December 20th, 2018.

 

The 1921 Prize in American Literature

The American Literature Society is pleased to invite submissions for the 1921 prize, which is awarded annually for the best article in any field of American literature. The prize is named for the year the organization was initially founded “to promote and diversify the study of American Literature.” Judged by a panel comprised of members of the American Literature Society Advisory Board and other scholars in the field, the competition will be divided in two categories: one for tenured faculty and one for graduate students, scholars in contingent positions, and untenured faculty members. The winner will be announced at the 2019 MLA Conference. For any questions, please contact ALS chair Anna Mae Duane at amduane1@gmail.com

Rules for competition:
• Submissions must be published during the calendar year of 2018. For submissions that have not yet appeared in print by the September 1 deadline, authors are requested to provide verification that their essay will be published within the calendar year.
•Articles must appear in one of the following journals: African American Review; American Literary History; American Literature; American Periodicals; Callaloo; Early American Literature; ESQ; J19; Legacy; MELUS; Studies in American Fiction; and Studies in American Indian Literatures. Essays that appear elsewhere will not be considered.
•Please send an electronic copy of the nominated essay (PDF preferred) to the Prize Committee by September 1, 2018 at 1921prize2018@gmail.com
•Authors must be members of the American Literature Society to be eligible for consideration. Membership is free of charge. To join the society, please visit http://www.als-mla.org/als/
•No person may nominate more than one essay in a given year.

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 (marci.mcmahon@utrgv.edu)

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 (harrisonsl@missouri.edu) and Yogita Goyal (ygoyal@humnet.ucla.edu) 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 (kchiles1@utk.edu).

 

William Andrews is the recipient of the 2017 Hubbell Award

William Andrews is the recipient of the 2017 Hubbell Award. John Ernest will present the award to Professor Andrews at the Americanist reception (cohosted with C19, SEA, AAS, and other groups) on Friday January 5, 4:00-6:00 pm in the Trustees Room of the main branch of the New York Public Library on 42nd and Fifth Avenue.

William L. Andrews

The E. Maynard Adams Professor of English & Comparative Literature at UNC-Chapel Hill, William Andrews is the author or editor of numerous books, including The Literary Career of Charles W. Chesnutt, To Tell a Free Story: The First Century of Afro-American Autobiography, 1760-1865, The Norton Anthology of African American Literature, The Oxford Companion to African American Literature, and The Literature of the American South: A Norton Anthology, among countless others. He is general editor of Wisconsin Studies in Autobiography, a book series published by the University of Wisconsin Press, and he is series editor of North American Slave Narratives, Beginnings to 1920, a complete digitized library of autobiographies and biographies of North American slaves and ex-slaves, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Ameritech, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Professor Andrews’s influence on the field of African American studies has been immense, immeasurable. Through DocSouth (the digital archive), he has made hundreds of texts available that have not been accessible before, changing the field significantly in the process. And through his other work, he has done much to shape how we respond to that archive.

CFP: “Reading Confederate Monuments” at ALA San Francisco (May 24-27, 2018)

The American Literature Society seeks submissions to a panel at the annual American Literature Association Conference (ALA), which will be held at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco on May 24-27, 2018 (Thursday through Sunday of Memorial Day weekend).

What do literary criticism, literary history, and critical theory offer to our reckoning with Confederate monuments? This panel seeks papers offering a broad array of responses to this question. Papers might provide, for instance, readings of actual monuments—their construction, their location, their design, their inscription, their typeface, their reception history. They also might feature literary histories of the those genres—such as white supremacist melodramas, reconciliation romances, and Lost Cause reminiscences—that continued working on behalf of the Confederacy long after either Appomattox or the Compromise of 1877; juxtapositions of Confederate monuments with those literary texts and films, like Gone with the Wind, that might be termed “Confederate monuments” in their own right; alternative periodizations of the Civil War and its role in organizing American literary history that take into account the recent upsurge in neo-Confederate activity in defense of Confederate monuments; or readings rethinking Confederate monuments by placing them into conversation with those literary texts, like Kevin Young’s For the Confederate Dead or Suzan-Lori Parks’s Father Comes Home from the Wars, that represent the ongoing role played by Confederate memory in American life.

Abstracts (between 200 and 300 words) and CVs should be submitted by December 30 to Travis Foster at travis.foster@villanova.edu.

CFP: “Reassessing Leslie Fiedler” at ALA San Francisco (May 24-27, 2018)

The American Literature Society seeks submissions to a panel at the annual American Literature Association Conference (ALA), which will be held at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco on May 24-27, 2018 (Thursday through Sunday of Memorial Day weekend).

“Reassessing Leslie Fiedler”

2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the 1948 publication of “Come Back to the Raft Ag’in, Huck Honey!” That essay, later incorporated in Fiedler’s Love and Death in the American Novel (1960), has been called by Ross Posnock “the most influential single essay ever written about American literature.” This panel invites papers that consider the assumptions about race, desire, national identity, and literary merit that Fiedler put into print. How much do we still owe to those assumptions, and how much can we claim to have superseded them?
Fiedler’s legacy is fraught: he was the first to spotlight race and sexuality in American literary studies, but he did so in order to claim an American literary exceptionalism that, as Robyn Wiegman points out, makes the white male psyche the privileged stage where dramas of racial injustice play out. If Fiedler celebrated queer desire as aesthetically generative, he also insisted on a notion of innocent homosexuality, as Christopher Looby observes. Fiedler is a practitioner of the myth and symbol school, long outpaced by more rigorous historicisms. Yet Kathy Lavezzo and Harilaos Stecopolous suggest that Fiedler’s transhistorical approach—whereby medieval troubadours return as mid-nineteenth-century novelists—might well align with proposals for queer unhistoricism or other calls for asynchronous reading. Papers might also consider Fiedler’s position as a midcentury Jewish intellectual and self-styled provocateur, one whose reach to a nonacademic audience (“Come Back” was published in Partisan Review, and Love and Death was published by Criterion) might provoke us to reflect on our current professional aspirations and limits.

Abstracts (between 200 and 300 words) and brief CVs should be submitted by December 30 to Ashley Barnes at ashley.barnes@utdallas.edu.

The 1921 Prize in American Literature

The American Literature Society is pleased to invite submissions for the 1921 prize, which is awarded annually for the best article in any field of American literature. The prize is named for the year the organization was initially founded “to promote and diversify the study of American Literature.” Judged by a panel comprised of members of the American Literature Society Advisory Board and other scholars in the field, the competition will be divided in two categories: one for tenured faculty and one for graduate students, scholars in contingent positions, and untenured faculty members. The winner will be announced at the 2018 MLA awards ceremony. For any questions, please contact ALS chair Claudia Stokes at cstokes@trinity.edu.

Rules for competition:

  • Submissions must be published during the calendar year of 2017. For submissions that have not yet appeared in print by the September 1 deadline, authors are requested to provide verification that their essay will be published within the calendar year.
  • Articles must appear in one of the following journals: African American Review; American Literary History; American Literature; American Periodicals; Callaloo; Early American Literature; ESQ; J19; Legacy; MELUS; Studies in American Fiction; and Studies in American Indian Literatures. Essays that appear elsewhere will not be considered.
  • Please send an electronic copy of the nominated essay (PDF preferred) to the Prize Committee by September 1, 2017 at 1921prize@gmail.com.
  • Authors must be members of the American Literature Society to be eligible for consideration. Membership is free of charge. To join the society, please visit http://www.als-mla.org/als/
  • No person may nominate more than one essay in a given year.
Link

CALL FOR PAPERS, MLA 2018

“THEATRICAL COLLABORATION”: The American Literature Society and the American Theatre and Drama Society invite individual proposals for a co-sponsored panel on the theme of “Theatrical Collaboration” at the 2018 MLA convention in New York City (Jan 4-7, 2018). We seek submissions that reflect on the multiple ways in which artists collaborate with one another to challenge the borders of the literary and the theatrical in the American context. How have playwrights and performers, novelists, poets, and those who adapt their work, interacted to produce new works and even new genres? How does the theatre capture acts of collaboration or resist narratives of joint creation? What does the pejorative sense of collaboration as complicity teach us about creation across artistic boundaries? What is the potential for increased scholarly work across the categories of literature and theatre? The ALS and the ATDS are scholarly organizations devoted respectively to the preservation, study and recognition of American literature and culture and the study of United States theatre and drama, its varied histories, traditions, literatures, and performances within its cultural contexts. In this collaboration, the two organizations welcome expansive notions of what and who comprises America. Please submit via e-mail a 250-word abstract and a 1-page CV by 10 March 2017 to Laura Mielke, University of Kansas (lmielke@ku.edu)<mailto:lmielke@ku.edu)>.

“PARANOID READING IN THE AGE OF TRUMP”: The American Literature Society solicits contributors to a panel at MLA 2018 titled “Paranoid Reading in the Age of Trump.” The 2016 presidential election revealed a significant gulf in the way Americans interpret narrative and choose texts. With the election of Donald Trump, we find ourselves embroiled in a heated national debate about the dividing lines between fact and fiction, between legitimate sources and illegitimate ones. Now more than ever, American read to confirm their pre-existing beliefs and disdain the conventional rubrics for determining a source’s credibility. As some of our national institutions and government protocols come under attack, we also find ourselves in a national crisis of reading and interpretation. We seek papers that address “Paranoid Reading,” to use Eve Kosvosky Sedgwick’s term, in our current political moment. Papers might address, but are not limited to, the following topics: Does literary critical method change in the context of a Trump presidency? Or literary critical pedagogy? How and why? Does the current political climate produce new readings of texts? What would reparative American literary criticism look like in our current critical moment? Is it possible? Desirable? How can—or should—academic affect and performance respond to the anti-humanities turn that seems likely to only intensify? How should we approach oft-critiqued liberal ideals in the face of current attacks on those very ideals? How, for example, does the critical work on the impossibility of one stable truth fare in a moment awash in “fake news?” Please send a 300 word abstract and c.v. to Anna Mae Duane (amduane1@gmail.com) by March 15th.