Posts Tagged Academic

Call for Papers: PCA/ACA Civil War and Reconstruction Section

Call for Papers:

The American Civil War and Reconstruction

Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association

National Conference  2014


April 16-19, 2014

Marriott Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile

Chicago, Illinois


The Civil War and Reconstruction Area of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association is calling for papers on the American Civil War and Reconstruction for its national meeting, April 16-19, 2014 (Wednesday through Saturday) at theMarriott Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile.  Papers are welcome from a range of disciplines, and may explore any topic or “reading” of the War.  Past presentations have included such diverse subject areas as literature, photography, art, newspapers and journalistic history, counterfactual history, battle reenactments, music, politics, battle narratives, guerilla warfare, film, historiographical issues, women’s narratives, war games, secession politics, African-Americans at war, modern pop culture, memory and memorializing, battlefield preservation, and material culture.  Suggested special topics for this year could include slavery and politics, Northern intellectuals at war, Lincoln and the Spielberg film, military politics, The 150th Commemoration and the Politics of Commemoration, and the cultural legacy of the War.


Acceptance of your paper obligates you to appear and make an oral presentation of your paper.  Sessions run for ninety minutes, and each presenter receives fifteen minutes, depending on the number of papers in each panel.  Please plan to stay within this time limit.  Graduate students are welcome to submit proposals.  Whole panel proposals are also welcome


Please send an abstract of 100-250 words to:

Dr. Randal Allred,

Department of English,

Brigham Young University Hawaii,

55-220 Kulanui St.,

Laie, HI 96762

phone (808) 675-3633, and fax (808) 675-3662.

Please include in your proposal your address, school affiliation, e-mail, and telephone number.

Also, please submit your proposal online at


Deadline for submissions is November 1, 2013. For more information, go to


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NEMLA 2014 Call for Papers: The Battle of Gettysburg in Fiction and Film

Call for Papers

High Water Mark of War: The Battle of Gettysburg in Fiction and Film


45th Annual Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NEMLA)

April 3-6, 2014

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Host: Susquehanna University



Often regarded by scholars as one of the major turning points in the United States Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg has attained an iconic status in American literature and culture. Twentieth Century southern writer William Faulkner claimed in his novel Intruder in the Dust (1948) that “For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it’s still not yet two o’clock on that July afternoon in 1863.”  Living with the legacy of defeat, white southern males imagined (in Faulkner’s view) a time when General Pickett had yet to lead his charge and the South still imagined it could win the war.  Northern writers such as Michael Shaara also turned to Gettysburg for a wide variety of reasons.  In Shaara’s case, the struggle at Gettysburg provided moral clarity that was sorely lacking in the Vietnam War era.


This panel will address the question of what actually happened at Gettysburg and how those events were reshaped over time to create distinct ‘legacies’ of that battle and the war of which it was a part. Questions to consider include but aren’t limited to:  How is race addressed (or not) in portrayals of the battle?  What role do civilians play in representations of the battle?  Is battlefield heroism portrayed in a straightforward or ironic light?  Does a particular narrative of the battle seem to say more about its own times than the Civil War era?


Film scholars are encouraged to submit proposals for this panel. Papers that examine the civilian experience of the battle are also sought.


Please send your abstract of approximately 250-300 words along with a one page CV to


The deadline for submissions is September 30, 2013



Interested participants may submit abstracts to more than one NeMLA session; however, panelists can only present one paper (panel or seminar). Convention participants may present a paper at a panel and also present at a creative session or participate in a roundtable.  For a full list of NEMLA 2014 conference sessions visit:


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A Return to the Text: Reflections on NEMLA 2013

As Stanley Fish discovered more than a year ago, it’s hard to call a trend based simply on the number of sessions listed in the program of an academic conference. That’s why I’m hesitant to call what I observed at NEMLA 2013 a trend just yet. It is worth noting, however, that a shift seems to be occurring among a sizable number of literary scholars and that shift could prove comforting to the technophobes among us who shudder every time they hear the phrase “digital humanities.”

What I observed in panels such as “Teaching the History of the Book to Undergraduates” and “Teaching How We Read Now” was the already well-documented movement away from post-structuralism and identity-based theories in favor of textual analysis. Yet this is far from the old-fashioned textual analysis practiced by literary scholars since the days when Greek and Latin authors constituted literary study on United States college campuses.

QR codes are now embedded in Medieval manuscripts that reveal how Old English in Chaucer should sound. Hyperlinks allow multiple editions of a text to be read simultaneously and compared. Computer algorithms allow for the analysis of an author’s use of language to determine who wrote an anonymous work of fiction. Data mining techniques help scholars to create word clouds and thought maps to dramatically visualize the zeitgeist of an era or show the evolution of language in graphic terms.

The techniques are new and in some cases require more advanced technical knowledge than the average humanities scholar might possess. But the newness of the techniques with all their bells and whistles hide the reality that philologists (in the guise of DH gurus) are cool again.

Where this turn in literary scholarship will eventually lead is anyone’s guess. I for one am glad to read something for a change that isn’t Foucault.

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