Posts Tagged Conference
Greetings from Chicago!
Summer is a strange time to be an academic. Many in the general public imagine professors taking off for the beach or to country cabins to lounge about until the fall semester begins. The reality, as I’m sure you all know, is considerably less romantic.
My spring semester finally ended in the middle of May. I had papers from two composition classes and one course in literary theory to grade and then needed to go through my grading spreadsheets to calculate student final grades. Once those final grades were calculated, I uploaded them and then faced the next challenge, answering student emails about their final grades. I don’t know how many of you face this each semester, but I have at least five or six students each term who can’t understand why they didn’t receive an A. These, of course, are usually the students with poor attendance records and even poorer writing. Of course, in the corporatized world we live and work in, the attitude seems to be “I paid for an A. Give it to me.” Two of these students were persistent enough that I opted to meet with them to review their final papers. They still weren’t happy with my decision, but I felt that I had acted in a professional manner dealing with their complaint. That’s the best I could hope for in both cases.
After finishing up grading for the spring semester, my next task was as NEMLA area director. I reviewed the session proposals for the 2017 conference in Baltimore. This is a time consuming activity, but is generally enjoyable. I’m always impressed at the wide range of research interests I see in these proposals. The only distasteful part is having to reject proposals. The careful vetting of proposals at this early stage, however, prevents having to deal with major problems later. I always have an eye out for whether a session will garner paper submissions and participants. I also try to imagine myself as a person submitting an abstract to a particular session. Is the conceptual framework of that session clear? Do I have an idea of the type of papers the session chair is looking for? These are key questions that any conference session proposal should answer.
Acceptance and rejection emails for NEMLA sessions have now gone out and the Call for Papers is now open. I have two sessions proposed. One a panel session on the representation of agriculture in US fiction. You can read the description and submit abstracts here. The other is a roundtable on the teaching of 19th and 20th century war literature since 9/11. You can read the description and submit abstracts here. There are also a wide range of great sessions proposed for this year’s conference. You can see all those descriptions here.
Once I finished reviewing session proposals for NEMLA, I got to work with Lisa Perdigao, the Cultural Studies area director to set up a Special Event speaker for Baltimore. I think NEMLA members will enjoy the talk for 2017, which builds upon themes from this year’s conference speaker Jelani Cobb.
Then it was Memorial Day and my summer (in the conventional sense) could finally start. Of course, now I have an essay to write that is due this fall and still need to attend bi-weekly placement essay readings for the First Year Writing Program as well as revamp my course syllabus for the fall. But this is a state close to relaxation. I also have enough money coming in each month, thanks to our current union contract, that I don’t need to find additional work this summer. I know that I am blessed in this respect as many of my colleagues are looking for summer teaching or other work to fill the gap between now and September. I just wish that I made enough money to take a real vacation. It would also be nice to have a summer that didn’t turn into a research sabbatical for the next book or essay.
My blog post for this month is late due to all the busyness described above. It’s also a bit somber as I re-read it. This is due in large part to the sad state of affairs in Illinois. We are still without a state budget and probably will continue to be until after the fall elections. Who knows how many of our state colleges and university’s will still be around once that budget is passed. It’s also turning out to be an incredibly violent summer here in Chicago. Austerity is starting to take its toll.
I hope your summer is off to a good start whatever you are doing. Today I’m going to give myself permission to relax and recharge. I think I’ll start with another cup of coffee and my knitting basket. Yes, I knit. We can talk more about that in another post.
Until next time…..
2016 Call for Papers
Northeast Modern Language Association
47th Annual Convention
March 17-20, 2016
Hosted by the University of Connecticut
Abstract Deadline: September 30, 2015
Hartford features some of the most significant historic and cultural sites in New England: the adjacent and interconnected Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe Houses; the artistic and cultural collections at the Wadsworth Atheneum; classic and contemporary performances at the Hartford Stage, Theater Works, and the Bushnell Center for Performing Arts; archives and research opportunities at the Connecticut Historical Society and Connecticut State Library and State Archives; unique and offbeat museums for kids and families such as the Connecticut Science Center and the CRRA Trash Museum; and much more. Both Adriaen’s Landing (the newly completed area around the convention center) and the historic downtown feature a variety of restaurants, shops, and parks.
Please join us for this convention, which will feature approximately 400 sessions, dynamic speakers and cultural events. 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.
Full information regarding the 2016 Call for Papers may be found on our website:
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
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
Please include in your proposal your address, school affiliation, e-mail, and telephone number.
Also, please submit your proposal online at http://pcaaca.org/national-conference-2/proposing-a-presentation-at-the-conference/
Deadline for submissions is November 1, 2013. For more information, go to http://pcaaca.org/national-conference-2/
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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:
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.
I’m also proud to announce that I will be presenting at Chesnutt Hill College’s “Legacy of the Civil War” conference in November. The paper will explore a personal narrative written by Union veteran Charles Cummings who lost his feet in a work related accident but tries to obscure this fact through his writing. By calling himself a “war relic,” he suggests to the reader that his injuries are actually war related. Cummings’ pamphlet provides an excellent example of late nineteenth century attitudes towards veterans as well as discourses surrounding disability and poverty.
For more information on the conference, visit: http://www.chc.edu/civilwar/