Posts Tagged NeMLA 2019

NeMLA CFP (2019) Teaching American Literature as Post-Colonial Literature (Proposals Due 9/30)

Efforts have been underway for nearly a generation to change the way that scholars, students, and the general public view “American Literature.” To a large extent, these efforts have been additive in nature. Works of literature that had previously been left out or “lost” from the literary record were added. New theoretical frameworks that helped legitimize these recovered works of fiction were also introduced. Although this process of recovery helped reframe classic works of American fiction and forced the literary history of US fiction to evolve, it did not fundamentally change the vision of American Literature as an exceptional body of work tied to an exceptional nation. What would it mean to remove the structural framework of US exceptionalism from the syllabus of American Literature courses? How might post-colonial theory help scholars teaching these courses (particularly US surveys) to accomplish this goal? How might a change in pedagogy drive a change in scholarship on the authors typically examined in these courses? What backlash might scholars attempting to make these changes face in a renewed nationalist climate and how could they potentially use that backlash to change public discourse on US fiction? These are a few of the possible questions that presentations in this session might consider. Research examining authors of the early Republic within a post-colonial framework are particularly welcome. Please note that round tables are informal presentations of between 5 and 10 minutes as these sessions are meant to generate discussion.

 

This round table will examine the role of US exceptionalism in creating course syllabi for American Literature surveys taught today. It will also consider how a post-colonial theoretical framework might change the way that scholars teach American Literature and how those pedagogical changes might drive changes in scholarship on the authors taught in these courses.

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NeMLA CFP (2019) Landscape and Immigration in the Long-Nineteenth-Century (Proposals Due 9/30)

In his Letters from an American Farmer (1782), Hector St. John De Crèvecoueur asserted that “Men are like plants; the goodness and flavour of the fruit proceeds from the peculiar soil and exposition in which they grow.” Crèvecoueur imagined the land that would soon become the United States as nourishing soil for transplanted people arrived from other nations. Immigration was thus connected in his mind to metaphors of agriculture and the natural world. Immigrant narratives would remain attached to landscape metaphors throughout the long-nineteenth-century. This panel will explore some of those metaphors in the fiction written about immigrants to the United States from the early Republic to the early twentieth century. How do these narratives explain the relationship of immigrants to the new landscape they find themselves inhabiting? How do these metaphors shape national discourse on who belongs in the United States and who does not? These are just two of the potential questions that possible paper submissions might address. Research addressing questions of why immigrants fail to thrive in American soil or that explores undesirable groups through the lens of plant metaphors (such as weeds vs. productive crops) are particularly welcome.

 
This panel explores the relationship between immigration and fictional narratives about landscape in the United States from the early Republic to the early twentieth century.  Papers of between 15-20 minutes are sought that analyze natural metaphors used to explain why some groups of migrants to the United States thrive while others don’t.

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