2009 ALSC Conference Call for Papers

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The ALSC Conference Program Committee invites proposals for papers and presentations to be considered for the 2009 conference at the Westin Tabor Center Hotel in Denver, October 9-11. Descriptions of each panel and seminar topic appear below, along with e-mail addresses and other contact information for submissions. Please bear in mind that there will be many more submissions than can be accepted, and that the criteria may include not only the merit of the individual submission but the range and variety of a session’s contributions. The pleasure of the conveners is to see how much stimulating and valuable work is being done; the pain is to be able to accommodate only part of it in panel or seminar.

Submission form and deadline. Submissions must reach the convener of the session by July 3. They should be sent to both (1) the convener of the panel or seminar and (2) the Association’s office at alsc@bu.edu. On your e-mail’s “subject” line, please give your name and other information in the following form: “ALSC 2009, [Name of Session] abstract by [First Name, Last Name].” For details regarding submission length, please refer to the individual instructions for each session.

If you do not send copies to both the convener and the ALSC, we cannot guarantee that you will receive an e-mail notice acknowledging receipt of your proposal.

For details regarding submission length, please refer to the individual instructions for each session.

You must be a member of the ALSC in good standing to participate in the conference program as a panelist or seminarian. ALSC members receive a discount on conference registration.


Panel One: Saving the Planet: You and Your Literary Not-for-Profit
Convener: David Rothman (University of Colorado, Boulder)
Almost all of those who labor in the vineyards of the literary world will spend much of their professional lives as members of, or employed by, or helping to run non-profit corporations (such as the ALSC), yet relatively few of us study how such organizations work. If we are to make any progress in our advocacy for literary education and the literary imagination we must not only do the best possible work in our areas of expertise, but also strive to build the strongest possible organizations. This panel brings together a group of writers, editors, critics and scholars who also have extensive experience in running literary and educational non-profits to discuss crucial issues that are often invisible, viz. governance, management, fundraising, advocacy, and the planning that are necessary if such institutions are to thrive. Please send proposals to David Rothman at rothmandavidj@msn.com, with a CC to alsc@bu.edu.

Panel Two: Ancient Drama, Modern Practice
Convener: Michael Poliakoff (University of Colorado)
Each generation creates new versions and adaptations of the classics. This panel will examine recent translations, performances and adaptations of the classic drama of Greece and Rome, examining a wide range of forms (theater, film, dance, opera, forms of translation, etc.) the underlying question to be addressed is that of what classical antiquity means to contemporary artists and audiences. Please send proposals to Michael Poliakoff at Michael.Poliakoff@Colorado.edu, with a CC to alsc@bu.edu.

Panel Three: ALSC: The Year in Print
Convener: TBA
This panel focuses on work that ALSC has published in the past year, focusing on Literary Imagination, Forum, and Literary Matters. Panelists will discuss major pieces from these journals and respond to them, extending the conversation and foregrounding the publications of ALSC. Please send proposals to alsc@bu.edu.

Panel Four: The K –12 English Curriculum: Challenges and Proposals
Convener: Sandra Stotsky (University of Arkansas, Fayetteville)
Most ALSC members are aware of the discouraging news about K-12 English and literature curricula and testing. Scores continue to decline, standards are low, and literature per se seems to be ever more displaced in favor of other initiatives. These developments have a direct impact not only on student preparedness for college, but also on the larger literary culture. This panel will discuss the challenges facing those who would work for K-12 literature curriculum reform and suggest concrete proposals for action and change. Please send proposals to Sandra Stotsky at sstotsky@aol.com, with a CC to alsc@bu.edu.

Panel Five: The Once and Future Sonnet
Convener: David Mikics (University of Houston)
Rumors of the death of the sonnet continue to be exaggerated. Indeed, the sonnet seems to be enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Many journals are publishing more sonnets than they used to, and there are even a number of new periodicals devoted entirely to the form, such as the online publications 14 by 14 and Contemporary Sonnet. This panel will examine the resilience of the sonnet and prospects for its future, paying close attention to the history of the form and discussing some of it preeminent current practitioners. Please send proposals to David Mikics at dmikics@gmail.com, with a CC to alsc@bu.edu.

Panel Six: Dostoevsky in the 21st Century
Convener: Susan McReynolds (Northwestern University)
Dostoevsky’s novels are paradoxical texts: they are deeply rooted in Dostoevsky’s Russia, yet have also become classics of world literature. Dostoevsky claimed that he was writing for Russians of his own time, and expressed disbelief that real Russian art, such as his novels, could be understood by Western Europeans. What are the challenges, potential pitfalls, and possible advantages to teaching Dostoevsky as world literature, in English (or other non-Slavic) departments, or in courses on the novel? This session seeks to gather perspectives from scholars teaching this text in a variety of settings. What strategies do we have for making a text embedded in nineteenth-century Russian culture accessible to our twenty-first century students? Our goal is to present a variety of pedagogical strategies and engage in dialog about the nature of cross-cultural education in different institutional environments. Please send proposals to Susan McReynolds at s-mcreynolds@northwestern.edu, with a CC to alsc@bu.edu.

Panel Seven: Who Reads What Where? The Western Canon in New Contexts
Convener: TBA
The culture and theory wars may have died down on college campuses, but the way that works of literature are transmitted from generation to generation and place to place remains a perennial question, especially given the advent of increasingly powerful electronic communication. The recent success in English of a wide range of imaginative works from around the world suggests both continuity and change in how the western canon of literature is understood. This panel will examine this question and the prospects for the future of the literary past. Please send proposals to alsc@bu.edu.


The 2009 Conference in Denver will continue the tradition established in 2004 of offering seminars designed to increase participation of the membership in the conference and giving them another excellent reason to attend. Modeled on what has worked successfully for such organizations as the Shakespeare Association of America and the Modernist Studies Association, these four seminars will each be led by a distinguished member of the Association.
Each seminar will have fifteen (15) guaranteed places, and each person accepted for a seminar will receive an official letter of invitation to the conference and will be listed in its program. Seminar participants will write brief position papers (2-4 pages maximum, double-spaced), and will circulate their papers to the other participants and read all the papers prior to the conference. The listing of the titles in the conference program should help participants obtain travel funding for the conference from their home colleges and universities. Senior scholars are eligible to apply for these seminars, but graduate students and junior faculty especially are encouraged to do so; we hope that senior scholars and others will spread the word and encourage their graduate students and junior colleagues to apply. The four seminars will run concurrently. Those admitted as participants in each seminar will participate in the actual discussion, but anyone at the conference is welcome to attend one of the seminars as an auditor—not a participant—provided there is sufficient room. Details on submission of abstracts are given above and on the topics of the seminars below.

Seminar One: Great Books II
Convener: David Clemens (Monterey Peninsula College)
Brief papers, 2-4 pages long, are requested that focus on the deployment of Great Books—and particular Great Books authors—in the classroom, either in elective courses or as part of a core curriculum. What approaches might be taken to teaching such courses and what goals can be achieved? Among possible topics one might include such classic authors’ focus on the universal and perennial as objects of study and writing, the role of history in studying their work, and the relation of such courses to more narrowly disciplinary courses in reading and writing, including courses with a far smaller literary component. Other topics might be the role of Great Books in the remediation of cultural illiteracy and critical thinking skills among minority and underserved students, and the role of Great Books in faculty professional development. Abstracts, proposals, or the papers themselves should be sent to dclemens@mpc.edu, with a CC to alsc@bu.edu.

Seminar Two: Poetry and the Web
Convener: Susan Harris (Words Without Borders)
As more journals and literary magazines move to partial or complete online publication, and Websites such as Poets.org post classic and contemporary poems free of charge, poetry is more available than it has ever been. What are the implications of this expanded accessibility? How has the Internet altered approaches to reading, publishing, and writing poetry? To what particular uses can Internet publication be put? Publishers, poets, critics, and scholars will discuss issues including reception, dissemination, copyright protection, and how the shift from print to online has affected traditional markets. Abstracts, proposals, or the papers themselves should be sent to susaneharris@earthlink.net, with a CC to alsc@bu.edu.

Seminar Three: Historicisms
Convener: Susan Wolfson and Ron Levao (Princeton University)
In literary studies, historicism is a term with meanings as varied as its deployments. In critical and classroom practice, social, political, economic, and intellectual contexts may illuminate as well as marginalize formalist and aesthetic concerns, expanding possibilities and focusing attentive reading, or purging supposed anachronism and chastising undesirable interests and indulgences. This seminar encourages fresh investigations into relations between literary and historical scholarship, and is directed especially toward critics, teachers, and scholars with a devotion to both, and to the lively intersections. How does literary work exploit the tensions of its historical contexts? In what way are authors determined by their contexts, and in what ways do authors bend and trope their contexts? Is the case for a reciprocal relation between texts and contexts even necessary? All historical periods and perspectives welcome—for both literary cases to consider, and for various kinds of historicisms.

Please send short papers (up to 5 pages), focusing on practical instances and/or taking wider views, to Professors Susan Wolfson and Ronald Levao, 64 Stoney Brook Lane, Princeton New Jersey 08540-7512, and also by e-mail attachment to wolfson@princeton.edu, with a CC to alsc@bu.edu.

Seminar Four: Open – Call for Papers
Convener: TBA
ALSC invites members to submit topics for seminars. All such proposals will be read by the Conference Coordinator, the ALSC President and the Programs Manager. The seminar proposal selected will be chaired by the proposer in Denver, and a call for papers will be issued immediately following the acceptance of the proposal. Proposals should be e-mailed to alsc@bu.edu.

1 thought on “2009 ALSC Conference Call for Papers”

  1. This topic is quite hot on the Internet right now. What do you pay attention to while choosing what to write ?
    p.s. Year One is already on the Internet and you can watch it for free.

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