Naturalism Panels at ALA 2016

Stephen Crane Society

Chair: Paul Sorrentino

  1.     “Falling Stories: Disability and Cinematic Naturalism in Stephen Crane’s City Sketches,” Donna Campbell, Washington State University
  1. “‘In this awkward situation he was simply perfect’: Awkwardly Unsettling Minstrel Humor and Lynching Apologetics in Crane’s “The Monster,” Ambar Meneses-Hall, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  1. “’‘Well, now, yer a hell of a t’ing, ain’ yeh?’: Collective Shaming and Individual Punishment in the Sexual Economy of the Bowery in Stephen Crane’sMaggie: A Girl of the Streets,” Eliza Wilcox, Winthrop University

Theodore Dreiser Society

Panel 1: Theodore Dreiser, Open Topic
Chair: Linda Kornasky, Angelo State University
1. “The Science of Crime in Dreiser’s Fiction,” John Dudley, University of South Dakota
2. “Dreiser Weaving: Patterns, Designs, and Female Labor,” Craig Carey, University of Southern Mississippi
3. “Economic Colonization in An American Tragedy,” Andrew Spencer, Virginia Commonwealth University
4. “Cityscape as Literary Space: Representing Turn-of-the-Century American Cities in Theodore Dreiser’s Novels,” Heather Yuping Wang, Nanjing University of Science and Technology

Panel 2: Global Dreiser
Chair: Linda Kornasky, Angelo State University
1. “Local Color and the Picturesque in Dreiser Looks at Russia” Gary Totten, North Dakota State University
2. “Russia Looks at Dreiser,” Katerina Kozhevnikova, University of Copenhagen
3. “‘Not dead and scholastic but living like the smell of violets’: Literary Criticism and Social Change in the Correspondence between Theodore Dreiser and Sergei Dinamov, 1926-37,” Jude Davies, University of Winchester

Frank Norris Society

Panel Title: Frank Norris and American Literary Naturalism

Chair: Eric Carl Link, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne

  1. “’It Faces Every Child of Man’: Readers, Imagined Violence, and Culpability in American Literary Naturalism,” Adam Wood, Salisbury University
  2. “’Erotic Economy’: Domesticity, Desire, and the Women of McTeague,” Nicole de Fee, Louisiana Tech University
  3. “Foodways & Nation-Building: The Domestic Decline of The Octopus,” Lauren Navarro, LaGuardia Community College
  4. “Frank Norris and the Legacy of Higher Biblical Criticism,” Steven Bembridge, University of East Anglia

CFP: Wharton in Washington: A Conference Sponsored by the Edith Wharton Society (Deadline 7.15.15)

The Edith Wharton Society

whartonpassportWharton in Washington:
A Conference Sponsored by the Edith Wharton Society
June 2016 (specific dates TBA)

Conference web site:

Please join the Edith Wharton Society for its upcoming Conference in Washington, DC. The conference directors seek papers focusing on all aspects of Wharton’s work. Papers might offer readings of any of Wharton’s texts, including the short fiction, poetry, plays, essays, travel writing, and other nonfiction, in addition to the novels.

While all topics are welcome, the location of the conference in the U. S. capital invites readings related to nationalism, cosmopolitanism, transatlanticism, seats of power, Americana, museum cultures in the 19th C, material cultures, and the work of preservation. Further, given the centennial years of World War I, papers offering new examinations of Wharton’s relationship to the war are particularly invited.

Proposals might also explore Wharton’s work in the context of such figures as Teddy Roosevelt and Henry Adams…

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A Modest Proposal for MLA 2016: Endorse Skype Interviews

Question: On what issue do ChronicleVitae/Slate blogger and frequent MLA critic Rebecca Schuman and MLA Executive Director Rosemary Feal agree?

Answer: Skype (or videoconference) videos instead of, or at the very least as a valid alternative to, the MLA conference interview.

Schuman reports that some potential candidates had their interview invitations withdrawn when they requested a Skype interview instead.  I can’t speak for all institutions, but that ought to be against the rules.

Should not having $1000 to spend on travel preclude a first-round interview? (And it’s really more like $1500 than $1000, which is a lot of money.) No, it shouldn’t. This is a first-round interview, with campus interviews still to come. The members of the department will still get to meet the second-round candidates as usual.

One angle not yet addressed in various articles about this is the perspective of the search committee.  Maybe some schools send the entire committee, but many more send 1-2 members to do the interviews, partially funding them, with possible assistance from whatever department members are available at MLA.

With a Skype interview, the entire search committee could arrange to be present to interview candidates, thereby giving more members exposure to the candidates and allowing for more input from the entire committee. Those not at MLA wouldn’t have to rely on the reports and notes of those who went, as now happens.

This is the sort of issue that the MLA should put its weight behind, at least to the point of having a discussion or resolution about it in the Delegate Assembly. It may not be as weighty or contentious as some of the issues debated over the past few years, but it will have a direct impact on the organization’s most financially vulnerable members.

Brief notes on MLA 2015

IMG_0747If I were Rosemary Feal, I’d declare MLA 2015 a victory: great venue, terrific papers, and a seemingly more relaxed set of conference attendees than the last two.

First, the amenities: MLA 2015 was held in a great place (Vancouver, BC), with easy access between the hotels and the convention center. The wifi was free and plentiful, and both the beautiful surroundings and the absence of slush made the physical experience of the conference really pleasant.

The papers were excellent, too, at least those I heard. Our session s#8 on Pacific Northwest Regionalism: Acts of Recovery, went very well, with lots of good discussion from the audience, and I would be remiss not to mention the great panel on “Edith Wharton and Sex” that provided new ways of looking at Wharton’s work on this topic.

Another outstanding panel was this morning’s “Antebellum Print Culture and the Digital Archive” (link is to the Storify collection of tweets) and the panel on Retrofuturism.

This was my last year on the Delegate Assembly, so while I will miss seeing the deliberative processes next year (if I go), I’ll be able to get to more panels.

American Naturalism at the MLA

If you’re heading to MLA this week, here are some panels about some American realist/naturalist authors. The “Animal Studies in Evolution” panel is at the same time I’m presenting, so I won’t be able to attend that one.

Stephen Crane, Ellen Glasgow, Ann Petry, W. D. Howells, Edith Summers Kelley, Kate Chopin — none

Theodore Dreiser — 337. The Genesis and Development of the Chicago Renaissance
Friday, 9 January, 3:30–4:45 p.m., 112, VCC West

Frank Norris and Jack London:
13. Animal Studies in the Age of Evolution Thursday, 8 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 115, VCC West

Edith Wharton
185. Edith Wharton and Sex Friday, 9 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., 207, VCC West

295. Narratives of Reproductive Rights in American Literature
Friday, 9 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 223, VCC West

Paul Laurence Dunbar: 
699. Black Optimism and Afro-Pessimism: The Politics of Pleasure and Pain in the African American Canon
Sunday, 11 January, 10:15–11:30 a.m., 222, VCC West

John Dos Passos
339. Twentieth-Century American Literature and Sound Recording
Friday, 9 January, 3:30–4:45 p.m., 217, VCC West

306. Queer Capital: Transgressive Economies of Value in American Fiction
Friday, 9 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., 216, VCC West

MLA Panel 8. Pacific Northwest Literary Regionalism: Acts of Recovery (January 8, 12-1:15)

I’ll be presenting a paper based on a section of my book manuscript Bitter Tastes: Naturalism, Early Film, and American Women’s Writing  at the Modern Language Association Convention in Vancouver, BC, on Thursday. It’s drawn from Chapter 2: “The Darwinists: Borderlands, Environment, and Evolution,”

8. Pacific Northwest Literary Regionalism: Acts of Recovery

Thursday, 8 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 205, VCC West

A special session

Presiding: Laura Laffrado, Western Washington Univ.

1. “Carol Ryrie Brink and Moving Memory: A Novel Family History, from Caddie Woodlawn‘s Wisconsin to Buffalo Coat‘s Idaho,” Jana L. Argersinger, Washington State Univ., Pullman

2. “Batterman Lindsay’s Derelicts of Destiny and Pacific Northwest Native American Culture,” Donna M. Campbell, Washington State Univ., Pullman

3. “Besides the Bureau of American Ethnology: Recovering the Alaska Native Brotherhood/Sisterhood as a Community of Native Writers,” Michael Taylor, Univ. of British Columbia, Vancouver

SSAWW-NW Meeting, October 18

Elizabeth_stuart_phelps_wardThe SSAWW-Pacific Northwest Study Group met at Whitworth University on October 18. Organized by LuElla D’Amico, the meeting was devoted to a discussion of Elizabeth Duquette and Cheryl Tevlin’s recent edition of Elizabeth Stuart Phelps’s stories, essays, and poems. Elizabeth Duquette was at the meeting and shared her insights with us. She explained that Phelps’s papers are scattered among several archives, making study of her work more difficult.

Phelps is an underrated writer (one of the topics of our conversation). Although she was famous and popular in her time, her reputation has revived with The Story of Avis, The Gates Ajar, and Doctor Zay, but not far enough. I’m especially interested because my first chapter of BItter Tastes discusses several of her works.phelps

CFP: Edith Wharton Review (deadline: on-going).

CFP: Edith Wharton Review (deadline: on-going).

The Edith Wharton Review, a peer-reviewed, MLA-indexed journal is currently seeking submissions. The journal is committed to rigorous study not only of Edith Wharton, but on Wharton in the context of other authors, and on Wharton in relation to late-nineteenth and early twentieth-century culture more generally. It publishes traditional criticism, pedagogical scholarship, essays on archival materials, review essays, and book reviews. The Review aims to foster emerging scholars and new approaches to Wharton studies as well as established scholarly approaches.

On the occasion of its 30th anniversary, the journal now boasts a new design and vastly expanded content. Recent special issues include “_The Custom of the Country at 100″ and “Teaching Edith Wharton’s Late Fiction.” Opportunities exist to publish on Wharton’s lesser-known works, as well as her more canonical writings.

If you are interested in submitting, please contact Meredith Goldsmith, Editor ( Submissions should be 20-25 pages, and prepared according to the _MLA Style Manual_.