CFP – Literacy’s Material Histories, NeMLA

CFP: Literacy’s Material Histories: American Sites and Scenes (Roundtable)

Northeast Modern Language Association Convention, Boston, March 21-24, 2013

Deadline: September 30, 2012

This roundtable will explore the cultural ecologies of literary forms
and practices in America, and invites submissions that explore
material places of American literary production, circulation, or
consumption. Relocating critical significance not only in the material
form of the text, but also in the local environments in which literary
products were produced, through which they circulated, and within
which they were consumed—in bookstores or on the subway, among library
patrons or on the road—this roundtable asks how particularities of
place condition social meanings of the literary.  By fostering a
focused exploration of literature and place across time periods, we
seek not only to expand the historical forms of literary practice but
also to question the critical boundaries and definitions of what
forms, practices, and spaces constitute “literary culture.”

We intend the roundtable to be as much an examination of method as a
discussion of discipline in literary and cultural studies. We hope to
give special attention to the emerging ways in which digital
humanities and archival practices may mutually elucidate the textures,
contours, and material histories of literacy by showing us new ways of
conceptualizing physical, social, and cultural networks. Key terms and
questions under consideration in this roundtable may include the form
and function of such networks and circles of influence, the role of
place in constructing literary communities, the relationship between
spatiality and temporality in American literary studies, the ways in
which books mediate the formation of cultural institutions, and the
tools and methodologies we can use to evoke new spatial readings of
American print culture. Other specific topics may include
non-traditional literary spaces, geography and print culture, or genre
as literary place.

Please send a 300-500 word abstract and brief biographical statement
to Jane Greenway Carr at jgc219@nyu.edu or Kristen Doyle Highland at
kdh253@nyu.edu by September 30.


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