2009 M/MLA Annual Convention
November 12-15, St. Louis, Missouri
Friday, November 13, 2009
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Refreshments (Regency C Ballroom)
You are invited to attend the Book Exhibit, 8:00 a.m.-6:30 p.m. (Regency C Ballroom)
4. African American Literature
8:30-11:45 p.m. and 2:15-3:45 p.m. (Meteor)
Topic: Transforming Visions in African American Literature and Rhetoric
Chair: T.J. Geiger II, Syracuse University
Secretary: Faith Bennett, Loyola University Chicago
8:30-10:00 a.m. (Meteor)
1. The Mythical Underground Journey(s) in Ralph Ellison's the Invisible Man by Cynthia Williams, Park University
In my teaching of African-American literature, I often indicate to my students that African-American literature is a highly hybrid form of cultural critique. What I mean by “hybrid” is that African-American literature, like most post-colonial literatures, is a conglomeration of different strains of literary traditions, resulting in new and innovative forms of literary expression and social analysis. One of the most compelling examples of a hybrid African-American literature is Ralph Ellison’s, the Invisible Man. My paper will specifically explore how Ellison’s novel adopts and reconfigures the underground journey found in the Greek and Roman heroic migration epic. The novel’s protagonist ventures into different kinds of “negative space,” or underground realms where he confronts the dark history of American race relations. His journeys are eerily similar to those of Aeneas and Odysseus, who visit the underground to attain knowledge that helps them progress on their above-ground migrations. Like these intrepid travelers, the Invisible Man makes several similar underground journeys, each of which provides him with “predictions” that help him migrate through the complexity of race in America; most significantly, his underground migrations reveal to him the legacy of black enslavement and the complicated African-American resistance to it. To explore this legacy, my paper will compare the protagonist’s underground journey(s) with two other migrations that occur in the novel: that of the Founder and of Tarp. Indeed, not only does Ellison refashion the underground journey motif, but his novel constitute a refashioning of the slave narrative and tales of passage via the Underground Railroad. In Ellison, this reconfiguration involves combining the African-American slave experience with African-American biblical myth and sermon rhetorical structures, which Ellison then fuses with the Greek and Roman heroic migration epics. The result is a hybrid piece of literature that provides a scathing critique of the psychological and social consequences of race hatred and exclusion.
2. Black History dot Com: A Theoretical analysis of The Black Atlantic influence on African American autobiography and implications for Change in the Black Diaspora by Reynaldo S. Anderson, Harris-Stowe State University and Greg Carr, Harris-Stowe State University
The Autobiographies of Barack Obama, Malcolm X, and James Weldon Johnson were seminal pieces of literature in defining Black identity in America. The Presidency of Barack Obama will influence a social and political shift in the Black Atlantic community. With roots in the emergence of capitalism, the transatlantic slave trade and modernity, the Black Atlantic is impacted by the globalization of technology and communication. It has borrowed the technology and communications of the West and adapts them to its own uses. However, what do these autobiographies tell us about the tension between identity, citizenship, and Trans-nationalism in the twentieth century and early decades of the twenty –first century. Despite the complexity of the different geographic areas and Black Atlantic communities, modern communications has collapsed space and time and allowed the populations to interact with one another, crossing vast distances in seconds. In such ways, the Obama Presidency can and will influence the history, politics, economics, and literary culture of the Black Atlantic world.
3. Time, Place, and Race in the Migratory Lyrics of Lightnin’ Hopkins by Dan Patrick Barlow, Lake Washington Technical College
Celebrated among his African-American fan base and revered by blues enthusiasts since his 1946 debut, Sam "Lightnin'" Hopkins made his indelible mark among the most prolific of American blues artists. While his songs are largely accounted for in recordings and, to a lesser extent, in various collections of transcriptions, his body of lyrics remain largely unstudied. This essay examines migratory influences in Hopkins' lyrics, with particular emphasis on those from recordings originally meant for reception among black communities and those bearing greatest compositional authenticity (i.e., relative to conventional blues formulas as catalogued, for instance, in the scholarship of Robert Springer). Hopkins' evolution as an individual songwriter--from Texas to California to Carnegie Hall to Texas again--can be better understood by contextualizing his songs on topics such as displacement, mistreatment, and imprisonment; by investigating his role as a spokesperson for blue-collar African-Americans; and finally by comparing his more vernacular root poetics to those catered for national and transatlantic production. The study of blues songs in their respective sociohistorical and musicological contexts, as seen in the seminal works of Paul Oliver and Jeff Todd Titon, offers a wealth of insight to American cultural studies; through the study of Hopkins' work across lines of geography and race, this essay argues the centrality of migratory themes in the advancement of one of the blues' most individuated oeuvres.
4. "Travelin' Blues: Music and Migration in Langston Hughes's Fine Clothes to the Jew" by Corey M. Taylor, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Fine Clothes to the Jew, Langston Hughes's second collection of poetry, is often overshadowed by his debut volume, The Weary Blues. But Hughes's sophomore publication marks a significant progression in his development as a poet who seriously engaged with African American music and its larger resonances. In Fine Clothes to the Jew Hughes adapts African American music--especially the blues--in order to explore elements of modernity, particularly migration (most often in reference to the Great Migration to Northern urban centers). Matters of class and gender coincide with travel, displacement, and migration, and Hughes's employment of blues formats, phrasing, and rhythms allows him to treat migration and its attendant issues within the context of modernism. This paper considers key poems from Fine Clothes to the Jew, including "Bound No'th Blues," "Gypsy Man," and "Homesick Blues," in which Hughes comments on the significance of migration and location to the African American experience.
10:15-11:45 a.m. (Meteor)
5. Just Like One of the Family--Only Not: Black Female Immigrants in African American Fiction by Heather Hathaway, Marquette University
Ever since emancipation, black women from the Caribbean have migrated to the United States to work as domestics. But their presence in the white "American" home has been problematic, despite claims by their employers that these women are "just like one of the family." Indeed, the traditional patriarchal structure of the domestic sphere in which a sovereign father ruled over a "dominion" occupied by his wife and children calls to the surface the relationship between "home" and "empire." Add to this scene an unpaid or poorly paid black female worker and we see how the dimension of "race" further complicates this domestic imperialism. Finally, insert the presence of a black female immigrant worker and we are forced to consider the nature of international imperialism--economic, cultural, and oftentimes sexual--as it is expressed in an intranational domestic context.
Focusing on Jamaica Kincaid's novel, Lucy (1990), this paper will examine how the employment of a black, female, immigrant domestic worker, in Lucy's case as an au pair, creates the conditions for a unique form of economic, cultural, and sexual imperialism within the white "American" home. First, I will set the stage for the discussion by tracing briefly the contentious history of the presence of African American women as household workers in white households during slavery. As any number of narratives by both black and white women illustrate--ranging from Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl to Mary Boykin Chestnut's A Diary from Dixie to Harriet Wilson's Our Nig--black women often faced physical, verbal and emotional abuse by suspicious "mistresses," as well as sexual abuse by domineering "masters." Following emancipation and through the period of the Great Migration, large numbers of Caribbean women migrated north and stepped into the shoes--and the problematic domestic dynamics--of these former slaves. Paule Marshall's Brown Girl, Brownstones (1959) will be used to show how oppression by class, race, gender, and immigration status converged in the lives of Caribbean domestic workers in the U.S. in the 1950s. Finally, increased opportunities associated with Caribbean independence movements combined with changes in immigration laws in the early 1960s to open the door for a new type of immigrant, depicted by Kincaid as the well-educated and utterly self-governing au pair, Lucy, to enter the white "American" home. The paper will examine this figure most closely to show how, particularly within the context of increasingly heightened political debates surrounding migration from Latin America and the Caribbean, the patterns of domestic imperialism that surround the black female immigrant in the white "American" home have both changed and yet also remain the same.
6. Natives Go Migrant: Pauline Hopkins' Anthropology of Race by Kate Steinnagel, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Many theorists of migration have called for a dismantling of binary structures that impel and propel movement, one of which is migration theory's juxtaposition of the native's intimate connection and the migrant's disconnection from the land. This impetus is mirrored in the growing investment in exploring the intersections of African American and American Indian subjectivity through the historiography of contact during slavery and comparative examination of African American and American Indian religions and folklore. My paper will attempt to bring migration theory and Afro-Native relations into conversation with one another by asking the following question: In the context of two marginal groups excluded from U.S. national citizenship, who then becomes the stranger and who becomes native?
I will address this question through a comparative close reading of Pauline Hopkins' anthropological essay entitled "The North American Indian," and naturalist Henry Henshaw's "Who are the American Indians," from which Hopkins silently cribs much of her article, with significant changes. If read on its own, it indeed reproduces what scholars read as reproductions of white western imperialist discourse. However, reading the two articles reveals some poignant political moves on Hopkins part to change the representation of nativeness her readers encounter. More specifically, Hopkins' essay, which was part of her series "The Dark Races of the Twentieth Century," published in Voice of the Negro, serves as a microcosm of the work she tries to accomplish with her novel Winona: an interrogation of "nativeness," destabilization of stereotypes, uprooting of identity, and embracing hybridity.
7. Slavery's Recurring Story Lines by Gregory Laski, Northwestern University
For all its insistence on vertical mobility and progress, Booker T. Washington's Up From Slavery paradoxically ends where it begins: Virginia, the state in which, Washington explains in his book's very first line, he was "born a slave." Taking Washington's text as a starting point, this essay adopts what W.E.B. Du Bois calls in The Souls of Black Folk the "crooked marks" of his script as a heuristic for interpreting the ways in which African American texts like Washington's signify--against their explicit focus on progress, indeed, even against their authors' formal mastery--the persistence of the historical past of slavery. In so doing, this paper seeks to complicate our conception of linearity, positing that the figure of the line does not simply imply forward movement but also repetition and recurrence, both of which, as Peter Brooks has argued, present a temporal dilemma for the textual economy of narrative. Yet while Brooks insists on the irreducible "ambiguity" of repetition as both a return to origins and a return of the repressed, I contend that Washington's narrative, as well Frederick Douglass's Life and Times of Frederick Douglass and Spike Lee's film Bamboozled, call into question Brooks's distinction. For in these works repetition functions as both a return to the past of slavery and a return of the repressed--namely, the fact that something other than the forward movement through time characterizes these narratives' story lines and the lives of the black subjects they represent.
8. Claims of History and Claims to Identity in Octavia Butler's Kindred by Shaila Mehra, University of Rochester
2:15-3:45 p.m. (Meteor)
9. With Speech as Her Sword: The Rhetorical Strategies of Maria Stewart by Erin Ranft, University of Texas at San Antonio
In Octavia Butler's Kindred, Dana Franklin violently migrates, by means of an unexplained time travel mechanism, between her life in 1970s Los Angeles and the 19th-century Maryland plantation of her ancestors in order to learn the secret of her family's antebellum origins. The time travel device, I argue, forces Dana to grapple with the complexities and complicities of slave life that were obscured or denied in the Black Power racial ideology that was the backdrop against which Butler wrote Kindred. As Dana loses her grip on her 20th-century self and becomes more fully a slave, experiencing both the brutalities and the banalities of daily life on the plantation, she discovers the untenability of a prescriptive notion of black identity forged from a simplistic or incomplete understanding of history. Her migrations between past and present provide an object lesson in the need to conceptualize blackness as an identity that is responsive to the complex history of slavery and the racial logics it produced, rather than an identity predicated on a limited or incomplete historical narrative. However, Butler's insistence that racial representation articulate itself through a fuller and subtler understanding of slavery has important relevance not only as a critique of a strain of black nationalist thought. I conclude my paper by considering recent work by scholars, including K. Anthony Appiah and Paul Gilroy, who posit a "critical universalism" against the particularist identity politics formed in black cultural nationalism. As Kindred imagines a more complicated picture of slavery to critique black nationalist identity politics, it also warns postmodern theorists of the failure to historicize identity as they write their way to a "post-identity" world.
10. Decoding Jea: Reading the Silent Narrative of Silhouette in The Life, History, and Unparalleled Sufferings of John Jea, the African Preacher by Christina Gutierrez, University of Texas at San Antonio
Barbara E. Lacey affirms in her essay "Visual Images of Blacks in Early American Imprints" that "Images are themselves a kind of language; rather than providing a transparent window into the past, they are an enigma, an opaque, distorting, mystifying mechanism of representation that must, like language, be decoded to be understood" (138). In considering John Jea's collaboratively authored autobiography, The Life, History, and Unparalleled Sufferings of John Jea, the African Preacher, the silhouette frontispiece becomes a significant locus of enunciation and interpretation. Whether it portrays Jea himself, or his amanuensis, or some other unidentified black man, or whether yet another unknown interlocutor authorized the presence of the silhouette to precede Jea's narrative along with the title, the image nonetheless contributes to and further complicates the textual ambiguity evident throughout Jea's autobiographical account. My essay will investigate the effect of the silhouette on nineteenth century viewers, black and white, and the ways in which the use of the silhouette portrait in John Jea's narrative serves as a visual document that speaks to a history of resistance toward misrepresentations of African Americans by whites in America.
11. Remembering the South, Struggling in the North, Dreaming of Africa: Chicago's Black Belt and the Theatrical Geography of Home in Theodore Ward's Big White Fog by Aaron Krall, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
The fog in Theodore Ward's 1938 play Big White Fog materializes not only the blinding effects of racism on the segregated South Side of Chicago in the early-twentieth century, but also the spatial uncertainty that comes with being uprooted. In Ward's domestic drama, the Mason family is struggling with the aftermath of the Great Migration, the mass movement of African Americans from the Jim Crow South to the industrial North in hopes of better jobs and more opportunities. They have quickly found that life in Chicago is something less than the imagined "promised land," and the family is divided by the fading memories of the rural South, the reality of the segregated and unequal North, and the Garveyite promise of freedom in Africa. This geographical disorientation is compounded by the impending threat of homelessness--the play is set during the economic crisis of the 1930s, and the Masons are about to lose their home to foreclosure.
Working from the theatrical geography theorized by Una Chaudhuri, I argue that Ward's play intervenes in the social life and segregationist policies of Chicago by representing the tentativeness of home. The Mason family's uncomfortable migrations suggest the difficultly making oneself at home in the modern city, a difficulty that is multiplied when bodies are constructed as out of place. In this context, migration is both a strategy for self-preservation and a kind of self-imposed exile that forecloses the possibility of planting roots and making a home.
12. A Transatlantic Literary Kinship: Chris Abani (Re)imagines Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man in Graceland by Julie Iromuanya, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Almost fifty years after the publication of Invisible Man, Nigerian expatriate writer Chris Abani reexamines Ralph Ellison's thematics of (in)visibility, migration, and responsibility in his debut novel, Graceland. Both through direct open discourse and formalist adaptation, Abani explores these issues in a postcolonial context considering foremost the moral and physical corruption of characters impacted by agents of both the colony and postcolony. Tracing these dialectics reveals the transnational byways between members of forced and voluntary migrations out of Africa. For this reason, my paper will be informed by African American migration narrative paradigms drawn by Farah Jasmine Griffin, as well as Franz Fanon's interrogation of black colonial subjugation in Black Skins White Masks.
5. Art What Thou Eat: Food in Literature, Art, and Culture
Session B: Saturday, November 14, 2009, 10:15-11:45 a.m.; and Session C: Saturday, November 14, 2009, 2:15-3:45 p.m. (Grand Hall Meeting Room III)
Chair: Lynne Flora Margolies, Manchester College
Secretary: Stacy Hoult-Saros, Valpariso University
8:30-10:00 a.m. (Knickerbocker)
1. Woman as Artist: Literary Delicacies in the Correspondence of George Sand and Marie d'Agoult by Arline E. Cravens, Saint Louis University
The correspondence of George Sand and Marie d'Agoult, spanning forty years from 1835 to 1875, brings to light a tableau, a painting of everyday life in the nineteenth century. Their letters narrate not only the account of managing a household, gardening and canning jams, but simultaneously the tale of a great writer at work. This paper examines the reciprocal nature of the experience of everyday life and that of art in the case of George Sand and Marie d'Agoult. A study of their correspondence, in particular the letters dated 1835-1840, reveals that the art of everyday living is also to be found in the art of writing and that the relationship between the two is narrower than one might imagine.
2. Pie in the Face: Food Humor and the Body in Medieval French Drama by Sarah Gordon, Utah State University
As two human universals, eating and laughter are powerful devices for social satire and literary parody in the Middle Ages; when combined their power is doubled. Dramatic texts suggest the use of specific foods as stage props and focus on food items such as pies, cheeses, fruits, and meats as comic devices. This study traces the evolution of food humor, or what I have termed elsewhere culinary comedy, in medieval dramatic text in two representative plays, Le Jeu de Robin et Marion (Old French, thirteenth century) and the later Farce du pate a la tarte (Middle French, fifteenth century). Robin features a play-within-a -play with merrymakers and food-related games played during a picnic in the country, while Du pate a la tarte presents a comedy of errors and mistaken identity, in which a messenger is sent to collect a pie from a merchant in an urban setting. First, the physical and (in modern terms) slapstick use of food is analyzed, with references to other contemporary representations of food fights, such as in several Old French fabliaux narratives. Next, humorous food puns and sexual innuendos involving foods are discussed, concentrating on the Robin scene in which Marion is made to carry apples and cheeses in her bosom and on the Du pate a la tarte scene in which the merchant woman is punished for supposedly eating an eel pie. A brief review of the most common foods in medieval culinary comedy is given, addressing how particular foods may be used and why they were considered funny. The paper then draws conclusions about the evolution of literary food humor and dramatic food-play as both social satire and literary parody within the cultural contexts in which they were performed and written down.
3. You Are What You Don't Eat: Zola and the Metaphor of Eating by Daniel Mac Leay, Southeast Missouri State University
Perhaps no other novelist emphasizes the role of food, or its lack, as much as Emile Zola in Les Rougon-Macquart, his series of naturalistic novels portraying and condemning the late nineteenth-century celebration of materialism and industrial development. One of the series' novels, Le Ventre de Paris, is even dedicated to the voracious appetites of the city of Paris and its inhabitants.
This study proposes an analysis of the Lantier family in L'Assommoir, Germinal and Nana in which Gervaise Lantier and two of her children are the principal protagonists of novels whose central metaphor is the lack of and the overabundance of food. The novels use images of the productive machine of food-stuffs, the knowing, and necessary, deprivation of the working classes and the rotten remains of over-abundance and over-consumption to describe the essence of late nineteenth-century capitalism in action. Gervaise is the victim of the parasitism of her loved ones and dies of starvation; her daughter Nana becomes the very symbol of excess, ending as a rotting corpse and victim of over-abundance; and finally her son Etienne participates in the miners' revolt against the voracious appetite of the capitalist industrial machine.
Saturday, November 14, 2009, 10:15-11:45 a.m. (Grand Hall Meeting Room III)
Chair: Arline E. Cravens, Saint Louis University
4. Conquest, Cannibalism and the Comedia: The Predatory Instinct in El Entenado by Stacy Hoult-Saros, Valparaiso University
Juan Jose Saer's novel El entenado (The Witness) (1983), the fictionalized "chronicle" of a conquistador captured and held for years by an anthropophagous indigenous community, appropriates various conventions of the original chronicles of discovery, exploration and conquest. The narrator's characterization of his captors is notable for its comically graphic, drawn-out accounts of their cannibalistic rituals and alcohol-fueled orgies. The othering effect of his narrative is, however, undercut by his use of similar animal images to depict both his compatriots and the culture into which he is subsumed. This paper explores the functions of animal imagery in challenging the veneer of radical otherness that the text shares with other "eyewitness" accounts of the Conquest. I read the activities of the novel's Spaniards and its Indians as culturally divergent expressions of the predatory instinct as presented in the work of Thorstein Veblen. Bracketed by the greed-driven mission that brings the protagonist to the Americas and his eventual involvement in the exploitation of his own tale for profit, the hunting and consumption of humans and other animals during his captivity work unexpectedly to minimize, rather than to emphasize, the distance between the two cultures. The parallels between his depictions of the Spaniards' domination of the natural world and the customs surrounding the natives' consumption of human meat allow him to critique the fundamental "illness" he perceives in both cultures, disturbing his superficially conventional presentation of the natives as savages deserving of their elimination at the hands of the mission that ultimately rescues him.
5. Un-dish-cover the fish, or dishcover the riddle? The Riddle of the Carrollian Food Chain in Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, and The Hunting of the Snark by Kathryn Kruger, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
In the final chapter of Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, Alice sums up her experiences by saying: "I had such a quantity of poetry said to me, all about fishes!" Alice is right to identify the piscatorial undertones of the poetry recited to her on the other side of the looking glass. Alice in Wonderland begins with Alice's worry over her cat's dinner: "There are no mice in the air, I'm afraid, but you might catch a bat!" To which Alice ponders, "Do cats eat bats?" and sometimes "Do bats eat cats?" By novel's end, Alice escapes the bat-eating-cat-eating-bat tautology and instead recommends fish--oysters specifically--as the ideal gastronomical treat for her feline companions. This fishy conclusion is suggestive of an underlying pescetarian message in Carroll's fictional universes. Throughout the Alice tales, Carroll imbues nearly all forms of food with attributes of human life, and so dietary practices and the food chain become the overarching riddles of the book: who eats what and whom and in what order are the operative questions for Alice and for the characters she encounters. Questions of the ethicality of the food chain vis-a-vis animal rights long interested Carroll as evidenced by his many letters, diary entries, and journalism; Carroll's 1875 essay, "Some Popular Fallacies About Vivisection," for example, publicly outlined his ethical aversion to the use of animals in scientific experiments. By historicizing Carroll's political and journalistic engagement with animal rights issues, this paper attempts to unravel the riddle of the Carrollian food chain as it appears in his fiction and poetry.
6. Food for Thought: Margaret Cavendish Cooks the Books by Lise Mae Schlosser, Northern Illinois University
Saturday, November 14, 2009, 2:15-3:45 p.m. (Grand Hall Meeting Room III)
Chair: Stacy Hoult-Saros, Valparaiso University
7. The Eater-Eaten Cycle in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart by Jiena Sun, State University of New York-Binghamton
This paper is a chapter from my MA thesis. I explore the constructive and destructive effects of food on Okonkwo who is the protagonist of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart. On the one hand, the possession of yams provides Okonkwo with a sense of security in an unsecure economy at the end of the nineteenth century in Igboland and a poor household with a weak father. Serving as an effective tool to establish and articulate his masculinity, possession of yams expels Okonkwo's fear of resembling his loser-father and enhancing his control over his weak sons. On the other hand, the possession of food invites Okonkwo to live in his self-constructed masculine world. Okonkwo mistakenly believes that he is able to rule beyond his household and to stretch his power to the Igbo public life. Pushed by his insatiable appetite for power, Okonkwo violates Igbo traditions through a series of food-related events and isolates himself from his clansmen. I read Okonkwo's eventual suicide as a food offering by his clansmen to appease the hunger of the British colonists. Drawing on the theories of cannibalism, I argue that not only Okonkwo but also Igboland are metaphorically eaten by the British through cultural assimilation and transformation. However powerful eaters Okonkwo and his clansmen assume themselves to be, they as the colonized are doomed to be eaten up and digested by the colonists. Never can they step out of the eater-eaten cycle.
8. Serving Culture with a Smile: Restaurants in Zadie Smith's White Teeth by Shannon Howard, The University of South Alabama
In Smith's novel White Teeth, the service industry reflects a community's tendency toward symbolically digesting culture and then excreting it without appropriate respect for its original contents. Food consumed in a restaurant such as The Palace (the very name suggesting stratification of society within a microcosm of opulence) does not merely satiate hunger in this narrative; it highlights the imperialistic motives of characters lacking independence or self-agency. As Benedict Anderson notes, "Nation, nationality, nationalism--all have proved notoriously difficult to define, let alone to analyze." The setting of the Palace reminds the reader that the negotiation and definition of a nation's identity often occurs in the most banal locations such as a restaurant, where the foreign experience is a simulacrum for hungry tourists. The insatiable appetites of London's cosmopolitan denizens reveal a perverse "First World" need to consume "Third World" foods, perhaps to assert their worth as condescending patrons of lost causes. Although this project strives to illuminate the roles of culture and capitalism through the act of dining out and its scatological consequences rather than focusing on the act of food preparation in the home, the very act of eating becomes paramount to assessing how the Other is digested and simulated (in the consideration of Jean Baudrillard's concept of the simulacrum) by those holding positions of power.
6. Children's Literature
8:30-10:00 a.m. (Jeffersonian)
Topic: Children on the Move
Chair: Amy Murray Twyning, University of Pittsburgh
1. Becoming Edward: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane as Pilgrimage by Jordana Hall, Texas A & M University - Commerce
In "The Center Out There" Victor Turner argues that pilgrimages hold a special place in the history of Western society and demonstrate the "sacred and profane attitudes, individual and collective" of the pilgrimage group (192). Kate Dicamillo's novel The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (2008) utilizes this tradition as Edward Tulane travels amongst various social groups and classes, becoming sacralized, vested with deep cultural significance through Christian symbolization and images he is associated with in the book.
According to Turner's theories of the pilgrimage as liminal space and cultural rite of passage, Edward's journey allows the unusual hero, a china-doll rabbit, to function simultaneously as pilgrim and sacred relic. Edward prepares the young girl Abilene, to whom he initially belongs, for adulthood through the early bond she develops with the beloved doll and through his travels amongst the people and places of which she must inevitably become a part. As he moves through various social groups in search of a goal that persistently eludes him, Edward becomes acquainted with the most sacred beliefs of the surrounding people and achieves a greater sense of communitas as the existential sense of belonging inherent in the liminal process. Edward, the china rabbit, becomes an individual with hopes, dreams, and a deep desire for love like any child. At the same time he too is ultimately subjected to the whims of adults who ultimately determine his place in the world.
2. Anne of Green Gables: The Adaptation to Socil Literacy by Elizabeth S. Moran, University of Missouri-St. Louis
This paper traces Anne's immersion into a new culture and the economic, religious, and social implications and rituals to which she must adjust. Anne arrives at Avonlea, Prince Edward Island, as an orphan with an imagination that has kept her idealistic throughout her difficult young life. The town of Avonlea presents Anne with scenery, people, and customs she has never encountered. The life she sees and becomes a part of in Avonlea drastically contrasts what she has previously known. Anne develops a cultural literacy necessary for adapting to her new surroundings. Anne learns this literacy through observation, experience, and imagination. The necessity for this literacy results from her desire to become a part of the town's society. This literacy develops as she conforms to and realizes the structures set in place in her new home, at school, in church, and in community events. Anne knows little about formal rules when she moves to Avonlea but learns them through social experiences, observation, and reading. These rules are part of her cultural literacy and necessary for her adaptation to the local community.
The depth and breadth of Anne's development of literacy exemplifies the complexities of literacies: its definitions, origins, and implications. A discussion of Anne's literacies requires an examination of how she was able to adapt to Avonlea. Ultimately, Anne's ease in adjusting to new literacies makes her excited, not fearful, to adapt to a new life.
3. Change, Children, and Childhood: Tracing Interest in Deleuze Through Children in Movement in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials by Guy Risko, State University of New York at Binghamton
What unites many post-structuralist and humanist theories of the political is a central figure which acts as locus for theorization. Deleuze and Guattari's nomad in particular functions as a critical feature of their thinking about political spaces, political foundations, and politico-ethical structures. For the nomad the change in the subject spoken of is often a macro-political, genealogical change--change that happens systematically. What falls out of the political analysis in these thinker's works is how the subject itself changes over the course of a lifetime. Thinking about Phillip Pullmen's His Dark Materials trilogy allows for an important analysis left out of these thinker's works. By engaging with the way spheres of potentiality, subject-oriented change, and the movement towards what is problematically called "experience", Pullmen's child protagonists simultaneously problematize and supplement the political figure envisioned by Deleuze and Guattari. In particular, the children in movement experience two crucial aspects of subject change. By moving across different worlds that their imaginations are not equipped to think through, the children change over time. Tracing the changes supplement's Deleuze and Guattari's nomad by adding change over time in the individual subject that comes from an unknowable engagement with the world. By also coming into contact with youths who exist in a world geologically different than "our" world, the ways that questions of politics and subjectivity stretch back 10,000 years becomes reframed. By tracing children in movement across worlds and histories, Deleuze and Guattari's nomad gains the ability to think about the genealogical change of systems and structures at the same times as thinking about change within the individual subject over a life time. Theorizing both macrological and micrological change ensures that subjectivity and interest does not fall out of a theory of the subject.
7. Comparative Literature
8:30-10:00 a.m. and 2:15-3:45 p.m. (Dixie Flyer)
Topic: The Other
Chair: Carola Dwyer and Leisa Kauffman, Wayne State University
8:30-10:00 a.m. (Dixie Flyer)
1. The Muslim Who Wasn't There: Orientalism in Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone by Beyazit H. Akman, Illinois State University
More than 30 years ago, in his path-breaking work Orientalism, Said has demonstrated how the perceptions of the West about the East are systematically created, manipulated and shaped, leading to an accumulation of knowledge which in turn provides the West with the need and rationalization to dominate and to conquer. At the heart of his work lies the nineteenth century Britain, the golden age of Imperialism, and the colonization of India. Said points out, "Orientalism derives from a particular closeness experienced between Britain and France and the Orient, which until the early nineteenth century had really meant only India and the Bible lands" (Orientalism 4).
Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone is one such work which comes from the heydays of the Victorian novel, but a text which has mostly been seen in positive light as Collins is said to let the subaltern speak by bringing the Indians to the heart of England. For similar reasons, the work has been seen as ambiguous in its approach to and relationship with the Orientalist discourse. The text is thus perceived as an example which disproves Orientalist tendencies with its liberatory and 'against the grain' textual practices.
However, I will argue that this is a misleading notion and that Collins' text is an example of typical Orientalism providing the British imagination with the rationalization of the colonial enterprise, by reinforcing the binary between the West and the East, between the Londoner and the Oriental, the latter locked in an ahistorical cage. I will try to demonstrate how the text applies typical contextual practices such as casting Muslims as outsiders, demonizing Islam, creating an India which is mystical and irrational (or at least as a topography which Western scientism can be contrasted to), and ultimately how it does not talk about the real violent practices of British colonization in the South Asian continent.
2. Othello: Turks as the Other in Early Modern Period by Filiz Barin Akman, Illinois State University
Initiated with the Crusades, the conception of Turks as the other has a long tradition in the West. Throughout Europe, the Ottoman Empire and Turks were regarded as such because the empire held the crossroads of world trade and continuously threatened Christian lands. As a result, fear and hostility towards Turks permeated the western culture and literature. Turks, thus, came to be described as the ultimate other; as lustful and barbarian heathens.
England was one of the European countries where Turkish threat was felt. Turks hindered their access to the Indies and other trade centers. Shakespeare lived and produced most of his plays when the Ottoman power was overwhelmingly felt in the West. Therefore, Othello, as being a product of this cultural context abounds with these demeaning representations of Turks.
By particularly focusing on the characterization of Othello, in this paper I will look at the stereotypical representations of Turks which permeate the language Shakespeare employs in Othello. What I will further argue that Shakespeare strengthens the already-existing image of Turks as the deceitful liars, lustful people, and bloody barbarians in the West through his representations. Lastly, I will analyze how this othering of Turks is closely connected to colonialist discourse which starts to emerge in Early Modern Period.
3. Modes of Alterity in Libuše Moníková's Verklärte Nacht by Renata Fuchs, University of Illinois
Themes of alterity have been popular in cultural studies and have become increasingly favored in literature, encompassing categories of ethnicity, education, gender, religion, and politics. Because the concept of the Other is closely related to one's identity, it is helpful in analyzing the literary phenomena associated with authors of non-German origin living in multicultural Germany. As noted by Ulker Gokberk, immigrant texts written in German present the unmistakable model of the experience of alterity because German is used as a foreign language and themes produce cultural estrangement.
Some works of Eastern European authors illustrate sensitive in-between position of those who decided to return home from the exile and found themselves in a predicament called by Milan Kundera a "second-degree exile," essentially the position of the Other. Libuse Monikova creates that same scenario in Verklarte Nacht, thematizing the issues of homeland, nation, and exile, within feminine space.
This work examines how the notion of a female identity and voice in Verklarte Nacht is delineated in order to avoid representations of marginalization. The female figure, Monikova fashions, is rooted in the space of the communist era, and yet, at the same time, is depicted as independent and ambitious. Additionally, the creation of memory and its different modes as well as travel bring about situations, where during the process of a second-degree-exile the Self transforms into the Other; the protagonist experiences depersonalization. The national trauma of Czech history and the personal trauma of exile intertwine and result in the character's inability to find Heimat, thus, remaining the Other.
2:15-3:45 p.m. (Dixie Flyer)
4. Discourse Toward the Survival of the Other by Shilpa Venkatachalam, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine
The concept of the 'Other' is one that has been addressed in both postcolonial studies and continental philosophy, more specifically in the area of ethics and phenomenology. But for some reason the treatment of the concept 'the Other' has remained largely irreconcilable in the manner in which it is dealt with in postcolonial studies and in ethics/phenomenology (Levinasian ethics). Why is this the case? Should not postcolonial studies be very concerned with ethics? By ethics we mean here very specially Levinasian ethics which involves a "putting into question of the self". There is also the tradition of Phenomenology, headed by Husserl that directly addresses the role of the 'Other'. According to Husserl, it is impossible to have access to an Other person's consciousness. There is, however, always an awareness of the "Other". In this awareness there also lies the simultaneous recognition that the "Other" remains inaccessible and transcends the "I". It is the experience of precisely this transcendent element that allows any experience of the "Other". In a sense then, it is the self that is limited, because it can never fully grasp the 'Other'. We must and we do always reduce the 'Other' to the 'same' when we try to represent it or grasp it. This is to some extent what Levinas calls the "imperialism of the same".
So it logically follows then, that representing the 'Other' or making the voice of the 'Other' heard has to be a task taken on by the colonizer or the colonized in postcolonial studies. But in line with phenomenology and ethics, this would involve a violence because the 'Other' necessarily transcends the same and also transcends representation. The colonizer cannot represent the Other or draw the 'Other' into dominant discourse as it would necessarily involve violence of a sort. What about the colonized representing themselves? This would then have to necessarily exterminate all talk of the 'Other' because in representing the 'Other', there would in fact be some amount of essentialism and essentialism is contrary to the very concept of the 'Other'.
Perhaps then the solution lies in bringing together ethics/phenomenology and postcolonialism and their tretament of the 'Other' Or to put it in a different way to bring together representation and the inability to represent. When you represent the 'Other' you know immediately that you are doing violence unto the 'Other' and when one is aware that there is violence being committed against the 'Other' then there must be un-representation. Can this then be the only way in which we are able to maintain the 'Other as Other'? Is this the direction that postcolonial studies must head toward in order to preserve discourse on the 'Other'?
5. The Pitfalls of Othering in Rebecca West's Harriet Hume by Ghadir Zannoun, The University of Arkansas
In Harriet Hume, Rebecca West shows how imperialist ideas are embedded in the Victorian gender relations, highlighting the subtle interplay among forms of domination: gender, racial, and economic. With the purpose of mocking and criticizing the British Empire, both at home and around the world, the novel exposes its implication into the formation of a certain worldview that objectifies the Other. The project is taxonomic and categorical to the point of self-destruction, because it is based on repression. I argue that in this novel, virtually a work of aesthetic theory, West uses different images to convey the insubstantial and mythical nature of the othering process. Therefore, the imperialist motive of expansion through othering, or "rising in the world," as Arnold Condorex, the novel's imperial figure, describes it, is compared and reduced to the building of a bodily image. Hence, a process similar to a deflationary act brings this ephemeral project/image to an end.
Furthermore, I use postcolonial theory as well as Edward Said's theories about Orientalism to highlight the double Othering that Condorex enacts towards the colonized Indian as well as towards the woman he loves, Harriet. Similar to the Orientalists who tried to contain the Orient by creating a body of knowledge about it, Condorex uses an inventory of images and vocabulary by which he tries to categorize, freeze and contain Harriet as his Other. The novel is particularly significant in that it suggests that Othering is a multi-level process whose consequences can be felt at home and elsewhere.
8. Film I
8:30-10:00 a.m. (Frisco)
Topic: Migrancy in European Cinema
Chair: Roberta Di Carmine, Western Illinois University
1. Dealing with the Past, Das Leben der Anderen/The Lives of Others: A representation of the GDR without nostalgia by David Hartwig, University of New Mexico
2. The Return of the Orphan: Reconstructing Central Europe in Geza Radvanyi and Bela Balazs's Somewhere in Europe by Constantin Parvulescu, Washington University
3. Coming to Lamerica: A Journey of Identity by Roseanna Mueller, Columbia College
4. Once Won't Happen Twice: Ireland's Microbudget Smash Hit by Neasa Hardiman, Trinity College-Dublin
The paper examines the film's presentation of gender and ethnicity through the story's characters. Once constructs a gender politics whereby men are consistently emotionally isolated and inarticulate. The women in the film, by contrast, are connected closely to one another and ready to make new connections. The film's discourse emphasises in particular Eastern European women as arbiters of emotional connection, with Marketa Irglova's character playing the role of emotional lightening fork within the narrative. The pleasure of the film depend then on each character furnishing the other with their culturally defined need, unexpectedly placing Once's somewhat anachronistic narrative within a discourse of European multiculturalism
9. Irish Studies
8:30-10:00 a.m. (Burlington Route)
Topic: Violence and Passion in 20th Century Irish Literature & Film
Chair: Gavin Keulks, Western Oregon University
Secretary: Anne Marie Lawless, University of Minnesota
1. Temporal Migration and the Modernism of Joyce's Ulysses by Kevin Rulo, Catholic University of America
Anglophone modernism, although sometimes conceived in straightforwardly revolutionary terms, exhibits a complex, dialectical relationship to literary and cultural tradition. Modernists in the English-speaking world sought to navigate the Scylla and Charybdis of temporal migration (on the one hand, the revolutionary destruction of the past sought by the avant-garde movements; on the other, the "stale" conventionality of Edwardian and other similar literatures). For this modernism, then, radical innovation and tradition form a dialectical whole, whereby the radical new resuscitates enervated cultural treasures in an act of defamiliarization and whereby, in so doing, the new itself is brought into contact with the old (e.g. modern humanity in a state of crisis as a result of its temporal isolation is brought back into connection with the stream of past humanity.)
Joyce's Ulysses can be regarded as an exemplary example of modernism's migratory strategies. The use of the mythical or allusive method enacts this dynamic most fundamentally. But there is also a way in which we might see Joyce's novel as a thematization of modernism's temporal struggle. In the relationship between Stephen and Bloom, and in the paternity theme in particular, the novel can be read as a modernist saga about negotiating permanence and flux, past and present, old and new.
2. A Kaleidoscope of Emotion: The Maturation of the Character of an Irishman in Film by Grace Wessbecher, Hollins University
The acclaimed film In America (2002) is a semi-autobiographical tale from writer/director Jim Sheridan, co-written with his two daughters. Exporter of such films as My Left Foot, In the Name of the Father, and The Boxer, Sheridan is not afraid to tackle difficult subject matter, keeping it within the framework of the Irish family. What happens to one character affects the entire family, and the consequences, intended or not, propel the story forward. Here Sheridan mixes memory with the fictional tale of a young Irish family adapting to New York City as they recover from a family loss. Johnny Sullivan, the family patriarch, is "attractive, strong, a little crazy and yet weighed down by grief." Played with considerable depth by the actor, Paddy Considine, the character depicts a wide emotional range. Sheridan avoids Irish male stereotypes of past dramatists. Johnny is allowed to show the audience everything he feels, from vulnerability and gentleness, jealousy and frustration, to full blown rage. Such catharsis and personal growth allows the viewer to experience a wealth of male feelings rarely revealed in past Irish character development. "Many of the film's seemingly mythic plot strands focus on the father's efforts to be a hero, to prove his worth as a man and family provider."
This paper will explore the passions of an authentic Irishman, within the scope of one film, In America. Johnny may be a man whose acting career has stalled, tragically lost on a global quest to banish heartfelt grief, but he keeps his growing family intact, close, cared for and loved.
3. Nothing Left to Say: Marina Carr, the Passionate Performative, & the Tragic Loss of Agency by Patrick Maley, Indiana University
In defense against powerful social pressure to vacate her home, Hester Swane of Marina Carr's By the Bog of Cat... wields her words: "I'm going' nowhere. This here is my house and my garden and my stretch of the bog and no wan's runnin' me out of here [...] I'm stoppin' here." These are utterances of the type Stanley Cavell has recently dubbed the "passionate performative," a perlocution that implicates its audience in "an invitation to improvisation in the disorders of desire." Problematic for Hester is that her invitation is denied by the Bog community, and her passionate performatives achieve nothing. Having been stripped completely of her agency by an oppressive society, Hester's words are powerless. The only way she is ultimately able to achieve agency for her passionate words is by appropriating it through the gruesome violence of her murder/suicide, the lone instance of Hester affecting change. Linguistically powerless, Hester's knife proves to be her only tool to express her passion.
My presentation explores how this play harnesses the disastrous union of infelicitous passionate speech and violence for the purposes of tragedy. Carr gives us a character whose only option to support her passionate performative is violence, thus staging the abject condition of lacking agency. Tragedy soon follows, painting a grim picture of a social denial of agency. Cavell calls passionate speech a confrontation that risks blood; my presentation brings Cavell's new concept into the realm of tragedy, examining how the thin threshold between passionate speech and violence is reified as tragic on Carr's modern Irish stage.
4. Terrible Beauties, Beautiful Terrors: McDonagh's The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Gavin Keulks, Western Oregon University
Martin McDonagh's play The Beauty Queen of Leenane (1996) dramatizes the dark yet comic lives of Maureen Folan and her ageing mother, Mag, in the small village of Leenane, County Galway. Like the other plays in the Leenane Trilogy--A Skull in Connemara (1997) and The Lonesome West (1997)--McDonagh's emphasis is the blind intersection between violence and passion in his characters' minds. Although McDonagh's plays are often noted for their explicit qualities, their use of violence is far more complex than is usually credited. Rather, McDonagh unmasks the many ways that people can be "murdered": not only with graphic finality but also more subtly and incremental--plodding, quietly, over many years, by the people closest to them. These covert, interior murders can be just as horrific, just as deadly as the ones that assault our eyes on stage. That is the chief subject of the Leenane trilogy overall and The Beauty Queen of Leenane specifically. While referring to The Lonesome West for context and support, my main focus will be the relationship between Maureen, her "lover," and her mother--and the slow yet steady ways they destroy each other's dreams and desires.
10. Contemporary Immigration Literature
8:30-10:00 a.m. (Missouri Pacific)
1. Literature as an Autobiographical Manifesto by Marcela Ochoa-Shivapour, Cornell College
I will begin with the poem "I am Joaquin" (from Rodolfo Gonzales, 1967) and finish with last year's Pulitzer Novel Prize winner: "The Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" (Junot Diaz). I will also will go over these pieces of Latino literature: The House on mango Street (Sandra Cisneros), My Invented Country (Isabel Allende), When I was Puerto Rican (Esmeralda Santiago), etc., in order to demonstrate that most of these pieces are autobiographical and deal with an inherent sense of "migration blues". Life is viewed , for most of these Latino writers, as an open wound that bleeds through poems, plays and novels. I will compare and contrast some of the topics that are portrayed in their writings and analyze why writers from so many different backgrounds end up writing almost the same story all over again. (In my study, I cover more than forty years).
2. "A Unified Whole?": Transnational Memory in Dinaw Mengestu's The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Sarah Harrison, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Urban studies scholars seeking to understand contemporary globalization have frequently turned to the analysis of a small number of cities in North America, Asia and Europe (Friedmann, Sassen). More recently, critics of the hierarchical economic paradigm inherent in the definition and measurement of these so-called "world" or "global" cities have called for new modes of comparative urban analysis, which reconfigure the perceived relationship between "first" and "third world" cities (Robinson, Mbembe & Nuttall). While urbanists typically rely on the insights that direct observation can provide, these demands suggest the need for new forms of urban data. My paper suggests that urban migrant fictions provide particularly instructive accounts of global urban interconnectedness. If world/global city theory offers a "top down" formulation of global connectivity, I will consider how migrant representations of cities reconfigure global urban networks "from below". Specifically, I will examine the representation of Washington D.C. in Dinaw Mengestu's The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears (2007). Drawing on de Certeau's concept of "pedestrian speech acts", I will consider how the city walks of Mengestu's Ethiopian immigrant protagonist forge important linkages between the United States and Africa. Sepha's persistent memories of Addis Ababa form, following Michael Peter Smith, a "transnational communicative circuit" that has escaped world/global city analysis to date. Impossible to quantify, Sepha's transnational memories highlight global interactions that cannot be accounted for by empirical research alone. By calling attention to the powerful reality effects of imagined cities, I hope to signal the potential for further collaboration amongst urbanists, literary critics and migration scholars.
3. Migration to the Global North: Gender, Class, and Domestic Labor in Dionee Brand's In Another Place not Here by Amy Kebe, Universite Sainte Anne
"Women from Mexico and Central America [are] moving into the households of working families in the United States, Indonesian women to richer nations in Asia and the Gulf region, Sri Lankan women to Greece and Gulf region, Polish women to Western Europe, Caribbean women to the United States and Canada, finally Filipino women the world over." This observation from Rhacel Salazar Parrenas states the obvious: how under the economic pressures of globalization, the global reach of late capitalism has exacerbated the inequality between the south and the north, producing what Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo calls the "new world domestic order," the flow of migrant domestic workers from poor nations to richer ones, in the hope of securing a more stable life. Yet, even though numerous sociological texts and case studies document the issue of female domestic labor, there is a paucity of critical attention to representations of women in literary texts as domestics, nannies, or maids (Rimstead 2002). Mohanty's assertion that women workers of particular caste/class, race, and economic status are necessary to the operation of the capitalist global economy, and that particular kinds of women: "Poor, Third and Two-Thirds World, working-class, and immigrant/migrant women --are the preferred workers in these global, 'flexible' temporary job markets," informs my reading of Dionne Brand's In Another Place not Here. By reading the daily economics of In Another Place not Here's migrant Caribbean women, and the tale of immigration that Brand weaves in her narrative, I rely on this transnational deconstructive reading proposed by Mohanty: by specifically looking at how imperialism colludes with patriarchy in the lives of Brand's female characters. Set in both the Caribbean and Canada, Brand's novel offers a sophisticated analysis of how the exploitation of the black female body is multilayered. By following the trajectory of female immigrants women from the Caribbean to their place of exile, Brand explores the dimensions of race and gender in relation to urban space, and analyzes the extent to which pervasive racism and economic exploitation impact these women's belonging in and appropriation of Toronto.
4. Transplanting India within Manila: The Saga of Sikh Migrants in the Philippines 1947-2000 by Darlene Machell Espena, De La Salle University and Ateneo de Manila University
Should one walk along the streets of Manila, it is not unusual to catch sight of one or two Sikhs mounted on a scooter or motorcyle. Known to most of the locals as Bumbay, Sikhs are among the major migrant groups in the Philippines but they only constitute less than one percent of the country's total population. Although they are commonly identified as moneylenders by the locals, some of them have, in fact, established their businesses in the country, including restaurants and retail stores of Indian goods and products. A few others are employed in local companies and even married to Filipinas. They have their own exclusive organizations, have established their relations with local businessmen and politicians, studied in local universities and colleges, and most significantly, they have founded a Sikh temple in Paco, Manila. Despite the rather small number of Sikhs living in Manila, it is essential to take a closer look at their experiences and their narratives of living in a territory outside the boundaries of India . It is important to trace and examine the history of these migrants in Manila for the reason that their history is also a fraction of Philippine history. The history of these migrants in Manila is also a history of their interaction and relation with the Fiipinos.
This study focuses on the history of the Sikh migration to Manila from India's Independence in 1947 up to the turn of the century. It explores and assesses the various factors that motivated the Sikhs to move out of the land of their birth, particularly during the partition of India and Pakistan , when the province of Punjab was divided between the two countries. Furthermore, it evaluates how the Sikhs respond to the local culture and traditions and how they deal with the impediments of migrant life in the country. It delves into the processes of how the Sikhs transmit as well as maintain their culture and how modernity and globalization affect their decisions to stay and their adaptations to life in a land far from the country they might still call home.
There are two distinct groups of Indian migrants in the Philippines, the Hindus and the Sikhs. The Hindus are mostly from Sindhi in Pakistan while the Sikhs are from Punjab, which was partitioned between India and Pakistan . The two groups are not only divergent in religion. Each of them has a distinct language, tradition and culture. Each of them has their own ways of adapting to the local culture. This study focuses on the Sikh because of their closer interaction with the locals as moneylenders and vendors. They have managed to learn how to speak Filipino more fluently and are more exposed to the local culture (than the Hindus?) and yet have managed to preserve their distinct "Indian-ness" . In the present study, the author further analyzes the factors that prevent the Sikhs from moving back to India even with the conjecture that they have a home there.
The author asserts that the social and economic conditions in Punjab after the partition of India and Pakistan motivated the Sikhs to migrate and try their luck in strange lands. Upon reaching the Philippines, the Sikhs had to cope with the local culture and produce a simulation of life in their home country albeit with perceptible deviations. They utilized the benefits of globalization and modernity to modify the limited space they occupy to transplant "India" within Manila. From the Indian specialty stores along U.N. Avenue to the Sikh temple they built, the food they eat, songs they patronize and clothes they wear, the Sikhs reinforce Indian culture and re-create Indian life in Manila. Throughout their long history of residing in Manila, the Sikhs have managed to uphold the most vital aspects of life in India (perhaps even better) and, for this reason, they have opted to remain in a country far beyond the boundaries of their home.
11. Death as Postmodern Topos in Contemporary Peninsular Spanish Theatre
8:30-10:00 a.m. (Midnight Special)
Chair: John P. Gabriele, College of Wooster
1. El 'Teatro de la Muerte' en la dramaturgia española: Sanchis Sinisterra y López Mozo by Eileen Doll, Loyola University-New Orleans
2. Text, Metatext, and Death in Paloma Pedrero’s En el túnel un pájaro by Carolyn Harris, Western Michigan University
Paloma Pedrero's En el tunel un pajaro, written in 1997 and first staged in 2003, looks at the journey to death in the context of today's world of "reality" television and blurred lines between theater and life. The protagonist, Enrique Urdiales, is a renowned playwright living in a nursing home and facing his last months of life as he loses his battle with cancer. In his search for meaning and dignity in his last days, many layers of text, intertext and metatext become intertwined and finally fuse into one with his death at the play's conclusion. Quotes from the protagonist's dramatic works are interwoven throughout the play, with references that bring to mind the plays of other contemporary Spanish authors. In his meetings with his sister and others, Enrique frequently playacts, assuming the role of loco in order to protect his privacy. In his last days, he decides to write his final work, which turns out to be the play the spectator is watching. He struggles to finish his writing, complaining that the final scene is beyond his grasp, until together with his sister he improvises a conclusion that ends in his death. Enrique, frequently compared with the pajaro solitario of one of his previous works, ends his life peacefully, leaving behind the tunnel of illness and earthly struggles. Befitting to the play's postmodern ambience, an epilogue replays Enrique's parting moments by presenting on screen a videotape of the improvised scene.
3. Death as Postmodern Convention in José Ramón Fernández's Para quemar la memoria by John P. Gabriele, College of Wooster
Nowhere does the Spanish playwright Jose Ramon Fernandez's (1962) use of death inform his postmodern discourse more intrinsically than in Para quemar la memoria. Death, the talk of death, and the presence of dead characters are textually, contextually, thematically, and theoretically significant to the play's structure. They allow Fernandez to reject narrative impetus and coherence in favor of layering and superimposition to depict a reality that is vague and unclear and in which more than one spatial and temporal realm seemingly coexist. The confluence of past and present and concern about the future, memories of past events, and spatial indeterminacy, which are associated with death, imbues Fernandez's play with a decidedly postmodern aura. I propose to illustrate how life (reality) in Para quemar la memoria is as much a retextualization and reappropriation of death (illusion) as death (illusion) is of life (reality), how these concepts mirror each other in mise-en-abyme-like fashion, to underscore that reality and the theatrical representation of the same are ephemeral and ultimately indicative of the death of text and the author.
12. Migratory Passings: Poetry and the Visual Arts
8:30-10:00 a.m. (Wabash Cannonball)
Chair: Magdelyn Hammond Helwig, Western Illinois University
1. Scratching the Surface: Frank O'Hara and Larry Rivers in Collaboration by Magdelyn Hammond Helwig, Western Illinois University
Frank O'Hara was, as Marjorie Perloff reminds us, a poet among painters, but O'Hara was not just a poet among painters, he was a poet collaborating with painters. From 1957 to 1960, O'Hara collaborated with artist Larry Rivers on twelve lithographs collectively titled Stones, a book of true imagetexts in which the marriage of the verbal and visual subordinates neither. Stones was commissioned by Tatyana Grossman, founder of Universal Limited Art Editions, who wanted "a book that would be a real fusion of poetry and art, a real collaboration, not just drawings to illustrate poems." In this paper I trace the collaborative relationship that developed between O'Hara and Rivers in order to show that an understanding of the work of collaboration can provide insight into how we might read the resulting imagetexts. I argue that because these collaborative imagetexts refigure the historically oppositional relationship between the sister arts and are conceived and executed in the spirit of exchange, they are especially fertile ground for confronting the challenge of reading multi-media art forms. I posit "integrated reading" as a constructive critical approach that privileges neither word nor image, while stressing relationships and asking questions about how verbal and visual elements interact and work together to interrogate representation. An integrated reading of Stones must dig through the layers of exchange that constitute the text to uncover and engage its reflexive conversation on political representation.
2. This Sad Dream: Meditations on Elizabeth Siddal as Muse and Poet by Amanda Paxton, York University (Toronto, Canada)
My paper explores the dynamics that arise when the painter's muse takes up the pen and gives voice to the traditionally silent object of painterly depiction. How does the experience of modeling for countless portraits inform the poetics of a muse-turned-poet? What resonances reside in the female voice when it emerges from a context in which the speaking subject has become iconized on countless canvases? These are the questions raised by the rhetorical, stylistic, and intertextual strategies in the poetry of Elizabeth Siddal, model to Millais, Deverell, Hunt, and Rossetti, and subject of numerous Pre-Raphaelite works. I maintain that Siddal's poetics are inextricably tied to her years as an artists' model, and that her poetry exhibits a dissident aesthetic in response to the traditional poetic and artistic juxtaposition of the artistic ideal against mundane reality. I contend that her position, as a real woman transposed into an ideal, makes it impossible for her to accept the conceit of Keats or of Tennyson that posits a divide between the visionary and the actual. Siddal's verse suggests a violence inherent in the idealizing process of art: the synecdochic Petrarchan catalogue of the beloved's features become a rhetorical dismemberment, one that is paralleled in the two-dimensionality of the figure represented on the painter's canvas. Her firsthand experience of this process precludes her from embracing the same aesthetic as her male counterparts. Reading her work against the poetry of Keats, Rossetti, and Tennyson, and against her various artistic incarnations, I explore the ways in which Siddal's poetry is at once embedded in and resistant to the artistic tradition of her time.
3. The Aesthetic Mnemonic: Sigourney's Ecphrastic Model of Viewership by Christa Holm Vogelius, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
W.J.T. Mitchell writes at the end of "Ekphrasis and the Other" that his understanding and analysis of ecphrasis "would look quite different, of course, if my emphasis had been on ekphrastic poetry by women." What Mitchell implies is that female writers have a significantly different approach to the traditional understanding of the image as feminine and the word as masculine, and that this difference influences the way that the paragone, or competition between the arts, works itself out in their poetry. Though male ecphrastic writers, and particularly the British Romantics who dominate critical attention, can often trace the strongest influence on their verse to the classical tradition, ecphrastic poetess verse of the same period was influenced by other visual-literary traditions. In this paper I examine this alternate ecphrastic tradition through the poems of popular poetess Lydia Sigourney. I show that this poetry not only diverges from the traditional model of the paragone, but is better suited to prefigure ecphrasis's later evolution. These poems rely on Sigourney's background as a schoolteacher in the educational tradition of disciplinary intimacy, a philosophy which stressed teachers' emotional bonds with their students, and the students' natural internalization of morals and lessons. The aim of Sigourney's poems is not to map out an artistic rivalry, but to encourage the seamless emotional association that to Sigourney is key to moral education. In placing final importance on the experience of relating to their artistic object, these poems not only bear the mark of a particular period's educational philosophy, but foreshadow the movement of the ecphrastic tradition into the twentieth century, as the experience of the viewer becomes increasingly central.
4. Painting WWI: Thomas MacGreevy's Art by J. Lynn Pannell, University of Pittsburgh
Given mid-twentieth-century Irish poet Thomas MacGreevy's long and accomplished career as an art critic in both Ireland and on the continent, it is not surprising that a good number of his poems borrow heavily from the painting techniques of those artists he studied and admired. This crossing-over does not serve merely to supplement the poet's palette but to elaborate the modern subject's predicament in ways his own poetic tradition did not afford. In its attempt to write the unwriteable, MacGreevy's war poetry stretches beyond Irish poetic tradition in English to forms of representation better suited to themes of loss, alienation, failure, and impotence. While MacGreevy could and did also use techniques from poetic traditions other than his own (notably poetic surrealism), Baroque and both Italian and Dutch Renaissance painting offered him the opportunity to foreground the visual and confound the linguistic. Using gestural brushstokes, attention to color, and preoccupation with still images, MacGreevy creates silent landscapes either unpeopled or engulfing of the walking dead. In this bleak war poetry, nature becomes an absence which is replaced by war, and war marks the end of beauty in that the embrace of ugliness becomes a kind of truth-telling. MacGreevy's explicit reference to and borrowing from painters like Hieromymus Bosch, who like Dante amplified the grotesque, gives him a set of images more appropriate to MacGreevy's war poetry than overly-romanticized Irish landscapes of his poetic tradition.
13. On the Metro/On the Train: Mobility and Modernity
8:30-10:00 a.m. (New York Central)
Chair: Benjamin Fraser and Araceli Masterson
1. On the Non-Annihilation of Space by Garrett Ziegler, Columbia University
It is a convention of scholarship on the cultural effects of railways that trains brought with them the "annihilation of space," as distances previously beyond the scope of everyday experience were conquered with ease through the power of steam. With the eradication of distance, so too the eradication of difference: particularity is said to have vanished in the face of the truly mass societies that railways made possible. Wolfgang Schivelbusch summarizes: "As the space between the points--the traditional traveling space--was destroyed, those points moved into each other's immediate vicinity: one might say that they collided. They lost their old sense of local identity, formerly determined by the spaces between them" (The Railway Journey, pg 38). This paper departs from and takes issue with this consensus by considering cases in which the railway helped underscore difference. Focusing on Britain in the 1830s through the 1850s, I will argue that railways not only did not destroy the sense of local difference, they actually allowed for locality to take a sharper edge, as they provided a rhetorically homogeneous backdrop against which specific communities, easily reached by rail, came to be valued precisely because of their affective difference. I will use both a variety of written accounts and non-literary material (such as maps and board games) to show the ways in which the coming of the train helped to make space more important than ever.
2. A Lefebvrian Look at the Metro in Stories of Juan José Millás by Benjamin Fraser, Christopher Newport University
This paper looks at a series of stories by Spaniard Juan Jose Millas included in the collection Cuentos a la intemperie (1996) and grouped under the subheading: 'Metro.' When read in light of Henri Lefebvre's urban theory as developed by the self-proclaimed Marxist philosopher himself as well as his precursors (Henri Bergson), influences (Jane Jacobs) and followers (David Harvey, Manuel Delgado Ruiz), these stories paint the picture of a modernized and ever-moving Spanish capital where Madrilenans are alienated from each other and also from the conditions of their urban lives. Employing an expanded Lefebvrian notion of alienation as not only economic, political and ideological but also philosophical and social (Critique of Everyday Life, vol. 1, 249), discussion of the stories intersects with such topics as the dialectical understanding of city-space as simultaneously qualitative and quantitative, the metaphor of the city as an organism, the problematic notion of community and the characteristic mystification of urbanized consciousness.
3. Madrid's Metro: Transnational Itinerariesa and Migration in the Capital of Capital by Araceli Masterson, Augustana College
The most recent advertisement produced by the public company Metro de Madrid (Metro), describes Madrid's subway as, "el metro que toda ciudad quisiera tener cuando sea grande [the subway any city would love to have when it grows up]." Indeed, in the last decade, Madrid has become a 'grown-up' city, and its subway system one of its key symbols of 'development': "the fastest growing subway system in the world." Metro announces itself as accessible to all, and as a means to freedom of movement in the city. Yet, recent migrant raids have all taken place at the openings of Metro stations. In response to these contradictory, but coexistent realities, this paper analyzes the significance of the subway as a communication network and cultural symbol amongst Ecuadorian migrants in the city, and argues that Madrid's subway is a key symbol of the city's administration and articulation of the local and global, as well as a central space in migrants' definitions and (re)articulations of Madrid. Drawing from the work by Henri Lefebvre, David Harvey and Edward Soja, I analyze various representations of this space in the company's advertising campaigns, and the city's official discourse, as well as migrants' responses to this space through material collected in personal interviews, and the representations of the subway in migrants' cultural production.
4. Global Terror on the Indian Railway by Marian Aguiar, Carnegie Mellon University
Madrid 3/11. London 7/7. Mumbai 7/11. Some of the most significant terrorist incidents in recent years have been on the train, including the 1995 Toyko Gas attack, the 2004 Madrid bombings, and the 2005 London Underground explosions. In India, the number of railway-related bombing fatalities has totaled over five hundred in the past ten years alone in this country that commonly refers to its railway as its lifeline. The most recent violence took place in Mumbai's main railway station Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly called the Victoria Terminus), where gunmen shot randomly at travelers as part of coordinated bloodshed in the city. Two years before, Mumbai's commuter rail was the biggest site of violence, with bombs exploding in 2006 on one of the busiest rail lines in the world. Photographs taken at the scene show gashed carriages exposing interiors to open air. Colonial and nationalist writers in India promoted the railway as a moving box in which cultural, racial, and historical differences could be enclosed within a civic, secular, and public order. The strange scene of trains turned inside out seems to signal some kind of endpoint. Has modernity, emblemized by the train, reached its terminus, or is this violence just another expression of the modern? This paper argues that one may interpret the prevalent image of the railway in India as a way to show how modernitys commitment to mobility has consigned it to a reconfiguration that is partially its undoing. Specifically, it reads the symbolic aspects of terror as they intersect with that real and imaginative history of the Indian railway to argue that what we are seeing is actually the inherent contradictions of modernity expressed in violent form.
14. Violent Migrations I
8:30-10:00 a.m. (Zephyr Rocket)
Chair: Trisha Brady, SUNY at Buffalo and Henry Veggian, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
1. Catastrophe, Collective Memory, and Belonging: Reconstructing Palestinian Identity by Trisha Brady, SUNY at Buffalo
Al-Nakba (the Catastrophe) of 1948 is a painful site of individual and collective memory in Palestinian literature. This paper examines aspects of Palestinian memory and forms of commemoration that result in the formation of a collective memory for a stateless people and attempts to critically engage the project of reclaiming a Palestinian identity through the creative act of recollection that utilizes memory as a point of departure in personal account literature. My paper will discuss Muhammad al-As'ad's biography, Children of the Dew (1991), which creatively represents the collected memories of older members of the poet's family and community who gave accounts of the 1948 exodus, as an example of a Palestinian narrative about al-Nakba that does not reach a closure but attempts to force the reader to consider the losses, absences, anxieties, and traumas that called it into existence.
2. Pasolini, Ideology, and the Traumatic Political History of Italian Istria by Henry Veggian, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
The paper will situate Pasolini's novel in relation to the post-WWII Allied partition of the Istrian peninsula in northeastern Italy and in explicit contrast to the region's presence in modern literary works by Svevo, Joyce, and Mann. It will connect the modernist periodization of the region to more recent contemporary theoretical works, such as the writings of Giorgio Agamben and Slavoj Zizek, that often turn an anxious eye to Italy's troubled Eastern borders (or, conversely, the Western borders of the Slavic Adriatic). In direct contrast to the modernist tradition that inflects contemporary theoretical works (as well as a recent boom in Italian historicism about the region), the essay will show how Pasolini's Il Sogno di Una Cosa prompts a critical reconsideration of how modern and postmodern intellectuals have engaged one of the major amnesiac episodes in modern European political and cultural history.
3. Ritwik Ghatak and the Cinema of Partitioned Selves by Anustup Basu, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Ritwik Kumar Ghatak (1925-1976), a Bengali-Indian film maker, moved to Calcutta with his family just before the partition of India. Ghatak's cinema was marked by an eclectic, experimental style drawn from his affiliations to the left wing cultural movement headed by the Indian People's Theater Association (IPTA) and his interest in indigenous popular forms of memorializing and destinying through myth and legend. His cinematic mode approximated what I will call an inverted epic idiom that assembled Brechtian and Eisensteinian influences with local tribal and classical forms; yet, the assemblage was disjunctive, affected through violent collisions and release of melodramatic energies along lines of fracture between epic horizons of becoming: a communist internationalism and a tormented Indian modernity. The rootless, dislocated figures that abound in his films are thus caught between murderous geo-political theaters of migration, historical dialectics of the cold war and post-WW-II development, and a now groundless natality of being that cannot be subsumed into a ready notion of peopleness. The 'selves' are thus already 'partitioned,' just as the fabric of history itself is torn, complicating further questions of citizenship in the new republic, as well as the idea of revolution. Critically engaging with the work of Moinak Biswas on Ghatak and that of GWF Hegel on love in relation to the family and the nation-state, I will examine this line of fracture by investigating the trope of non-sexual brother-sister incest in The Cloud Capped Star (1964) and Subarnarekha/The Golden Thread (1965).
4. Re-membering the Shattered Homeland: Rediscovering the History of 'Shameful' Migration in Korean American Literature by Yoon Young Choi, University of Wisconsin-Madison
I will draw upon two major novels by Korean-American writers that deal with the "comfort women" issue: Nora Okja Keller's Comfort Woman and Chang-rae Lee's A Gesture Life. These texts depict two opposite sides of this violent migration as Keller's Comfort Woman narrates from the position of the victims--a former "comfort woman" and her American-born daughter--while Lee's A Gesture Life tells a story of a Japanese American doctor who once served as a military medic in a "comfort women" camp. With close readings of these texts, I will examine how these Korean American writers draw on the issue of "comfort women" as the embodiment of their "shattered homeland." In order to identify the distinctive stance that the Korean immigrant subjects hold in the post-colonial American space, I will employ Avtar Brah's theorization of diaspora which emphasizes the heterogeneity within a single diasporic community. In similar sense, Cathy Caruth and Lisa Yoneyama's works would be useful in my discussion about the role of immigrant subject's memory in remembering the differences back in his or her home. I will also study the works of historians, such as Neil Smith and John Dower, which discuss the conflation of racism and imperialism in the Pacific War, the War that brought the "comfort women" into being, and examine how this conflation operates both in the triangular relationship of Korean, Japan and the United States and in the formation of Korean-American subjects.
15. African American Literature
10:15-11:45 a.m. (Meteor)
(see Session #4 – 8:30 a.m., Friday)
16. Film II
10:15-1:30 p.m. (New York Central)
Chair: Carolina Rocha, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
Topic: Contemporary Latin American Film
10:15-11:45 a.m. (New York Central)
1. Rewriting History en El silencio de Neto by Georgia Seminet, University of Texas at Arlington
Parallel personal and political tragedies sustain the narrative of this 1994 film set in Guatemala in 1954, just before and during the U.S. aided coup d'etat that deposed the democratically elected President Arbenz. Neto, the focus of the narrative, is a quiet boy on the verge of puberty whose emotions are mirrored in the tumult of a society on the verge of revolution. As the reserved Neto grapples with conflicting emotions typical of puberty, the film relies on visual poetics and symbolism to recreate the historical tensions, heightened by impending violence, emblematic of Guatemala's past. Subtle yet eloquent shots of Indians in traditional clothing and panoramic shots of the mist covered mountains that symbolize the eternal indigenous presence in a semi-colonial society contrast with the modern lifestyle of upper class Guatemalans in the 1950s. Though from an upper class family, Neto, his mother, and aunt are all subjected to a benevolent but repressive patricarchal society. As Neto matures, his actions "speak" for him, but there is no comparable breakthrough moment for the Mayan Indians or women. The hidden source of strength allegorized in silence remains untapped in the two latter groups, but as the informed spectator will realize, this is an example of historical persistence in which the silence of the Indians and women becomes an allegory for the historical persistence of repression and patriarchy. Though Neto ultimately triumphs, it is only through the sympathetic portrayal of Indians and women that the director, Guatemalan Luis Argueta, gives voice to the repressed sectors of Guatemalan society using symbolism and camera work to make their lives visible and their voices heard.
2. Hererotopía en La niña santa de Martel by Maria Babineux, Texas A&M University-Commerce
3. Reconfiguring citizenship and state responsibilty in Juan José Campanella's Luna de avellaneda by Rebecca Lee, University of Missouri-Kansas
This presentation examines Juan Jose Campanella's Luna de avellaneda as an allegory of Argentina's recent economic crisis. Set in 2001, the narrative revolves around the space of a vibrant social club begun in the 1940s, its recent decline and the community response. The story takes place in the middle class town of Avellaneda and chronicles the struggles and debates that arise around saving what has been for more than half a century a center for community gatherings and resource sharing. I argue that the film narrates Argentina's conflicted relationship to the neo-liberal policies enacted by Carlos Saul Menem during his presidency and its abrupt departure from the economic boom often referred to as the "fiesta menemista." I will explore the film's engagement with the reconfiguration of citizenship and state responsibility to understand how the dual crisis of capitalism and the state was instrumental in fueling new notions of national belonging. I will follow how nostalgia, outrage, and hope combined to create an imagined community that transcended class interest and mobilized for social change. Central to this analysis are questions about this new citizen activism that was born during the most devastating economic crisis in Argentine history and how this relates to the most notable creative peak in Argentine cinematic production. How are we to understand, for example, the simultaneous rise of cultural production at the moment of complete societal, political and economic breakdown?
12:00-1:30 p.m. (New York Central)
4. Globo Network: The TV that became a movie start by Cacilda M. Rego, Utah State University
After President Collor de Mello dismantled Embrafilme in 1990 Brazilian cinema virtually ceased to exist. Five years later, Brazilian cinema made its phoenix-like rebirth, rising on the heels of new tax incentive laws, and it has since matured and solidified into a 'new' national cinema with a freedom of expression and level of artistry of which it had previously only dreamed. The number of outstanding independent Brazilian films and documentaries produced under these new laws not only came to symbolize the "renaissance" of Brazilian cinema, which was so much celebrated during the 1990s, but also succeeded in attracting a substantial number of foreign producers/distributors to invest in local film production. It was in this context that Globo's contribution to the film industry took place. With the creation of Globo Filmes in 1999, the network embarked upon a major policy of investment in local films--in partnership with U.S. majors--intended not simply for broadcast but also proper theatrical release. The results of this policy have been impressive in terms of both the number and range of films with which the network has been involved. In its first seven years, Globo Filmes invested in the co-production of 30 films, including several of the most distinctive features of the period.
The success of Globo TV's experiment in the film arena encouraged other TV networks to follow its example. Since 2003, for example, the SBT, Bandeirantes, and Record have increasingly invested in the production of feature films intended for both theatrical and video releases. However, while a number of Globo's films have proved surprisingly profitable (as illustrated most recently by the enormous success of Two Sons of Francisco), films produced by other television networks and/or independent producers have not met with the same degree of success in the market. The ability of Globo TV to succeed when other local TV networks and independent film producers have failed does not derive solely from the superior financial acumen on the part of the company. Rather, the network's success in film production, in large measure, depends upon its partnership with U.S. majors, which currently control the main exhibition circuits in Brazil. Moreover, film production, within the network, has enjoyed something of a privileged status in so far as it has benefited from the new tax incentives in a way in which national film production--whether it be by smaller television networks or by independent film producers--as a whole has not.
This paper investigates the impact of Brazilian TV, in particular Globo TV, in the film industry. This will entail an examination of (1) how the network has made use of--and, at times, circumvent--current legislation for cinema to its own advantage at the expense of Brazilian cinema as a whole; of (2) its pivotal role in the transnationalization of the film industry; and of (3) what the implications of this are for the future of Brazilian cinema. This latter development calls for a reassessment of state policies toward the film industry in the 1995-2006 period. In so doing,this paper will discuss some of the main developments within the industry and the challenges for Brazilian independent filmmakers to compete not only with Hollywood films but also with Globo films in the domestic market.
5. Spectable, Art or Business? Contemporary Argentine Cinema by Carolina Rocha, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
In this presentation, I analyze contemporary Argentine cinematic production assessing the impact of Law 24,377 that was implemented in 1995 and that provided much needed funds for national productions. By looking at film production and consumption, the emergence of young filmmakers and the performance of both commercial films and those belonging to the so-called New Argentine Cinema, I make the case for the success of Law 24,377 regarding an increased national production, but not necessarily higher film consumption of national cinema by local audiences. This article is based primarily on data available from the Argentine Union of the Cinematographic Industry (SICA).
17. Religion and Literature
10:15-2:00 p.m. (Knickerbocker)
Topic: Migration, Diaspora, and Identity
Chair: Bobbi Dykema Katsanis, Graduate Theological Union
Secretary: Corinna Guerrero, Graduate Theological Union
10:15-11:45 a.m. (Knickerbocker)
1. And She Dwells in the Midst of Israel Until This Day: Reading Israel by Reading Rahab by Laura Anderson, Graduate Theological Union
One of the enduring questions in biblical studies is why ancient Israel--that oft-oppressed and exiled underdog of the ancient Near East--would develop a coming-into-the-land narrative like the one presented in the book of Joshua, one that seemingly glorifies the violence, slaughter and displacement that Israel itself likely experienced at the hands of the Assyrians and Babylonians. While many plausible answers can be offered, this paper explores one possible response via a re-reading of the character of Rahab in Joshua 2 and 6.
Rahab is a fascinating and complex character who has been variously interpreted over the centuries, from the prostitute with the heart of gold to the collaborator who coldly betrays her city and her people. In this reconsideration of Rahab, I will aim to offer an ambivalent reading of Rahab by drawing in elements of narrative and postcolonial criticisms as well as deconstruction. After tracing the literary contours of Rahab as spatially constrained, perpetually liminal and theologically vague, I will argue, in the theoretical footsteps of Jacques Derrida, Gayatri Spivak and Roland Boer, that the character of Rahab stands in textually for the people who call themselves Israel. Thus, while the overt text of Joshua seems to link Israel's identity with glorified destruction done in the name of YHWH, the subtext of the fast-talking, porous, determined-to-survive character of Rahab may, in fact, offer a more revealing portrait of Israel's self-understanding.
2. The Mormon Diaspora: Gathering to Zion in a World of Assimilation by Emma Boone, George Mason University
This paper will present an examination of how the Mormon Diaspora, beginning in the 19th century as followers migrated from Illinois (and later Europe) westward, eventually taking refuge in the Rocky Mountains, played one of the most significant roles in the great western migration of the United States. This historical migration lives strong in Mormon culture and fiction as the belief that this courage and sacrifice is reflected in its descendents. Interestingly, their annual pioneer celebration is one of the largest regional celebrations in the U.S. Mormons strongly believe that they are a chosen people. Grassroots journals, essays, and memoirs of migrants reflect unwavering devotion throughout persecution, famine, and death as church leaders promised a homeland of personal safety and religious freedom. This human experience lives on as members embrace the values and ideals set by early settlers of their mountain Zion. Although the headquarters of the Mormon Church are in Utah and are considered by many to be "Zion", surprisingly the majority of its members live outside of the U.S. Early doctrine invited Mormons worldwide to gather, but modern philosophy states that Zion should be built in one's own homeland. While the ideal of Zion is dear to Mormons, just as it is to other religions whose political conflicts prevent them from establishing a Zion homeland, the melting pot world in which we live limits exclusive communities and societies. Although there are pockets of gatherings and theoretical promised lands, realistically religious groups must assimilate. Personal identity then becomes homeland, and Zion becomes more a state of being than a physical state of gathering.
3. Patriarchal History: Memory Keepers in Morrison's Paradise by Brandi Bingham Kellett, University of Miami
In Paradise (1997), Toni Morrison explores the ways in which access to memory affects the individual and communal identities of those in diaspora. In the novel, the town of Ruby is founded as a haven for African Americans on the presumption of the chosenness of its people. Because this history of distinction is articulated and controlled exclusively by the founding Morgan twins, Morrison examines the derivation of power through their manipulation of ancestral history. This paper examines how approaches to memory manipulate or liberate individuals in diaspora, as Morrison reveals the dangerous results of a patriarchal view of history, particularly in diasporic communities whose identities are in flux and are threatened from without and within. In Morrison's estimation, rather than forming positive, historically grounded diasporic communities, singular notions of ancestral memory destroy contemporary community and prevent the formation of individual identities.
I will consider not only how memory necessarily shapes the identities of exiled communities, but also the ways in which power is garnered through the manipulation of history. How can common history become a commodity to which access is controlled? How does Morrison challenge the sustainability of diasporic identities formed through the hegemonic dictation of sanctioned interpretations of a shared history? Finally, how does Morrison use multivocal narratives in order to challenge patriarchal views of history and to offer sustainable approaches to common memory? Morrison's representational practices serve to define the ways in which the concept of chosenness can both empower and oppress notions of communal and individual identity.
4. Be(long)ing in the World: Chua's Gold by the Inch and the Global Market by Christopher Patterson, University of Washington
As a gay Asian American who originates from a Chinese diaspora in Malaysia, Chua's narrator in his novel Gold by the Inch can be seen as multiply queered. As an international traveler, his encounters with episodes of sexual desire lead him to different notions of belonging as his race, class and sexuality travel with him, marking him as an outsider from one form of oppression to another, every instance of mobility challenging his notion of belonging, causing him to bear witness to altogether unique forms of structural violence relative to the locality that he happens to be in. In short, Chua's narrator is faced with oppressions based on radical assumptions by the outside world that utilize his race, gender, sexuality, and American cultural identity as indicators for an insurmountable cultural attitude. In this paper I explore the promise of belonging as an ideological tool that valorizes participation within a community. Using a Marxist framework, I seek to discover how socio-economic forces induce the longing to belong to a transnational community such as a diaspora. I will also explore ideas of cultural difference through Balibar's notion of "neo-racism," Zizek's conception of multiculturalism in multinational capitalism, and through Charles Taylor, Omi and Winant, Anthony Appiah, Rey Chow and Lisa Lowe.
The struggle for belonging in Gold by the Inch illuminates the longing to belong for the ethnic subject, and how manifestations of global capitalism in particular utilize this longing in the interests of exploitation and capital.
18. Spanish I: Peninsular Literature Before 1700
10:15-11:45 a.m. and 2:15-3:45 p.m. (Frisco)
Chair: Amy M. Austin, University of Texas at Arlington
Secretary: R. John McCaw, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
10:15-11:45 a.m. (Frisco)
1. E procurad de vos dormir leyendo y oyendo buena lecion que vos de spiritual alegria: Devotional Reading in the Age of Isabel de Castilla by Isidro J. Rivera, The University of Kansas
In this paper, I will argue that the advent of printed books gave individual readers from all levels of society the agency to engage in acts of piety and spirituality consistent with the expectations of the religious authority of this period. At the same time, medieval devotional texts served as "vehicles for readers' performances" (Suydam 180-81). My paper will examine how late medieval Iberian readers negotiated devotional texts and integrated them into private, structured acts of piety. The development of silent reading as the preferred mode for experiencing written texts helped to increase the private performance of devotions and to create their own private spaces for meditation and self-reflection, practices that were to alter the nature of European society. My study will utilize Pena's recent findings concerning the privatization of reading in late medieval and early modern Catalunya to make more precise the ways in which the reading of devotional texts intersected with religious practices during a period of spiritual anxiety. In particular, I will consider the Retablo de la vida de Christo by Juan de Padilla as representative texts for interrogating the processes of private devotional reading in the Age of Isabel de Castilla and other acts of religiosity.
2. The Individual versus the Conduct Book: Experience and the Manual in El criticón by Patricia W. Manning, The University of Kansas
As many studies on textual circulation indicate, the much-lauded literary classics of early modern Spain were not the best sellers of the era. Instead, manuals permeated early modern Spanish popular culture. The reading public could readily learn how to become the perfect wife, penitent or courtier by reading the appropriate guidebook. My paper will examine the manner in which El criticon (1651, 1653 and 1657) problematizes the advice format by emphasizing the value of individual experience.
For much of his career, the Jesuit Baltasar Gracian, author of seven treatises, readily participated in the culture of advice giving, albeit for readers who were educated enough to penetrate his obtuse style. In the course of his novel, El criticon, however, all attempts on the part of the characters to gain knowledge through conduct books fail. The only manual that escapes this general condemnation is Juan Luis Vives' De conscribendis epistolis. Rather than proffer guidance on the larger issues of life, Vives' work leaves these to the individual's discretion and offers a practical guide on writing letters. In a similar fashion, the reader of El criticon must fill in the details of the narrative with his or her own experience in order to create the message of the work, particularly after the authorial marginal notations that clarify the antecedents of the novel's allegory disappear in Part Three. In this manner, the reader of El criticon does not receive advice but rather reflects on his or her life in order to complete the narrative.
3. Hipertelia escrituraria o como se construye un travesti novohispano: la Historia de la monja alférez, Catalina de Erauso, escrita por ella misma by Mariana C. Zinni, Queens College-CUNY
2:15-3:45 p.m. (Frisco)
4. "¿Qué grandeza es mandar en un grano de mostaza?": el viaje celestial de Sancho y su visión del theatrum mundi by Julia Domínguez, Iowa State University
5. Cervantes, los musulmanes nuevos y la Información de Argel by Natalio Ohanna, Western Michigan University
6. Cervantes' Theory of Relativity: Time in Don Quixote by Chad M. Gasta, Iowa State University
Much scholarship has been written regarding how the narration of Cervantes' Don Quixote is constructed based on a false sense of time. That is, the narrators seem to disregard chronological time and particular adventures seem to defy a logical progression or duration of time. Even Don Quixote cannot accurately express time in chorological fashion or as a sequence of events lodged in residual memory. The most common example of this phenomenon occurs in the Cueva de Montesinos which, as expressed by Don Quixote, is an unraveling of confused temporal associations, a dream-like sequence associated with meshing of reality and fiction. This is clear in Don Quixote's own assessment of his time in the cave which he believes lasted three days and three nights, but for Sancho and the Cousin, seemed more like "tan poco espacio de tiempo" and "tan breve espacio de tiempo" (479). And, the narrator of the episode is no help either as he describes the journey as lasting "como media hora" (474), underscoring the lack of specificity of time. Either in particular episodes like the Cueva de Montesinos or the progression of the narration itself, scholars have routinely point to the elasticity of time in the novel, as Edward Friedman has recently noted: "One of the most intriguing elements of Don Quixote is what could be called its discursive and conceptual elasticity, its capacity to tell a variety of stories and to operate on multiple semantic levels." While the confusion is no doubt related to semantics and several levels no particular theory helps explain why no logical progression or chronological duration of time is central to the novel. Turning again to the cave, Don Quixote's own assessment of the episode's chronology sheds a little light on the topic: "lo que a nosotros parece una hora, debe de parece alla tres dias con sus noches." This understanding of time as a relative and temporal concept appears numerous times in the novel, often overlooked by scholars. As examples, I cite the adventure of Clavileno, the wooden horse, on which knight and squire, blindfolded, are tricked into believing they are not just flying through the air, but covering distance in short spurts of time: "aunque nos parece que no ha media hora que nos partimos del jardin, creeme que debemos de haber hecho gran camino" (551). This sort of early modern "time travel" also appears during the crossing of the Ebro River in the "barco encantado," when Don Quixote makes the claim that he and Sancho have crossed a great expanse of space in only a few moments: "Pero ya habemos de haber salido, y caminado, por lo menos, setecientas o ochocientas leguas y, si yo tuviera aqui un astrolabio con que tomar la altura del polo, yo te dijera las que hemos caminado, aunque, o yo se poco, o ya hemos pasado o pasaremos presto por la linea equinocial que divide y corta los dos contrapuestos polos en igual distancia" (506). What these and other adventures tell us is that there is a temporality and elasticity of time that can be explained if we consider that Cervantes' conceptualization of time could be related to the same theory of relativity proposed centuries later by the famed physicist Albert Einstein. Einstein's well-known Theory of General Relativity, first published in 1908, scientifically proposes and explanation for what early modern authors and philosophers believed about time, namely that it is a relative notion not always measurable by modern mechanisms of time keeping, such as the hour glass or the calendar, but rather time was as one perceived it to be.
19. German Women Writers
10:15-11:45 a.m. (Missouri Pacific)
Chair: Daniela Richter, Central Michigan University and Amy Kepple Strawser, Otterbein College
1. From Rooms to Villages: Space and the Female Poetic Voice by Liesl Allingham, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
Looking at texts by Dorothea Veit-Schlegel (Florentin, 1801) and Annette von Droste-Hulshoff ("Am Thurme," 1841), I argue that these writers push the boundaries of the private sphere by negotiating domestic space via creativity. Both authors transform space marked by domesticity into extra-social spaces, contact points between public/private that come into existence through (female) musical genius and the poetic voice. In both cases, the original space that is transformed is most restrictive; Veit-Schlegel begins with a room within a house, while Droste-Hulshoff places her poetic speaker in a tower adjacent to the home, a space she likens to a prison in a letter to Louise Schucking. With the expansion of accessible space comes an expansion though not transformation of identity, from wife, mother, and spinster to composer and poet.
Given the solidification of the gendered discourse on public/private space, it should come as no surprise that German women writers of the early and even mid-nineteenth century failed to make the radical gestures towards claiming a piece of the public sphere that Wollstonecraft in England, de Gouges in France, and Hippel in Germany did in an earlier decade. Instead of bemoaning the lack of radicalization, this paper teases out the strategies these writers used to redefine the boundaries of the private sphere while at the same time asserting or modeling the creation of the poetic voice.
2. Nomadic Sauntering: Emine Sevgi Özdamar's Seltsame Sterne starren zur Erde by Ekaterina Pirozhenko, University of Illinois at chicago
This paper investigates a female perception of an urban space within the theoretical framework of flanerie (idling, sauntering, strolling). Most scholars focus on flanerie in the nineteenth century or in the 1920s, for instance, Walter Benjamin, Elizabeth Wilson, Kevin Hetherington, Janet Wolff, Griselda Pollock Siegfried Kracauer, and others. I argue that in spite of a wide variety of theoretical practice, the discourse of flanerie remains within frames of Eurocentrism, patriarchy, Christianity, heterosexuality, and whiteness. Exclusions from this discourse are based on ethnicity, religion, and gender. I maintain that that flaneur-literature or flanerie as a phenomenon is still alive and takes a new twist in the modern globalized world. I show that a German-Turkish writer Emine Sevgi Ozdamar contributes to the discourse by creating a migrant flaneuse. A few scholars (such as Karin Baumgartner, Kevin Hetherington, and Mila Ganeva) have touched upon female flanerie, however, they disregarded discourses of migration, linguistic issues, and national identity.
Ozdamar's autobiographical novel Seltsame Sterne starren zur Erde (2003) tells about a young Turkish actress, Emine, who comes to Germany in 1976 to study Bertold Brecht's theatre in West Berlin and work at Volksbuehne in East Berlin. Struggling with visa issues and homelessness, Emine saunters in West and East Berlin, crosses imaginary borders between Germany and Turkey, and breaks boundaries between her present and past. By nomadic sauntering, Ozdamar's protagonist expands boundaries of national identity substituting them with other kinds of belonging--to friends, coworkers, theatre, women, politics, sexual partners etc. Emine walks on the streets in Berlin, looks at the city through windows of hotels, apartments, and trains, and maps the city in her own way creating her own personal topography of the third space of in-between-ness where she can feel at home.
3. Sexuality ad oculos: Magnus Hirschfeld, Til Brugman, and “The Department Store of Love” by Thomas O. Haakenson, Minneapolis College of Art and Design
Til Brugman, a German-speaking Dutch writer and one-time partner of visual artist Hannah Hoch, operated on the periphery of Berlin Dada. Yet, Brugman's use of the grotesque as a style of critical engagement was developed in close collaboration with the visual artist Hoch and the self-appointed philosopher of Berlin Dada, Salomo Friedlander. And like Hoch and Friedlander, Brugman was particularly interested in challenging conventional notions of gender and sexuality. Similar to her fellow Dadaists, Brugman focused her critical energies on the reductive nature of empirical science, a reductive nature Brugman and her colleagues associated with individuals like Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld.
Not all the members of the public who visited Hirschfeld's Institute were enamored with his ideas about sexual orientation or with the Institute's displays. After a visit in the early 1930s, Brugman wrote "The Department Store of Love," a short grotesque in which she challenged Hirschfeld's sexual science by suggesting that the fetish as epistemological fact was equivalent to representational hyperbole. Much like Friedlander's concern with the speculative nature of empirical science in general and Hoch's parodying of visual evidence through her photomontages, Brugman challenged in literary fashion Hirschfeld's use of the fetish a conflation of empirical reality and epistemological speculation. Brugman's short satire demonstrates a concern that German sexual science had sacrificed human interest in the name of political instrumentality and objectifying methodology.
4. Terézia Mora's Autofictional Märchen for Adults by Renata Fuchs, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
In the last fifty years, literature in Germany became culturally diverse and comprehensive. Much of the existing research on German Minority literature overlooked, however, the configuration of intercultural literature as exemplified by Eastern European German-speaking authors. Yet, this very oeuvre occupies a unique place within the German studies since it connects the mainstream German literature and culture to that of German minorities in Eastern European countries. In that sense, this body of literature is truly transnational and simultaneously inherently German. Furthermore, women's writing belonging to this particular grouping offers a unique vignette of women's life, specifically of their struggles and challenges, which are similar to those women living in Germany may face and at the same time paradoxically nonpareil.
My work considers issues of identity and belonging in the collection of short stories titled Seltsame Materie by a German-speaking woman writer, Terezia Mora from Hungary. Genealogical, geographical origin and displacement of the author and her protagonists--which translate identity into either a hybrid or split category--form a literary self-representation suspended on the borderline between fact and fiction, a phenomenon defined by Mora as Marchen for adults. Mora's characters, postmodern nomads with border identities, alternate between more than one culture and language, striving to find their new space as a Heimat and to establish where they belong, only to ultimately admit that this is not to be accomplished. In my reading of these texts, I focus on the topic of Germans in a foreign space, specifically women, to explore the relation between protagonists and the surrounding world.
20. Migrating Hearts: Literature on Lovers from Different Locations
10:15-11:45 a.m. and 12:30-2:00 p.m. (Jeffersonian)
Chair: Assad Al-Saleh, University of Arkansas
10:15-11:45 a.m. (Jeffersonian)
1. "Dirty" Migrants, "Classy" Lebanese: The Politics of Love and Hate in Sitte Marie Rose by Nadine Sinno, Georgia State University
2. Courtly Love in Sir Orfeo and The Ring of the Dove: How Far Did Ibn Hazm's Dove Fly? by Assad Al-Saleh, University of Arkansas
3. Translating Culture Through Love: Leila Aboulela's The Translator by Ghadir Zannoun, University of Arkansas
12:30-2:00 p.m (Jeffersonian)
4. Iraqis' Lost Love Between Wars and Exile by Ikram Masmoudi, The University of Delaware
5. Displaced Love and Identity in Monic Ali's Bricklane by Manal AlNatour, University of Arkansas
6. The Hybrid Love Tale in Rushdie's Short Story The Courter by Banan Al-Daraiseh, University of Arkansas
21. Migration, Movement and Displacement in Medieval Literature
10:15-11:45 a.m. (Dixie Flyer)
Organizer: Justin T. Noetzel, Saint Louis University
Chair: Eileen A. Joy, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
Secretary: Teresa Harvey, Saint Louis University
1. Monsters and Outlaws: Sacred Spaces and Communal Displacement in the Icelandic Sagas by Justin T. Noetzel, St. Louis University
The story of medieval Iceland, from its Viking settlement to its innovation as a democratic state, is a story of movement. The Icelandic sagas span centuries and include genres from love stories to the adventures of warriors and poets, as well as supernatural content from Viking folktales and myths, and the creation of the Icelandic cultural identity. As medieval Iceland forged its stable democracy, it also identified the threats to this collective identity. Ancient myth and medieval law each had a primary enemy that was necessarily excluded and pushed to the border of society, and the monster and outlaw overlap on this periphery of highlands and islands. These two marginalized groups also occupy the same metaphorical space, because they are forced to define themselves as liminal beings. This paper will examine well known sagas, such as Eyrbyggja Saga and the famous outlaw-hero Grettir Asmundarsson, as well as the lesser known stories of Gull-thorir and Horth and the Hol-Dwellers, using the theoretical framework of space and place theory and describing the pivotal role that the Icelandic landscape has on monsters and outlaws. Because the saga heroes and law-makers help to forge national identity after settling in Iceland, they must create sacred religious space on the landscape, in the form of temples (and later churches), and also sacred domestic space (of farms and great halls). The transgression that monsters and outlaws embody threatens these sacred spaces, and so these marginal characters, however famous or powerful they become, are always defeated through military force, religious intervention, and legal action.
2. "Mane, Techal, Phares" in Poetic and Descriptive Works from the Marches by Jill Fitzgerald, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
"Mane, Techal, Phares" is the Aramaic phrase that the angelic hand famously inscribes on Balta3ar's wall in the Book of Daniel. It is typically used in reference to economic exchange and simply means "numbered, weighed, divided." This episode involving Balta3ar and Daniel is featured prominently in the alliterative poem Cleanness, where Daniel gives a grim translation of the writing on the wall to Balta3ar: "[Mane] Almightily God has measured your kingdom according to a pure number, and finished it in faith to the farther end. [Techal] Your noble reign hangs in the balance and is found fully lacking in deeds of honor. [Phares] Gone is your authority. You shall be deprived. Your rule shall be taken from you and you shall be given to the Persians. The Medes shall be masters here, and you shall be shoved from your honored state."
Gerald of Wales also evokes "Mene, Tekel, Pheres" in his Journey through Wale, and suggests that "Wales knows only too well...through a rupture of all ties of common blood and family connection, evil example has spread far and wide through the land." In the Daniel story, this episode acts a major turning point in the narrative and prefigures political transition, evokes a breakdown of social ideals, and recalls a history of displacement and exile. My thesis is that the retelling of this episode in Cleanness and the Journey through Wales calls up a particular set of regional concerns in the West Midlands (or Marches) and the interior border of Wales, primarily political transition, an appraisal of honor and chivalric-worth, displacement, and the cultural function of prophecy.
3. The Migration of the Orpheus Myth to Middle English by Michael Elam, Saint Louis University
Traversing spaces is a clear theme in the Middle English Breton-Lay Sir Orfeo. Another clear element in the poem's construction is the use of dichotomies. These oppositions include the real world and the world of faerie, strength and impotence, joy and grief, opulence and poverty, and many others. The poem's narrative mechanism, however, emphasizes not simply difference nor even of bifurcation--a choice of opposites--but instead reinforces a necessary traversing between the two--and not only that, but also a return. Sir Orfeo isn't simply moved from joy to grief; he chooses to move from joy to grief, the means by which he is restored to joy. It is this determination of motion, this self-initiated movement that features most prominently in driving the plot. One sees that movement in Sir Orfeo ceases not with arrival at an opposite place or condition, but rather with an arrival back at the place of origin. But one must be careful, however, not to characterize this movement as exclusively cyclical, although there is an element of cycle present. Instead, by looking at the characteristic movement in Sir Orfeo as linear rather than circular, as harmonic motion, one may be struck at the vitality of the redemptive theme that I believe is the central component of the poem. The precipitous loss of the ideal condition can only be addressed by an equally precipitous response--and it is this response that facilitates the eventual reconciliation of all conditions in Sir Orfeo.
4. The Vacillating Pilgrim: Competing Responsibilities and the Anxieties of Self-Identification in The Book of Margery Kempe by Thomas M. Dieckmann, Saint Louis University
This paper will focus on some striking examples from the "Secundus liber" depicting how Margery self-fashions her identity in her Book. I intend to demonstrate that, just as she does in her "first book", Margery projects herself in her second as what Giorgio Agamben has termed homo sacer, one banished from the community by a sovereign authority for transgressive behavior and subjected to "bare life". And yet, just as in Agamben's figuration of homo sacer, in her very profanity as an outcast, Margery attains a sort of sanctity with which she is held by some she encounters. I will argue that just as Margery vacillates between being despised--and banished-- and being cared for as a sacred figure, she also vacillates between fashioning herself as homo sacer and a sort of what Agamben figures as its inverse: a sovereign authority.
I will further argue that Margery's confusion between these two roles in the second book is the result of her being put in a position of competing responsibilities (as figured by Jacques Derrida in The Gift of Death) between her call to a relationship with God and her communally-accepted responsibilities as wife, mother, and citizen of Lynn. Choosing to heed her responsibility to God, Margery frequently fails to fulfill her social responsibilities. Her mystical interactions with the divine also lead to greater confusion for Margery: she is able to encounter God's nature and secrets truly--experiences that cause Margery anxiety and lead her to seek validation with clerical authorities. This movement between her internal anxiety and self-identification as homo sacer, and her competing desire to establish herself as a sort of authority mirror her vacillation between two liminal positions in her physical world: her place as homo sacer and authority.
22. Periodicals in the Age of Mass Culture
10:15-11:45 a.m. (Wabash Cannonball)
Chair: Jessica Wilton, Carnegie Mellon University
1. Broom January 1923: A Pinnacle Moment in Mass Culture and American Literary Modernism by Belinda Wheeler, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
In "The Price of Modernism and Publishing The Waste Land," Lawrence Rainey explains how many modernist artists, including T.S. Eliot, established themselves in little magazines first before going on to wider success. The engaged audiences little magazines had during the late 1910s and early 1920s continued to spark dialogue about what form American literary modernism should take. One periodical that is often overlooked is Broom: An International Magazine of the Arts. Broom's diverse audience, high circulation (4000 compared with Others 300), and international offices (New York, Italy, and Rome) helped it capture the modernism debate as it unfolded on both sides of the Atlantic. With Eliot's The Waste Land on the eve of wide release, Broom's January 1923 edition--the 'all-American number'--presents a unique snapshot of what themes and forms of expression were prevalent to American artists at the time. Some noteworthy writers published in the issue include Kenneth Burke, Jean Toomer, Kay Boyle, Gertrude Stein, Hart Crane, Marianne Moore, and Robert A. Sandborn--most of whom were relative unknowns. Broom's all-American issue presents one magazine's attempt to provide an unbroken contour of American art to its readership, helping to ensure that American artists would not be forced to conform to the European status quo. In this light, Broom's January 1923 issue helps readers re-evaluate a pinnacle moment in American literary modernism and several modernist writers who went on to become canonical figures.
2. Readers and Radicals: Magazines, Modernism and Middlebrow Culture by Jessica Wilton, Carnegie Mellon University
This paper takes the opposition of modernism and mass culture as central, not secondary, to the formation of middlebrow taste. By looking closely at the way smart magazines and modernist writers use each other to gain traction with the middlebrow audience, and by considering the attraction of these texts for middlebrow readers, I am interested in questioning the stability of these categories (as useful as they are for my immediate purposes). Ultimately, however, the disparate motives of the characters in this story don't provide much narrative satisfaction: Socially engaged modernists like John Dos Passos use these magazines to make anti-capitalist, anti-war statements to a wider audience--and to earn crucial extra income in hard times. The magazines themselves often use this "difficult" work to assert their position of authority over the reader, thus maintaining the instructive position they need to maintain the readers' faith in their advertisers. And while we can only speculate as to the motives of the smart magazine reader, it stands to reason that exposure to writers like Dos Passos helped them to feel that they defied the "middlebrow" label. It also suggests that getting your leftist modernism in abridged, magazine form, next to an advertisement for this season's wingtips, does little to disrupt your position as re-producer of capitalist culture.
3. Anarchy and Amateurism: Zine Publication and Print Dissent by Sheila Liming, Carnegie Mellon University
Because they aren't usually sold in stores--because more often than not you have to know where to look--you rarely see them. But zines, homemade, mash-up publications suiting a variety of interests, needs, and cadres, exist, comprising a belligerently voiced need for alternative media venues even in our modern age of widespread Internet use and so-called digital democracy. Fag School, Sniffin' Glue, Slug and Lettuce, and Gutter Flowers are the titles of a few zines, many of them still surviving, that emerged in the United States between 1970s and early 1990s, popularly viewed as literary appendages of a movement of youth unrest and social apprehension. While many zines have embraced the opportunities of new media and gone digital (websites like paperrad.com, for example, or e-zines, electronically distributed zines which reach their audiences via email instead of the Postal Service), still many others maintain a commitment to the ethics of low-tech media production and continue to be photocopied, hand-drawn, or hand-stitched and circulated according to the old rules: by mail, at zine conventions, or at shows.
Zines, like other forms of alternative or radical print media before them, operate with the central objective of evading--and, as a result, subverting--the engines and processes of mass media. But, as Eric Nakamura, editor of the zine Giant Robot, points out, "Zines are not a new idea. They have been around under different names (chapbooks, pamphlets, flyers). People with independent ideas have been getting their word out since there were printing presses" (qtd. in Todd and Watson, 12)--and, no doubt, long before that. For this reason, I believe, they must be understood and discussed via the terms and methods of print history: zines must be given a place within the historical narrative of publishing and print communication, not just that of subcultural eccentricity and intrigue. I want to approach a cultural history of zines with specific relevance to print, placing them alongside related forms (radical pamphleteering and ephemeral publication and, later, the blog) in order to build a case both for their discernibly traditional and traditionally anomalous nature in the context of print history. The zine movement presupposes the "prosumer" of the digital age, and in doing so uniquely demonstrates a moment of distinct cultural unease, and a devised method for dealing with that unease.
4. Democratizing writing, then and now by Carola Daffner, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
My paper will focus on the democratization of literature through media by comparing individual journals from Fin de siecle Vienna to modern day new media.
The derogatory term "chattering classes" usually refers to an urban elite "considered as a social group freely given to the articulate, self-assured expression of (esp. liberal) opinions about society, culture, and current events." Their newfound importance in the digital age is apparent all over the internet: With the help of various kinds of digital media technologies more and more members of the educated metropolitan middle class embrace ways of getting personal messages to a larger audience--from blogging to podcasting, from digital videos to discussion boards. Known as User Generated Content (UGC), they try to give themselves as a public forum to talk about their ideas.
In my talk, I will draw a parallel between these modern day chattering classes (pundits, bloggers, etc.) and the beginnings of this phenomenon in the feuilleton around 1900. The focus of my analysis will be individual journals that started to have a huge impact on the literary scene, such as Adolf Loos' Das Andere or Karl Kraus' Die Fackel. Just as bloggers intend to do, modern writers like Kraus, Loos or Altenberg establish--as I will show--a forum in which they discussed their ideas and thereby encouraged public debates. The individual journal reflected the first iterations of the modern metropolitan individual, turning the private public, twisting the split between public mask and internal psychology and ultimately influencing and changing artistic expressions.
23. Violent Migrations II
10:15-11:45 a.m. (Zephyr Rocket)
Topic: Clandestine Migration Across the Mediterranean in Maghrebi Film and Literature
Chair: Hakim Abderrezak, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
1. Clandestine Migration in Mediterranean Music by Hakim Abderrezak, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Western and North African media reports of clandestine migration in the Mediterranean have provided viewers and readers with differing coverage of the phenomenon. A growing amount of criminalizing accounts has led an increasing number of writers and filmmakers to provide their own, counter vision. Singers have followed the lead in their own ways, that is, through sympathizing with candidates to clandestine migration (harragas). However, while some advocate an opening of Fortress Europe, others deter harragas from undertaking the maritime crossing to Spain and Italy.
I propose to examine musical representations of clandestine migration and especially discuss these two tendencies in the works of two singers, namely the Spanish songs of French singer Manu Chao, as well as the Arabic songs of Algerian rai singer Reda Taliani.
2. Moroccan Borderland Literature Written in Castilian and Catalonian by Cristián H. Ricci, University of California, Merced
In the last seven years, a new generation of Moroccan authors who write in Castilian and Catalonian proliferated. This literature, written in Morocco by Moroccans, with Moroccan topics and characters, is developing a series of questions about the use of the language of the Other, the aesthetic practices of Western literature, and a deeply critical observation on the influence of the Western media in Morocco. The authors I refer in this fourth group are not revolutionaries who fight for a return to the beginning of history in the future; they do not represent the typical liberal discourse that mystifies national emancipation against Spain; nor are they Indigenists who deny the history after the French and Spanish invasions. They propose, instead, to reconstruct their integrity from an Eastern and Western historical framework. In this sense, they recapture the historical identity of Morocco, a history that shares some characteristics with other post-colonialist literatures--a history that is conscious of the neocolonial relations that the new world order imposes. These authors also address the prolegomena of Madrid's M-11 bombings while, at the same time, recreate the shadows of intolerance represented by a return to the darkest days of the 15th Century Inquisition and of Franco's dictatorship. The "threat" of terrorism is answered in literary texts that, while writing Maghribi immigrants' lives and arrival to Spain, are inundated by the ghosts of Spain's own Muslim past.
The works of Mohamed Abed al-Jabri, Abdelkebir Khatibi, Walter Mignolo and Enrique Dussel shape the theoretical frame of my paper.
3. Arrested Nomadism: French Captivity in the Age of Empire by Corbin Treacy, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Post-Schengen Europe, what Hardt and Negri call the current "Age of Empire," has constructed a hierarchy of mobility, with the holders of the "right" passports enjoying enormous freedom of movement, while those with the "wrong" passports (or none at all) experiencing not freedom at the border, but captivity, manifest in many forms. These arrested nomads begin their European experience with an interview at a zone d'attente, often followed by internment at one of France's many CRA or CDA (Centres de detention administratfs), either to be repatriated, held over the course of several months in a kind of bureaucratic limbo, or allowed to "penetrate" (in the governmental parlance) French soil, only to find a different kind of captivity in the subaltern periphery of France's major cities.
My paper examines 21st-century captivity in France as represented by a group of Maghrebi and Sub-Saharan African immigrants who passed through her "centres de retention administratifs" (CRA). I focus on the recently-published Feu au centre de retention, janvier-juin 2008: Des sans-papiers temoingent, a collection of interviews conducted by an ensemble of activists and journalists in France, in which detainees at the CRA Vincennes describe in graphic detail the conditions of their detention. In the six months that preceded the much-reported fire they set to their detention center, the inmates leveraged a number of subversive acts of organized resistance against state authorities. I read their "off script" testimonies and revolutionary actions against the "scripted" version of events provided by the French government and mainstream media, while tracing the ways in which the inmates paradoxically challenge the very authority of the state whose administrative recognition they seek. Drawing on Neo-Marxist and Post-colonial critics, I aim to read the fire at CRA Vincennes as a moment of crystallization, one in which the complex, paradoxical, and emergent relationships between France, her former colonies, and immigrants are displayed with particular symbolic force and offer a privileged access point from which to view the cracks in the edifice of Empire.
4. Hell through Water: New Southern Discourses and Migrant Crossings from Africa to Italy
24. American Dialect Society
10:15-11:45 a.m. (Burlington Route)
Topic: English and Other Immigrant Languages in the United States
Chair: Susan M. Burt, Illinois State University
1. Stressing the importance of the standard language: Schwa in Wisconsin Standard German by Rose Rittenhouse, University of Wisconsin, Madison
The German spoken in the late 1900s by German-speaking immigrants and their descendants in Wisconsin demonstrates unexpected patterns of vowel (non)reduction, and we argue that these patterns are likely due to social rather than phonetic/phonological factors. Although Standard German survived for decades in many American German populations in education, religion and print media (e.g. Salmons & Lucht 2005 on Texas and Wilkerson & Salmons 2008 on Wisconsin; also cf. Seifert 1993, von Schneidemesser 2002), much previous research has assumed that speakers understood Standard German but overwhelmingly spoke regional dialects (Eichhoff 1979, Jacob 2002:80).
In modern Standard German, orthographic
2. No problem: Current Developments in Midwestern Americans' response to thank you by Elizabeth Kirchoff, Minnesota State University Moorhead
Speakers use language to convey specific messages, but the semantic choices speakers make also expose their attitudes, beliefs, values, social roles, and identities (Holmes, 1997). It follows, then, that as society's attitudes, values, and beliefs change, the language of its speakers also evolves to reflect those changes. A recent noticeable change in American English is a speaker's response to thank you, the first part of a verbal exchange that Sacks (1992) calls an utterance pair. Utterance pairs (Sacks, 1992) are two-part communicative sequences, whereby the first part requires a particular type of response in the second part. In American English the traditional response to thank you is you're welcome. Although a speaker's response naturally varies according to a particular conversational situation, in recent years, Midwesterners' use of the response you're welcome has decreased significantly and seemingly regardless of the status of speakers, formality of the social situation, or the type of deed for which the first speaker is appreciative. I am in the midst of conducting a formal study of this phenomenon in naturally occurring language in central Minnesota, and I will be examining my data from a sociolinguistic perspective utilizing identity theory. I propose presenting my findings of this study at the M/MLA Convention, fall 2009.
3. Northern Cities Chicano English: Evidence from Vowel Production and Perception by Rebecca Roeder, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Despite rapid growth in the Mexican American population across the Midwestern United States since World War II, and conflicting evidence regarding the overall impact of local mainstream norms on minority group language varieties, few sociolinguistic studies have examined the influence of the Northern Cities Shift (NCS)--a major vowel change in progress across much of the Inland North (Labov, Ash and Boberg: 2006)--on Midwestern Mexican American English (although see Gordon 2000 and Frazer 1996 for auditory analysis of several vowels in marginally NCS areas). This paper takes a systematic, instrumental approach to investigating the effects of the NCS on the production and perception of English by Chicanos in Lansing, Michigan. Production results--based on the comparison of word-list data covering all six vowels involved in the shift from 14 Lansing-born speakers of Mexican American heritage (6 women and 8 men, ages 14-47) and 12 young Anglo locals (6 women and 6 men, ages 14-25)--reveal little difference in vowel means between groups, except in the raising and fronting of /ae/ in pre-nasal position. Perception results pattern similarly. Investigation of additional low-level phonetic features in the production of /ae/ reveal that young women are most advanced in the assimilation of local norms. These findings indicate that, although constant exposure to and interaction with the local matrix group appear to have led to nearly total accommodation to local NCS features in the speech of Chicanos in Lansing, evidence still remains of external influences from other elements of the language setting (Santa Ana: 1993).
4. Lateral Liquid Velarization in L1 Spanish-L2-English Bilngual Phonology by Javier Duenas, Miami-Dade College, Hialeah Campus
Research in the field of Second Language Acquisition has long recognized the importance of L1 phonological transfer in the interlanguage of second language learners and bilinguals of all human languages in close contact situations. Similarly, the prevalence of a velarized lateral liquid allophone in syllable-final position, referred to as a "dark" /l/ in some texts, has been well-documented in the phonological patterns of Standard American English monolinguals. However, the scope of velarization of lateral liquids transferred in the interlanguage of L1 Spanish-L2 English speakers at various stages of the English learning process, and the nature of such a transfer process has yet to be fully explored. The research project described in this paper aims to explore the effects of L1 transfer of the Spanish clear /l/ phoneme on the production of the dark /l~/ target allophone in Standard American English language learners the results of which are expected to find relevance to the field of Second Language Acquisition as well as a specific application in the pedagogy of accent-reduction classes in English as a Second Language programs in the United States.
25. Harold Pinter Society
10:15-11:45 a.m. (Midnight Special)
Chair: Craig N. Owens, Drake University
Secretary: Judith Roof, Michigan State University
1. Enactments of Desire: Examining the Text of Harold Pinter's monologue by Emily Kingery, University of Northern Illinois
Bernard F. Dukore notes that Harold Pinter's monologue "concerns the deterioration of friendship," and thus focuses on the speaker's eager insistence on attempting to "enact a remembered friendship." Some critical attention has been given to this tension between the speaker's desire for connection and the actual deterioration of the friendship, generally regarding how this tension is enacted through the staging of monologue. If we read monologue, then, as an interaction between the speaker's physical presence and his friend's physical absence, as it would be staged, the consensus will certainly be that the reestablishment of a connection between the two is only wished for, and we are left with a failed attempt at communication. Such a reading relies on the presence of dichotomies to heighten the sense of the friendship's deterioration: the vocal and silent, the present and absent, desire and the impossibility of fulfillment. It is this last dichotomy, however, that is less a dichotomy than a relationship between counterparts that is in constant flux.
While these fluctuations have been explored to some extent, the spatial arrangement of the play text and its typographical oddities suggest a more complex reading of monologue than any staged version can perhaps allow. Given Pinter's meticulous word choice in all his plays, it is no accident that the importance of each word in monologue is emphasized by the formal arrangement of the text; the lines are constructed not as lines in a typical script but as lines in a poem. Linda Ben-Zvi has given considerable attention to the text, especially regarding variations in verb tense and ratios among various parts of speech, but I propose a reading of monologue that focuses primarily on how ideas of desire and impossibility, as well as uncertainty and resolve, are enacted textually and signaled by repetitions, line breaks, word placement, and typographical setting. Such a reading builds on previous interpretations of monologue by noting more carefully Pinter's formal and syntactical choices, thus considering both craft and thematic implications together in significant detail.
2. Mirrors Stages: Monologues, Split Selves, and a Pineresque Reality by Craig N. Owens, Drake University
Harold Pinter's Nobel Prize acceptance speech, "Art, Truth, and Politics," establishes a firm divide between the truthwork of artistic creation, and that of political representation. For Pinter, in art, the true/untrue binary does not hold, because, it seems, art occupies a liminal or middle space wherein truth-value is always provisional, under erasure, and up for grabs. Art provides a practice by which the presence of truth and the real in the sign is always deconstructed already; the political realities of the world, however, demand that we acknowledge the actual-ness, the metaphysical and transcendental factitude of atrocity, suffering, and injustice. "True," as a term of art for Pinter, emerges as "more than true," to quote Goldberg in The Birthday Party: "It's more than true: it's a fact." A fact, as a thing done, factum, must, for Pinter, always remain "having been done," factum (again), whereas a play, as a thing done and done over, seen and revised, need not.
The medium by which Pinter delivered his address, however, complicates this neat distinction between the presence of political factitude, and the negotiability of representational truth: Unable to attend the award ceremony himself, Pinter delivered his acceptance in absentia by presenting the Nobel committee and its audience a video-recording of his speech, a speech given to the absent other of the camera, to be received by the present other of the audience in the presence of the absent locutor. This attenuation of presences and absences includes the image of the speaking Pinter who sits before an image of a younger Pinter (an image whose presence reminds us of the absence of the Pinter who, had he been awarded the prize at a younger age, might have been able to present himself before an audience now absent). The embeddenesses and deferrals of the previous sentence, in my view, precisely represent the representational difficulties present in any attempt to present a paper on the attenuation of absence through-and-as presence: it's that failure this paper will consider.
3. Harold Pinter and the Transconservative Signifier by Judith Roof, Michigan State University
Many of Harold Pinter's plays feature an absent other whose force and influence are palpable on stage. The Dumb Waiter and The Birthday Party await the appearance of some force identified with the law or the name-of-the-father. The Homecoming arranges itself around the dead mother. Later plays such as One for the Road and Monologue extend the character of this Other to a force that demands love as an aspect of fear (and vice versa). This is not the Sartrean Other, but is rather the canny staging of the subject's negotiation with the drives as itself the matter for theatre. Pinter's plays that manage the absent other are plays that anatomize the ways theatre as a medium works out an interpersonal and intrasubjective dynamic. This resonates as familiar by reproducing the same relation between stage and audience.
This paper will examine the ways Pinter's later work, often read as "political," replicates as stage matter the dynamics of the subject and shows how it is that theatre hosts its layers of parasitic guests whose inclusion repeats the threat and jouissance of intersubjectivity itself.
26. Film II
12:00-1:30 p.m. (New York Central)
(see Session #16 – 10:15-11:45 a.m., Friday)
27. Science and Fiction
12:00-3:45 p.m. (Burlington Route)
Chair: Todd Comer, Defiance College
Secretary: D. Harlan Wilson, Wright State University-Lake Campus
12:00-1:30 p.m. (Burlington Route)
1. "And for His Next Trick, the Experimental Poet will Encode a Poem into DNA": Posthumanist Performativity and Nickelas Johnson's Christian Bök by Maryanne Laurico, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada
With the growing use of biotechnologies for artistic expression, bioartists are interrogating the way we understand what it means to be human. In August, 2008, experimental poet, Christian Bok proposed his "Xenotext Experiment"--a creation of "'living poetry' by using a 'chemical alphabet' to encipher a short, lyric verse into a sequence of DNA, thereafter [the poet will implant] this poem into the genome of a bacterium" (1). Later that same year, Nickelas Johnson published a short graphic novel, "Christian Bok and His Quest to Make a Living Poem," which is a depiction of Bok's career as a poet. In attempting to portray the human behind the bioartist, Johnson's illustrations of Bok's childhood aspirations point to Bok as a culmination of spy, mad scientist, and stage magician: as a spy, Bok takes on a position of a threatening reporter of biotechnology while blurring the boundaries that separate the sciences and humanities; his performance as mad scientist positions his self not only as a non-normative scientist, but as a non-normative poet--the poet who "dabbles" with biotechnology; finally, Bok's performance as a magician underscores the new ways of thinking that the poet can bring about since a magician's illusions defy dominant perceptions of the laws of physics. Johnson's portrayal of Bok suggests that experimental poets who utilize biotechnologies to create new "human" expressions necessarily change the way we understand what it means to be human: with the conflation of poet/geneticist/god, the bioartist gains new power over the all of Earth's life.
2. Posthuman and Post-Story Metamorphosis in Beckett's The Unnamable by Elizabeth Effinger, University of Western Ontario
This paper examines how narrative functions as a kind of biotechnology of the posthuman. Using Samuel Beckett's The Unnameable, which I read as the narration of the posthuman experience, I speculate that to be posthuman means to tell a post-story. The unnameable is necessarily posthuman given its massively amorphous corporeality; it is not dead or pure voice, though perhaps a half-aborted posthuman. I say 'half' aborted, as with so many things in this text are only ever half-done: the narrator, one-legged and one-armed, is only half-deaf, and only half-convinced of that: "I am not deaf, of that I am convinced, that is to say half-convinced" (295). The step of the half, the half-abortion, is arguably a pseudonym here for the kind of posthuman I argue the narrator is. My reading of the posthuman engages with Maurice Blanchot's thoughts in Writing the Disaster about our inability to express death itself, as such, and yet our struggle primarily through language to make death "conceivable". A similar economy operates within the posthuman experience and subjectivity. Pairing the figures of the posthuman and half-abortion brings together this kind of half-step, allowing us to consider both the end of man in the posthuman, and the beginning of man in the half-abortion. Thus, the posthuman is locatable within a half-posthumous, half-abortive space and demonstrates a subjectivity that is always divided and distanced from itself, which coincides with a corporeality of the same quality. The posthuman and its subsequent post-story engage and nuance ontological questions of what it means to think subjectivity without a subject.
3. The Sublime Birth of the Poshuman in Spielberg's AI by Todd Comer, Defiance College
The embodied performances that project humanism are localized within families. Specifically, families teach us how to eat in the literal embodied sense and, more importantly, in the following metaphorical sense: families teach us how to digest the world. Poor, i.e., violent, table manners are fueled by an incessant lack which creates the desire that orients and, concomitantly, creates hungry subjects. This digestive cycle, fueling an engineering of the world into more and more human dimensions, is the essence of humanism. But what happens when humans mass produce an artificial entity which mirrors back to them their humanity?
I use Spielberg's Artificial Intelligence and the writing of Jean-Luc Nancy to argue that posthumanity appears because this digestion has been interrupted. To be Human is to lack, to always drive forward and repress the past, our birth, as we mold the world in our image. However, with cloning and other biotechnologies, this narcissistic creation has been achieved. No more complete mastery of the world is possible than that exemplified by the mastery of the gene code. More importantly, this mastery over birth now leads us to experience our birth in a new way. No longer can we easily assimilate birth and its others and move on. No, birth and its others are all around us and interrupt us as desiring subjects because birth is radically prior to knowledge and irretrievably escapes rational subjectivity.
2:15-3:45 p.m. (Burlington Route)
4. The Evolutionary Posthuman by David Cecchetto, University of Victoria
This presentation considers Ollivier Dyens argument, in Metal and Flesh, that our species' modus operandi--which Dyens believes is the desire to survive and to reproduce--has shifted from the biological register to a cultural one. As he states, "in the cultural environment, we seek out culturally fertile bodies," so that memes have today replaced genes as the primary determinant of evolution. What arises from this perspective, though, is a constitution of "life" that risks tautology: if life is defined, a priori, in terms of evolution, what is really being said when we chart evolving processes outside of the traditional domains of the living as constituting life? I argue that this looming tautology--which Dyens is certainly aware of--constitutes a primary driving force in Dyens' thought, leading him to the necessity of pointing to science as a purveyor of certain measurable truths, even as he retreats from these very claims. Thus, this presentation treats Dyens' understanding of life itself technologically, asking what kind of regulatory apparatus it works in the service of and what constitutions of the posthuman it might foreclose. In short, this presentation asks what privilege there is to scientific knowledge, how this privilege is written into Dyens' posthuman bodies, and what is at stake in this narrative of the posthuman. (Following McLuhan, science is here loosely understood as the realm of unified, testable, and falsifiable objects of study.)
5. City, Noise, and Literary Constructions of the Posthuman by Amanda Davis, The University of Chicago
Questions of what it means to be human have long been bound, in literature and culture, to the modern city--a space and force that uniquely modifies its citizens--and understanding posthumanism today requires understanding this history. Georg Simmel, writing in nineteenth-century Berlin, credits urban spaces with creating a flamboyant new type of individuality. Theodore Dreiser records early twentieth-century Chicago as a force that fundamentally corrupts Sister Carrie's humanity. Sophie Treadwell's play Machinal, premiering in 1928, conceives of New York as a power that represses and ultimately alters Young Woman's interiority. The literary modern city, it seems, is a prosthetic of the modern human--a tool that is both an extension of human characteristics and a modifier of individual capabilities. How does this literary city-prosthetic functionally unite with and alter its human occupants? A close look at the above and other texts suggests that the noises of the city serve as the interface between body and prosthetic, the site of alternately seamless and interrupted integration. These urban texts depict city sounds as penetrating the physical bodies of metropolitans, thus designating soundscapes the interface where borders between citizen and city become permeable and uncertain. This intimate relationship imagines a human in dialectical relationship with cities, shaping and shaped by ever-fluid urban spaces. By recording awareness of this constructed and tenuous state of individuals, these authors consequently turned literature into a space for renegotiating the terms of human construction, terms that twenty-first century authors have inherited.
6. Singularity 3.0: Towards a Synthesis of Imagined Technological Singularities by Gord Sellar, The Catholic University of Korea
The effective transformation of "the Technological Singularity" from speculative thought-experiment and SF trope into consumer product has taken place in less than a generation, spawning groups like the "Singularitarians," "Transhumanists," "Posthumanists," and "Extropians." Vernor Vinge, the originator of the concept has, at least publicly, maintained a degree of agnosticism regarding whether the possibility or desirability of a Technological Singularity. In its most prominent fictional representations (as Singularity 1.0), the Technological Singularity is formulated as incomprehensible (to humans), unimaginably disruptive, and potentially catastrophic or capable of causing human extinction.
Singularity 2.0, the Singularity as commodified product, is generally associated with massively extended lifespans or eternal life, godlike powers, effective biomechanization of bodies or mind-uploading, and radically expanded human control over nature. In many popular works, most prominently those of Ray Kurzweil and Frank J. Tipler, the Singularity is described in terms of relative inevitability and relative benevolence, colored by techno-agnosticism and technophilic optimism.
While it would be simple to dismiss the differences between these two contrasting constructions of the Singularity as resulting from their differing purposes--titillating entertainment versus the creation of a technophilic nonfiction subgenre/industry--analysis of the inherent tensions between these two rhetorical, cultural, and imaginative constructions of the Singularity reveal the trace of an ongoing cultural war about the nature of humanity, our relationship with technology and nature, and the desirability of technological change, but also suggests potential forms of Singularity 3.0, a practical, pragmatic synthesis of the two earlier conceptions of the Singularity.
7. Postautogeddon Bodies and Vehicular Vehicles in Michael Bay's Transformers by D. Harlan Wilson, Wright State University-Lake Campus
Michael Bay's Transformers (2007) fetishizes technology and represents automobiles as "vehicles" of sexuality. The film interweaves two plotlines: the transformers quest for the All-Spark, a device by which mechanical objects are brought to life, and the love relationship between teenage protagonists Sam Witwicky and Mikaela Banes. Despite being aliens/others, the anthropomorphous, English-speaking transformers collectively function as metaphors for human technology and American sociocultural production, and only through the medium of transformers does Sam and Mikaela's relationship bloom. Transformers form a conspicuous binary: the "good" Autobots and the "bad" Decepticons. Throughout the film, Sam's desire oscillates between Mikaela and Bumblebee, the Autobot assigned the role of Sams protector. Like the girl, his turbulent relationship with Bumblebee is romantic and sexualized, calling attention to the constructed, consumer-capitalist nature of masculinity vis-a-vis the car, a distinctly American symbol of male power and identity. Moreover, when Sam and Mikaela finally engage in a proverbial Hollywood guy-gets-girl-in-the-end kiss, it is atop the hood of Bumblebee; the machine serves as their "bed," a literal and figurative erotic vehicle. Transformers belies its popcorn veneer in spite of authorial and directorial intent. The "autogeddon" depicted here reminisces J. G. Ballard's Crash (1973), which eroticizes car crashes or "automutilation." Transformers do likewise as the Autobots repeatedly clash with (i.e. crash into) the Decepticons in an attempt to assert male power and identity (good or bad, they are all depicted as masculine). Ultimately the film illustrates how desire stems from the violent interaction of technocapitalist machinery.
28. Women in Literature
12:00-1:30 p.m. (Missouri Pacific)
Chair: Akhila Ramnarayan, University of Dayton
Topic: The Real Work of Imagining Women: New Directions in Literary Feminism
1. Having to Choose Sides: Competing Resistance Rhetorics in African Feminism by Eve Eisenberg, Indiana University
This essay examines a small pool of African feminist critical thinkers (those represented in the Postcolonial Studies Reader, 2nd ed., edited by Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin) and compares their rhetorical exclusivity with similar rhetoric in some Western first- and second-wave feminist texts. I compare these rhetorical moves as a way of interrogating the problem of how we can resist institutionalized racism and sexism without adopting normative lithmus tests for resistance groups. I also question the practical value of resistance rhetorics that divide potential allies from one another along lines of race, class or gender: do any of us ever identify primarily as our gender, race, or class-status positions, as these resistance rhetorics assume? Or is identity something much more complicated and fluid? By putting recent works of (non-Western) postcolonial feminist criticism into conversation with earlier works of (Western) feminist criticism, this paper commits a conscious act of postmodern anachronism; in the second half of the paper, I re-contextualize these critical conversations to illustrate how these rhetorics participate in the construction of resistance "counterpublics" (an idea I borrow from Lauren Berlant and Michael Warner). By this re-framing, I propose a set of possible answers to the question of rhetorical exclusivity in African feminism, and thus also theorize that current trends in postcolonial feminism may converse usefully with recent developments in queer theory.
2. Iranian Women's Memoirs and Feminist Disability Studies: A Critique of Psychoanalytic Readings of Exile and Immigrant Literature by Aimi Hamraie, Emory University
My paper will argue that the focus on trauma as the "defining subject" of exile memoir studies emphasizes the loss and lack associated with displacement, rather than its creative and cultural possibilities. Drawing from Iranian women's diaspora literature, it will consider the way that bodies configured as "placeless" are reduced to their nostalgic memories, cast as occupying a space that only exists "in limbo" between various national identities. I will focus specifically on psychoanalytic readings of exile literature and their ideologies of "able-bodiedness," intersecting metaphors of disability and exile, and emphasis on trauma and recovery. Then, I will apply critiques of these notions from feminist disability studies and critical trauma studies to examine the political investments and assumptions of psychoanalytic readings, and whether they are beneficial for reading immigrant women's writing. Finally, I will examine the contributions of recent Iranian women's diaspora literature to alternative understandings of nostalgic memory and the experience of displacement.
3. All About Lorca's Mother: Queer of Color Phantasies of Mom by Joshua Takano Chambers-Letson, Wesleyan University
In 2007, the National Asian American Theater Company produced queer, Singapore-American playwright and director Chay Yew's adaptation of Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba with a cast of 24 multi-ethnic Asian American women. This paper contemplates this charge by considering the implications of both the original work and the adaptation as pieces produced by queer men imagining the psychic terrain of the maternal and the nature of feminine desire. The paper reads Yew's adaptation as what Melanie Klein might describe as a "phantasied attack" on the mother, as a means for repairing and working through the complicated feelings that structure many queer of color subjects' relationship to their mothers. Finally, it turns to the performances of the actresses themselves to ask what happens when queer male phantasies of the mother and female desire confront the embodied practices of the women of color performing on stage?
4. That's Why, Like a Fool, I Stand Here: The Wife's Tale Retold in Dark Horse: Walking Down Kolatkar's Lane by Akhila Ramnarayan, University of Dayton
This paper focuses on contemporary dramatist Gowri Ramnarayan's Dark Horse: Walking Down Kolatkar's Lane, an original play in English that creatively re-imagines the life and work of major Indian poet Arun Kolatkar (1931-2004). Ramnarayan intersperses Kolatkar's verse in English with the poems he wrote in his native Marathi, inlaying and offsetting both with an award-winning, live vocal score in several Indian languages and musical genres for the stage. Her play's use of music highlights the syncretic, simultaneous negotiation of multiple languages and dialects including English, in Kolatkar's poetry and in urban India today. It also reflects the postcolonial woman writer's burden as she shuttles between mythic and the modern, religious and secular, language and language, repeatedly traversing the contradictions and contiguities between these fused polarities in her practice. This paper focuses on the play's dramatization of the poem "The Left Half," performed in Marathi original and in English translation in Dark Horse. Its persona Rakhmai, the Hindu god Krishna's consort, is a tragic figure, the resigned wife fated to a life of loneliness and separation from her playboy husband Vitthal (the god Krishna). The paper will argue that Ramnarayan's interweaving of song, lighting, language, and performance for the poem is no mere aesthetic choice; it points to a radical new politics of form that demands a rethinking of such concepts as postcolonial metonymy and syncreticism and a different kind of literary feminist intervention.
29. Class Migration on Popular Television
12:00-1:30 p.m. (Frisco)
Chair: Molly Brost, University of Southern Indiana
1. Televising Recycling: The 00s Remediate Class & Family Critiques from the 80s by Melissa Ames, Eastern Illinois University
This essay argues that the medium of television is an ideal tracker of shifts in class and gender relations, and hence operates as a very useful social archive recording important cultural transformations and values. For example, analyzing the televisual trends of a particular decade can reveal interesting aspects of class consciousness, family structure, and so forth. What is even more interesting is that television programs not only mirror and preserve the cultural climate they were a part of (and played a part in shaping), but that, when historicized, they also showcase cultural patterns--waves of conservative or liberal thought, support for women's liberation or a feminist backlash, capitalistic greed or yuppie guilt--that tend to re-surface every other decade or so. These shifting cultural movements then assist in creating "recycled" programming, nostalgic throwbacks to the televisual yesteryears, and along with those products come their recycled politics. Following the work of Jane Feuer, author of Seeing Through the Eighties: Television and Reaganism, I argue that television programs operate in a "bi-directional model" in which the shows and the cultural movements they are a part of are mutually causing and mutually effecting one another. In this essay I look specifically at two decades of television programming--the 1980s and the 2000s--and the ways in which the shows spawned from these conservative time periods mirror one another in interesting ways and comment on the class mobility and family values present within these epochs.
2. Class Migration and the Formation of Family on The OC and Gossip Girl by Molly Brost, University of Southern Indiana
Since Brandon and Brenda Walsh first made the transition from Minneapolis to Beverly Hills on Beverly Hills, 90210, the teen soap has carried on a tradition of "outsiders" trying to fit into a world of "insiders." Sometimes, the thing that separates that transplant from the world they are trying to infiltrate is a shady past; more often, however, the thing that separates the "outsider" from the "insiders" is money.
Such is the case in both The OC and Gossip Girl. The two series follow the travails of such outsiders as they attempt to fit in among the wealthy: in the case of The OC, transplant Ryan Atwood attempts to fit in among a group of wealthy Orange County teens, while on Gossip Girl, the Humphrey family tries to fit in on New York's Upper East Side. Though Atwood is often at odds with members of his new social circle and the Humphreys often actively resist the pull of the elite, something happens as the two series progress: real families form between Atwood and the Cohens, the wealthy family who literally takes him in, and the Humphreys and the van der Woodsens, an Upper East Side family with whom two members of the Humphrey family have on-again/off-again romantic entanglements. This paper explores how families are formed between classes on the two series, ultimately arguing that on both series, the wealthy characters provide both material security and a sense of belonging for the "outsiders," while the nonwealthy characters provide a moral backbone.
3. OMFGG: Advertising Class Mobility and Ambivalent Spectatorship in the CW's Gossip Girl by Rachel Schneider and Sarah Orem, University of Texas at Austin
Rarely does a television show aim to capitalize on its inadequacies. However, the CW's teen soap Gossip Girl did just that in its 2008 ad campaign promoting the show's 2nd season. Commercials featured text from newspaper reviews which criticized the show as "Very Bad For You" and "A Nasty Piece of Work," highlighting the program's shallowness, moral decrepitude, trampy plotlines, and hackneyed soap-style writing. In short, the raunchy nature of Gossip Girl turned out to be its biggest boon.
These commercials make apparent the unique viewing strategy that the show encourages in its audience: Gossip Girl asks viewers to critique the excesses of the show's upper-class characters while simultaneously lionizing elite Upper East Side privilege through the character of Dan Humphrey. Class in Gossip Girl distinguishes between old and new money, and social presence as registered on the surveillance-based social website Gossip Girl. Characters like Chuck Bass who are "in" the wealthy class still are excluded from important social groups; characters like Dan are "out" of the class but still have critical authority over it.
Gossip Girl encourages its audience to participate in ambivalent spectatorship. Drawing from readings of Immanuel Kant's Critique of Judgment, we argue that the overwhelming nature of the social excess of the Upper East Side on Gossip Girl creates a Kantian sublime, where the subject/outsider is both distanced from and astonished by what s/he sees. Viewers can simultaneously admire and yet be distanced from the excess they see, complicating and problematizing the performance of class migration.
4. The Wealthy World's Dream Come True: How Joss Whedon's The Dollhouse Explores Class Relations and the Secret Wish Fulfillment of the Upper Class by Rachel S. Hawley, Southern Illinois University - Carbondale
In Joss Whedon's newest series, The Dollhouse, the uberwealthy have a new store where they can purchase the one last luxury yet to be marketed--programmable humans. While slavery still exists today in a surly underground, this human-trafficking is quite different in that the "dolls" are imprinted with personalities that allow them to fit in anywhere the client wants to utilize them and do anything the client needs. Though many are used to serve their prurient and deviant needs, we also see dolls being used as bodyguards, back-up dancers, hostage negotiators and masters of law enforcement.
The dolls are unique in that they don't offer any resistance, they are encoded to "blend-in" to their wealthy client's world, but their personalities must be erased at the end of each assignment. Not only that, but they must live without imprint, not even their own personality, while in the Dollhouse.
I propose that this keeps these lower to working class "volunteers" from daring to presume that they can actually fit in to the elite social classes they are trained to infiltrate. Moreover, when in the Dollhouse they are expected to live in beds that are literally buried under the floor where they are locked in under a glass door, on display but unable to leave of their own free will, which symbolizes their relegation to that of property that can be purchased for a price, but cannot ever transcend, completely, into the wealthy and skilled persons they emulate for the Dollhouse's clients.
30. Post-Enlightenment Migrations
12:00-1:30 p.m. (Wabash Cannonball)
1. The Art of Walking: Pilgrimage and Place in Thoreau, Dillard, and Momaday by Matt Low, University of Iowa
Henry David Thoreau opens his long essay "Walking" by exploring the etymology of the word "sauntering," a derivative of the Latin Sainte Terre--meaning Holy Land--a term used in the Middle Ages for those going on a pilgrimage. Thus the term "saunterer" is the one Thoreau prefers to use in describing a person with the "genius" for what he calls the "art of Walking," because this term fully encapsulates his belief that "every walk is a sort of crusade, preached by some Peter the Hermit in us, to go forth and reconquer this Holy Land from the hands of the Infidels" (6). While the allusion to crusades and infidels is problematic, Thoreau does seem to be on to something here in connecting "the art of walking" with making meaning in space and place.
In this paper I will explore precisely how Thoreau uses walking to make meaning himself, as well as how this tradition has been continued by writers like Annie Dillard and N. Scott Momaday. Specifically, I will look at Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and Momaday's The Way to Rainy Mountain as examples of texts that explore the interplay between bodily movement and sacred space. To inform these readings I will incorporate a variety of theoretical texts, including Edmund Husserl's reflections on kinesthetics, Henri Lefebvre's examination of bodily rhythm ("rhythmanalysis"), Michel de Certeau's exploration of "walking rhetorics," and Peter Nabokov's ethnographical studies of modern-day pilgrimages. Such a study will be used to emphasize that place-connectedness does not need to be synonymous with sedentism.
2. The Spectral Mobility of Sound in Eighteenth-Century Gothic Drama: Sound Spectacles in Monk Lewis's The Castle Spectre by Bridget Draxler, University of Iowa
The 1737 Licensing Act established the Lord Chamberlain's absolute power as censor of dramatic literature performed in London. But while literary criticism of this period focuses primarily on visual spectacle (Gillian Russell, William Galperin, Gillen d'Arcy Wood, and Shearer West have all written groundbreaking works on visual romantic spectacle), the Licensing Act itself was actually more directly involved in controlling the sounds than the sights of the theater, as it gave London's two patent theaters a legal monopoly on the spoken word. This presentation explores the effects of dramatic censorship on the movement of sound--both its literal migration between the stage and audience and its conceptual migration between illegitimate and legitimate genres--particularly within the gothic genre and Monk Lewis' The Castle Spectre.
The Gothic genre toes the line between legitimacy and illegitimacy, most significantly in its use of the human voice (the privilege of legitimate drama) as spectacle (the vice of illegitimate drama). But gothic drama's off-stage voices--the screams of a damsel, the groans of a prisoner, the laugh of the villain, the murmurings of a ghost--are what create Gothic drama's spectacular effect. Long before sound recording technology, Lewis' Castle Spectre demonstrates the spectacle of the disembodied voice. Interestingly, the use of sound effects in Lewis' Castle Spectre also uniquely coincides with a destabilization of the performer/spectator divide, as a bidirectional movement of sound grants the audience a deeper sense of agency than unidirectional visual spectacles afford. The success of gothic drama's bidirectional and disembodied movement of sound between the stage and audience, then, contributed to its successful migration from illegitimate to legitimate theaters in eighteenth-century London.
3. Sympathy and Masking in Childe Harold's Pilgrimage by Theresa Adams, Westminister College
During the eighteenth century in Britain, philosophers such as David Hume and Adam Smith argued that feelings migrate between a person experiencing emotions, and a spectator observing them. As Hume writes in A Treatise of Human Nature, "I become aware of the passion of another by observing its manifestations in his or her behavior." Then I have an idea of it, which becomes an impression, which allows me to have "the very passion" myself. Thus sympathy is a mechanism that allows emotions to migrate. The poetry of sensibility, which flourished during the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries, gave this mechanism literary form, allowing readers to experience representations of others' feelings through descriptions of bodies weeping, blushing, and fainting, and giving readers a means of experiencing "the very passion" themselves.
In this paper, I revisit the enlightenment model of sympathy as a key context for understanding Byron's handling of emotion in Cantos I and II of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. Byron revises the enlightenment model by presenting his protagonist Harold as a character whose body and face are not expressive, and whose emotions are, as a result, masked. Since spectators cannot see the evidence of feeling on the body, the sympathetic mechanism should not operate, and they should not feel Harold's feelings. However, Byron steps in to tell readers what we cannot see--the "sullen tear" that never leaves Harold's eye, for example--and therefore exists in relation to Harold as spectator to spectacle in enlightenment accounts of sympathy. By occupying a middle ground between Harold and the reader, Byron shifts our focus from Harold to himself, allowing the reader to enter into a sympathetic relation with the poet that echoes the poet's relation to Harold. This relation is further strengthened by Byron's insistence that feeling is not legible on bodies, but must be unmasked through language, which represents what cannot be seen. This allows Byron to re-imagine reading, not seeing, as the sympathetic mechanism: the way in which we know and feel another's feelings. This revision to the enlightenment model of sympathy was well-adapted to the changing conditions of the literary marketplace during the Romantic period, and explains Byron's contemporaries' sense of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage as something altogether new, as well as the poem's extraordinary popularity.
4. Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments as Literary Theory by Michael Mattek, University of Wisconsin-Washington County
Most people think of Adam Smith as the conservative economist who promoted capitalism un-tethered by social concerns, where an invisible hand would miraculously distribute goods and services in the most efficient manner possible, resulting in the greatest possible economic activity, and greatest personal happiness. Unfortunately, these notions are not consistent with Smith's moral philosophy.
Smith's entire theory of economics is built upon his earlier exploration of "virtue" as discussed in his Theory of Moral Sentiments, which in 2009 celebrates its 250th anniversary since its publication in 1759. In this work, which Smith considered to be his most important, he argues that the smooth operation of society requires that we act as if we are being judged by an impartial spectator. To be considered virtuous, one must go beyond acting from prudence (self-preservation) or approbation (acting according a rational analysis of a situation); instead, one must act out of benevolence, extending oneself for the good of others. If one does so, then the impartial spectator would judge one's actions as praiseworthy, and it is the desire for praise, more than even the impulse to buy, barter, or trade, that drives human actions.
In my presentation, I show how Smith's theory can be used to enhance one's reading of literature, and how literature can be used to illustrate Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments. Specifically, I show that in Jane Austen's Emma, Knightley acts as the impartial spectator to re-establish the web of social benevolence when Emma verbally abuses the unsuspecting Miss Bates. I then show how the reader can be enlisted to take on this role of the impartial spectator in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. When the creature's early acts of benevolence are met with condemnation rather than with praise (simply because of his physical appearance), the reader shares the same outrage as that suffered by the creature. As such, the reader plays the role of the impartial spectator, judging not the creature, but those who have acted unjustly.
In the end, Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments accomplishes the most important function of literary theory: to enhance the reading experience. When Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments migrates from philosophy to literary studies, both disciplines benefit.
31. Women’s Caucus for the Modern Languages/Midwest Business Meeting
12:00-1:30 p.m (Grand Hall Meeting Room III)
32. American Literature II
12:30-2:00 p.m (Meteor)
Topic: Marriage and Family in American Literature II after 1870
Chair: Rynetta Davis, University of Kentucky
Secretary: Kathy Glass, Duquesne University
1. Falling Men, Falling Women: Don DeLillo's Political Marriages by Jesse Kavadlo, Maryville University
With his career interest in terrorists, New York, and disaster, Don DeLillo seems to have been writing about 9/11 for decades, even if he and his readers didn't know it. His most recent novel, Falling Man, however, is, like his previous novels Mao II and Underworld, a political novel, tackling the attacks and aftermath of September 11, 2001. Yet in many ways,Falling Man, in its story arc and style, reverses the emphasis on systems and secrecy that had previously been the hallmarks of his work. Instead, Falling Man revolves around the attempted reconciliation of Keith and Lianne, and the ways in which seemingly global phenomena affect them personally, as individuals and as a couple. By focusing on this fragile marriage, DeLillo allows the reader to contemplate the unfathomable, yet at the same time he emphasizes the everyday aspects of catastrophe, through his stream of consciousness style and elevation of personal, subjective experience and language. In the end, this presentation will argue that Falling Manis not primarily concerned with politics, 9/11, or terrorism, details of the book and its reception to the contrary; rather, it is about the ways in which the most basic elements of storytelling--character, plot, and language--become epistemologically entangled--married, as it were--to falls of all kinds: the fall of the Towers and the people who fell from the Towers, of course, but also the way in which the collapse of Keith and Lianne's marriage is itself a fall of equal magnitude.
2. Confines and Colors: Keys to Edna Pontellier's Demise in Chopin's The Awakening by Erin O'Grady, Texas A & M University - Commerce
Kate Chopin's The Awakening has one of the more troubling and debatable endings in literature. Does Edna die a hero's death, or does she give up? She presses against the boundaries of society, but does she succeed in breaking through? Many theories have been put forth on this subject, but I believe I have found a new way to approach it. In this paper I analyze the use of color, particularly of the color white, which is used much more than any other. It is not an accident that Chopin used white as often as she did, and if one pays attention to it, it becomes an important symbol. Indeed, after carefully considering this symbol's usage, the ambiguous ending takes on a different interpretation. I believe that the color white symbolizes society and the societal pressures Edna faces and after analyzing this symbol, I now see her death as a suicide. I see her as giving up or, more accurately, giving in. The color white never left her, or she it, and she did not break through the boundaries she was pressing against. Even in her relationships with Arobin and Robert, her extra-marital lover and love respectively, it was present. In the end, she chose to let it defeat her.
33. Creative Writing I: Poetry
12:30-2:00 p.m (Zephyr Rocket)
Chair: Martha Modena Vertreace-Doody, Kennedy-King College
Topic: Historical Context of Creativity
1. Poems from Dead Metaphor by Heidi K. Czerwiec, University of North Dakota
I am reading from my second poetry manuscript, Dead Metaphor, which engages with the idea of the human corpse as artistic subject, and the various strong cultural and personal reactions to the physical reality of the corpse. To write the poems in this collection, I did extensive research in various disciplines including medicine, mortuary science, history, anthropology, art, and popular culture. The tone of these poems ranges from meditative to angry to wry, sometimes within the same poem. I hope I have achieved my aim of exploring this subject with compassion, and without morbidity or sensationalism.
In general, I write lyric poetry in a larger cultural context. My projects involve wide research into the various aspects of the topic I am pursuing (the ambiguities of language, the role of the human corpse, the sadomasochistic/disciplinary aspects of writing formal poetry), which I interpret and imaginatively expand. The result is a manuscript that makes a researched, often rhetorical argument, but in poetic form. In this manner, I write poetry that, while lyric, is not insular and self-referential, and therefore is capable of communicating with a larger audience.
2. The Road to Ubar: Creative Process as Dislocation by Glenn Freeman, Cornell College
The creative process as I see it is about mapping the intersections between physical, emotional, and intellectual journeys. I write to map physical, psychic, and cultural landscapes. This process by its very nature is a kind of travel, a willful drifting, moving across terrain to seek out those places where the inner and outer worlds meet and reflect the other. The journey itself is long and tortuous, never knowing where in time or space we are headed to find those intersections. That is, I see creative process as a kind of purposeful dislocation or exile. The challenge, then, is to condense the journey, the language, so that the process is distilled for the reader in a way that allows the reader that same journey. I don't want to report on my travels but to enact them for a reader, to allow the reader his or her own discoveries and connections.
3. The Journey Itself: Process and the Movement in Poetic Practice by Gregory J. Dunne, University of Missouri-Columbia
The writing of poetry, the process of writing, usually, if we are lucky, takes us on a journey that moves us through time and often beyond the limitations of personal experience into a larger world that touches upon the historical. The process of writing is a journey, as our lives are. My poetry collection Home Test, out with Adastra Press in 2009, uses, as an opening epigraph, the words of the great Japanese poet Masuo Basho who late in life set out on an arduous physical journey to explore the remoter regions of Japan. The epigraph is emblematic of what I am trying to do in my book, which is to test the boundaries of "home." While traveling he wrote both prose and poetry--no doubt, much of it revised later prior to publication. The point is he understood the process of writing as a journey, a means of transport, and he embodied that through his physically traveling through Japan and composing as he went along. As writers, as poets, placing ourselves in this position in which home itself is defined as journey strikes me as immensely generative. In my presentation, I will read poems from my book Home Test and attempt in the discussion to articulate the way in which the process of writing and this approach to writing has led me to journey beyond personal experience into poetry that makes contact with historical contexts.
4. Elizabeth Caldwell Duncan: The War Years by Martha Modena Vertreace-Doody, Kennedy-King College
For some time, I have been researching the life of Elizabeth Caldwell Duncan, wife of the sixth governor of Illinois, based on the Diary of Mrs. Joseph Duncan, edited by her granddaughter, Elizabeth Duncan Putnam, which the Illinois State Historical Society published in its journal, Volume 21, No. 1, April 1928. I have had access to many documents and letters germane to my research through the kindness of the Daughters of the American Revolution, who own the Duncan house in Jacksonville as well as through various museums and libraries throughout the Midwest. The poems which I will read are from my unpublished collection of poems, entitled In This Glad Hour, which spring from that research. While accurately reflecting the life of Elizabeth Caldwell Duncan, at the same time the poems allow me to take a creative slant, placing her in situations consistent with her history. Because so many of the family papers were lost in the Great Chicago Fire, I have used an approach similar to creative nonfiction in writing the poems, treating her as a character as much as an historic personage.
34. English II: English Literature 1800-1900
12:30-2:00 p.m (Dixie Flyer)
Topic: Romantic Cross-Pollinations
Chair: Onita Vaz-Hooper, Davidson College
Secretary: Elizabeth Anderman, University of Colorado-Boulder
1. The eye of Glorvina met mine: Vision, Gender, and Imperialism in The Wild Irish Girl by Stacey L. Kikendall, University of New Mexico-Albuquerque
Several critics have discussed imperialism and, often separately, gender within The Wild Irish Girl, however (besides a few passing references) none have specifically analyzed how vision and the gaze work within and against these power structures within the novel. In this paper, I am going to focus on how Sydney Owenson in The Wild Irish Girl (1806) uses vision as a way to subvert traditional power stratifications in regards to gender and imperialism. She initially demonstrates how the male imperial gaze interprets and objectifies Ireland and the colonial female other. The protagonist Horatio begins as a voyeur of the landscape of Ireland and the body and space of Glorvina, the wild Irish girl of the title. But by giving Glorvina a gaze in return, Owenson also gives the colonized female a subjectivity of her own. In fact, Glorvina at times becomes the more powerful subject, as her gaze frightens Horatio--first with his dream of her being a Gorgon and later with her potential evil eye. Ultimately, though, it is the exchange of looks (this process/relation that Kaplan describes) that breaks down the boundaries of power and allows for a kind of reciprocity and hybridity.
2. Authenticity, Aestheticism, and the Corruptions of Modernity: George Gissing's By the Ionian Sea by Kevin Swafford, Bradley University
Despite the fact that his work has been situated primarily within the grand realist tradition of the 19th century, George Gissing was, in many ways, an aesthete, who tended to view life aesthetically. Indeed, implicit concepts (Classicist and Romantic) of the beautiful and the sublime were at the core of Gissing's narrative practice. Gissing's overarching critique of urban life in late-Victorian Britain was grounded primarily in an aesthete's revulsion of the cultural debasements associated with advanced industrial society. In this, Gissing was very much connected with the anti-industrial Romanticism of the 19th century.
In By the Ionian Sea Gissing implies that modernity is a corrupting and destructive reality in relation to "authentic" culture (which stands in opposition to mass social homogenizing processes) by way of an aesthetic search for environments, customs, and social practices that have remained outside of modernity's reach. It is "Magna Graecia," generally discarded by 19th century tourists, that holds the promise for Gissing of offering the experience of cultural authenticity in everyday life.
And yet, in Gissing's quest for the experience of authenticity, we discover that the fulfillment of his desire is always somehow displaced, frustrated, mutated, and mediated by the problematic relationship between his idealism and the excesses and unpredictability of everyday life encountered in those realms beyond modernity that draw him. Ultimately, this paper maps the ways in which Gissing's beautifully written travel narrative By the Ionian Sea is a coda of aesthetic/Romantic anti-industrialism/modernity.
3. Thomas De Quincey, Knight-Errant: The Influence of Don Quixote upon the Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, and other Major Texts of the De Quincey Canon by Jonas Cope, University of Missouri
We know De Quincey read and admired the Quixote. His works reference it, and he even authors his own Spanish picaresque tale. More than any other romantic autobiographer, he writes about himself as a literary character, having learned nothing (according to one critic) that he did not first read in books. Don Quixote is one of the characters he "plays" in his Confessions, which describe how he flees school, lives a peripatetic life and battles against the most insidious of "enchanters," opium. Similar to Quixote, De Quincey casts himself as a confident, promethean idealist (he insists that he is nearly all intellect) destined to battle a variety of purely (in his case) physical antagonists, e.g., opium and nervous agitation. What he omits, however, is the intellectual anxiety that, as I argue, is the real point of his work(s). He may preach against what Schiller calls one-sidedness, indicting Wordsworth, for instance, as a prime example of the one-sided man of letters, but his own writings testify to a personal sense of insufficiency and lopsidedness as an intellectual. In the Confessions and throughout his oeuvre, De Quincey perpetually (and quixotically) masks and romanticizes this lamentable one-sidedness of his, and so avoids directly addressing it.
35. Shakespeare and Shakespearean Criticism
12:30-2:00 p.m. (Knickerbocker)
Topic: Skakespearean Movement & Migration
Chair: Don Hedrick, Kansas State University
1. Tracing Hamlet in Slings and Arrows: The Shadow of Paternal Authority in Adaptation by L. Monique Pittman, Andrews University
2. Mysterious Migrations: The Triumph of Reason in The Phoenix and the Turtle by Heather G.S. Johnson, Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville
3. A Face "begrimed and black": Othello, Desdemona, and the Black Body by Vanessa Corredera, Northwestern University
4. Post post haste: Early Modern Drama and Speed by Kara Northway, Kansas State University
36. Mapping Out Movement in Katherine Anne Porter's Stories
12:30-2:00 p.m (Midnight Special)
Chair: Varsha Balachandran, University of Akron
1. The Shifting Sands of Time and Location in Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Wayne McDonald, University of Akron
Katherine Anne Porter bends history in "Pale Horse, Pale Rider". Despite often being praised for its historicity, Porter's story distorts both time and location through the anachronistically inserted and misplaced Lusk Committee--the Joint Legislative Committee to Investigate Seditious Activities. Through her use of the post-war Lusk Committee, Porter sets her story in a world caught in between time and space--just as the character Miranda who will suffer a similar fate, straddling both the worlds of the mental and the physical, as well as the living and the dead, while suffering from the Spanish Influenza outbreak that would kill millions.
By the inclusion of the Committee, Porter simultaneously seems to set the story in a certain time, while also managing to give that time a hazy, slightly unreal feel. Porter also does this to the story's setting. Repeatedly she tells the reader that the story takes place in or around Denver, Colorado, yet there are numerous allusions that lead the reader farther east, to the metropolises of the Atlantic seaboard with her inclusions of "limousines and pushcarts", of jazz orchestras and theaters. There are all night drugstores, twenty-four hour restaurants and streets teeming with soldiers waiting to be shipped off to the war.
It is through the use of this shifting location and time that Porter is able to set the story in a historical present, yet manages to fictionalize other elements so the reader ends up not entirely sure just how real the world they have entered is.
2. Sophia Jane from Katherine Anne Porter's Miranda Stories: Pushing the Boundaries of the 19th Century Southern Woman by Rachel Vaughan-Millican, University of Akron
In her "Miranda stories," Katherine Anne Porter has written us a world filled with a multitude of unforgettable female characters, and much has been written on them. A good amount of writing has focused on the feminine gender and whether the female characters embody or rebel against the patriarchal society's defined place for women. The character of Sophia Jane is an amalgam of sorts because she takes on both male and female gender roles. Some articles have suggested that, despite doing this double-gendered duty, she is still ultimately submitting to the patriarchy. However, I would suggest that when comparing Sophia Jane's life to the instructional and popular reading material found in magazines, articles, and newspapers from the 19th century America that she inhabited, it becomes clear that Sophia Jane overlooks the path set before her and instead chooses to make her own. She rebels and comes to embody an almost androgynous gender that is feminine in appearance but decidedly masculine in actions and thoughts. Throughout her lifetime, she becomes both mother and father, breadwinner and homemaker to her family, and she succeeds where the men around her have failed. Exploring the juxtaposition of Sophia Jane's character to actual women and descriptions of the feminine ideal from the 19th century clearly shows her disregarding the patriarchal order around her.
3. The Career of Death: Katherine Anne Porter's Journey from Flowering Judas to Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Varsha Balachandran, University of Akron
Critics of Katherine Anne Porter have long observed that many of her works are a direct reflection of the period she lived in, revealing her perceptions of it. "Pale Horse, Pale Rider" is one such semi-autobiographical story in which she recollects her near-death battle with the Spanish Influenza virus in the late 19-teens. However, we have reason to believe that the thoughts and perceptions represented in this story do not belong to Porter in early the 1920s, when she began writing "Pale Horse, Pale Rider," but to Porter in the late 1930s, when she allegedly completed this story. Soon after her bout with Influenza, she traveled to Mexico in 1920 to take part in the Leftist Revolution. Between 1920 and 1937, she published several short stories, almost all based on Mexico. While the earlier stories voice her promise and hope in the Obregon presidency of the period, the later works present images of disillusionment regarding the Mexican situation. "Flowering Judas," published in 1930, perhaps best captures this disillusionment in the final dream scene of the story, in which the protagonist, Laura finds herself guilty for Eugenio's death. However, "Pale Horse, Pale Rider," which came only seven years later, presents a different perception of death. Here, the protagonist, instead of being guilty, is relieved by the idea of death. This paper offers an explanation to these contrasting perceptions of death in these stories by unraveling the historical context of "Flowering Judas" and extending this into "Pale Horse, Pale Rider."
37. Migrating Hearts: Literature on Lovers from Different Locations
12:30-2:00 p.m (Jeffersonian)
(see Session #20 – 10:15 a.m., Friday)
38. African American Literature
2:15-3:45 p.m. (Meteor)
(see Session # 4 – 8:30 a.m., Friday)
39. Comparative Literature
2:15-3:45 p.m. (Dixie Flyer)
(see Session #7 – 8:30 a.m., Friday)
40. French III
2:15-3:45 p.m. (Wabash Cannonball)
Topic: Frontières réeles ou imaginées: Les défis de l'espace migratoire
Chair: Marina Calas, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
1. L'espace migratoire transnational: Marriage as the Ultimate Migratory Boundary by Fawn Wilderson-Legros, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
In this paper I will interrogate several postcolonial filmic and literary representations "l'espace migratoire transnational" as it is experienced by married, versus unmarried, men of African descent who have travelled to the French metropole in search of work and/or education. Not only does this paper delve into the rupture of identity that often occurs at the intersection where the postcolonial < African > man collides with the experience of immigration and/or exile, it also explores the degrees to which social constructions of race, ethnicity and male identity fight--or foster--the immigrant/exiles transition to his new--if temporary--home. Going further, I then juxtapose these literary and filmic representations against the real-life experience of the late 20th-century Cuban-French clown, 'Chocolat', who rode the colliding waves of 19th-century racially constructed stereotypes to fabricate a new personae--if not personality--for himself in France. Literary and filmic works examined in this context include: Le docker noir by Ousmane Sembene, Le Petit Prince de Belleville by Calixthe Beyala and Le Gone du Chaaba by Azouz Begag. I will also examine several films by African film-makers, including "Vivre au Paradis" by Bourlem Guerdjou, "L'Afrance," by Alain Gomis and "Salut Cousin" by Merzak Allouache.
2. Une Zone de Fracture: Les espaces liminaux dans Les Cannibales de Mahi Binebine by Sarah Boardman, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
3. On leur avait promis monts et merveilles…L'épopée des 'brûleurs de frontières' by Marina Calas, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
41. Popular Culture
2:15-3:45 p.m. (Midnight Special)
Topic: The Post-Human
Chair: Susan J. Wolfe, University of South Dakota
Secretary: Lee Ann Roripaugh, University of South Dakota
1. Embracing Limitations: Posthuman Authorship in Computer Role-Playing Games by Matthew S.S. Johnson, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
In "Embracing Limitations," I argue that in negotiating the multiple and often conflicting identities intrinsically required by narrative gameplay, the gamer's adoption of the role of author of the particular game narrative is problematized, but finally strengthened. It is the authorial identity that allows gamers to experience the pleasure that immersive role-playing offers. Where technological enhancements are often seen as liberating in the posthuman--that is, they may enable perspectives not otherwise accessible, often in conjunction with abandoning or replacing to some extent the physical body--the very limitations imposed by electronic games inspires creative authorship (not unlike the restrictive sonnet form inspiring poetic creativity): for instance, when compelled (by game designers, programming parameters, and/or the restrictive-yet-necessary game rules) to act or speak in a manner uncharacteristic of their virtually embodied personae, gamers compose in their own minds justifications and motivations for their player-characters to resolve incongruities created by (initially) undesired narrative events. In essence, authorship can merge--or at least organize--the posthuman's "distributed cognition located in disparate parts that may be in only tenuous communication with one another." Ultimately, enjoyable (successful) role-play depends upon this act of negotiation.
2. Margaret Atwood's Oryx & Crake: The Unimaginable Posthuman by Nick Chuca, University of Cincinnati
Margaret Atwood's Oryx & Crake Atwood presents a futuristic world through the eyes of Snowman, the only normal human survivor of a global viral apocalypse, and caretaker to a small tribe of childlike genetically engineered humanoids called "Crakers." The novel follows Snowman's attempts to reconstruct and understand the events leading to the apocalypse, while also struggling to survive in a hostile post-apocalypse environment. Oryx & Crake questions our ability to imagine a "posthuman" future. Atwood frames her text in the tropes of apocalyptic science fiction, but her use of these tropes foregrounds our inability to imagine futures that are radically different from the present, that are truly "posthuman." In my essay I will explore the interplay of tropes of apocalypse and dystopia with biblical origin stories, in particular Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and Moses, in Snowman's attempts to find meaning in and after the apocalypse. Drawing on Frederic Jameson's work on the political potential of science fiction and Erin Runions' on the Bible and apocalypse in popular culture, I argue that turning to familiar figurations when confronted with the incomprehensibly new forecloses the possibility of moving beyond the present, making the "posthuman" only a critique of the present.
3. Thirding Creation: Elaine and Diaspora in Lucifer by Katherine Polak, University of Cincinnati
Conceptualization of a spatialization of trauma and creation is particularly provocative in light of Homi Bhabha's identification of traumatic moments of apprehension coupled with the pedagogical and performative enunciations of national identity. The construction of national identity connects to traumatic moments of creation, in that another dimension of identity is layered upon the already-immanent ruptures between identities as they abut and depart from one another. That spectatorship can freeze one in the moment of trauma is important to the idea that creation can in some sense be traumatic, as witnessing the beginning of something, rather than simply being thrust in media res, points towards an eschatology which may be unspoken, but nonetheless seems to be present in the seed of the logos, or simply, a beginning implies an end. In the comic series Lucifer, Lucifer creates another alternative creation alongside of YHWH's, but eventually, a third creation is produced by Elaine, who was once human, but has now become akin to God. While she is literally blinded by power, rather than "continuing blindly along," she chooses instead to "feel" her way through continued acts of creation, a term which denotes some sensibility to the actual lives of the inhabitants of that creation. More importantly, the enunciative act which finally allows her to depart from her own creation is the act of inscribing her human name on that space.
4. The Post-human as Simulacrum in The Dollhouse by Susan J. Wolfe and Lee Ann Roripaugh, University of South Dakota; Courtney Wika, Black Hills State University
"In the posthuman," according to N. Katherine Hayles, "there are no essential differences or absolute demarcations between bodily existence and computer simulation, cybernetic mechanism and biological organism, robot teleology and human goals" (3). Donna Haraway further asserts that the post-human era has already arrived since "machines [have] made thoroughly ambiguous the differences between natural and artificial, mind and body, self-developing and externally designed" (194). In his newest television series, The Dollhouse, Josh Whedon explores the ambiguity between the natural and the mechanical; the Dollhouse is an organization which mind-wipes individuals in order to install recorded programs that provide each "doll" with a series of identities for hire. The tapes install new personalities, behaviors, and skills. In the hiatus between "assignments," a doll is simple and childlike. The premises of Whedon's series are that the mind is merely brain, and that postmodern consumers prefer simulacra over real, unpredictable humans.
42. Science and Fiction
2:15-3:34 p.m (Burlington Route)
(See Session #27 – 12:00 p.m., Friday)
43. Spanish I: Peninsular Literature Before 1700
2:15-3:45 p.m. (Frisco)
(see Session #18 – 10:15-11:45 a.m., Friday)
44. Genre Migration in Antebellum Popular Print Culture
2:15-3:45 p.m. (Knickerbocker)
Chair: Timothy Helwig, Western Illinois University
1. From Serialization to Publication: The Uncanny Migration of Nativism in the Writings of George Lippard by Timothy Helwig, Western Illinois University
Although it is well known that effective working-class solidarity did not emerge during the antebellum period that was marked by profound sectional strife over the question of slavery, numerous labor leaders and working-class advocates employed the complex, and at times, contradictory discourses of nativism, artisan republicanism, and anti-slavery sentiment to critique the upper, "non-producing" classes. In Philadelphia, the site of the infamous nativist riots of 1844 between Irish Catholic immigrants and native-born Protestants in the Kensington and Southwark districts, popular city-mystery writer and working-class agitator George Lippard attempted to forge a working-class alliance that crossed racial, ethnic, and sectarian lines. In December 1848, Lippard founded his weekly story paper, Quaker City Weekly, in which he serialized his own sensational fiction, discoursed on the plight of "wage slaves," and promoted an end to sectarianism and ethnic strife. This paper will interrogate how the anti-sectarian impulses and racial ambivalence of his serialized city-mystery The Empire City (1849-1850) and his other polemical newspaper writings, in fact, give way to nativist conspiracy theory and racial sympathy in his novel New York: Its Upper Ten and Lower Million (1853), a dramatic revision of The Empire City. What role do the genre conventions of serialized versus compiled novels play in Lippard's varied use of nativism and anti-slavery discourse to express working-class protest? And, what role, if any, did H. M. Rulison's Queen City Publishing, the publishing house that released New York and that was based in the nativist hotbed of Cincinnati, play in shaping Lippard's last novel?
2. From City Intelligence to City Mysteries: George Lippard and the Social Context of Crime by Carl Ostrowski, Middle Tennessee State University
This essay explores the migration of conventions associated with writing about crime in the United States from the penny paper to the novel by exploring the work of one author who worked in both genres: Philadelphia journalist-turned-novelist George Lippard. Lippard's early 1840s journalism, which has recently been made available online by UCLA scholar Christopher Looby, is of particular interest because it reflects innovations in the way crime was conceptualized in the penny paper. Lippard carried this new conception of crime into the city-mysteries novel, a form that he pioneered in the U.S.
Besides Lippard's newly available journalism, a principal source for this essay is the crime reporting in James Gordon Bennett's New York Herald, the most popular penny paper of the 1840s. The Herald reports present a standard of crime reporting against which Lippard's experimentation can be measured. In the City Intelligence columns of the Herald, crime is represented as the isolated acts of depraved individuals. Criminals are shown cycling through the justice system, from apprehension to trial, in a comforting narrative of deviance punished. Lippard's City Police reports in Philadelphia's Spirit of the Times initially followed this lead, mocking the criminals and applauding their incarceration. But Lippard soon broadened his journalistic focus to include the social context of crime, in effect expanding the definition of criminal behavior to encompass white-collar crime as well as petty theft or acts of violence. He began to extend sympathy toward working-class criminals, pointing to the extenuating circumstances (poverty, hunger) in which their acts should be assessed. This socially progressive conception of crime, which had its roots in Philadelphia's tradition of labor activism, carries forward into Lippard's first novel, The Quaker City: or, The Monks of Monk Hall. Whereas many commentators have noted the ideological progressivism of Lippard's novels, its foundation in his work as a journalist has not previously been examined.
3. Hawthorne v. Buntline: Representing the 'Jewess" in Antebellum Literature by David Anthony, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
This paper examines the representational strategies deployed by two very different authors--Ned Buntline and Nathaniel Hawthorne--in depicting what was apparently a figure of shared fascination: the female Jew (or "Jewess," as nineteenth-century American culture often put it). Looking at Hawthorne's The Marble Faun (1860) and a variety of novels by Buntline, including Miriam, or the Jew's Daughter (1860s); Agnes; or, the beautiful milliner (1860s); and Rose Seymour; or, the Ballet Girl's Revenge. A Tale of New York Drama (1865), I suggest two things: first, that the Jewess acted as convenient figure of excess, onto whom a variety of anxieties about sexual and economic passion were projected; second, that by comparing the Jewess as per Hawthorne and Buntline, we can see a kind of overlapping contact zone of "genre migration" (the topic of this panel), one wherein highbrow romance (Hawthorne) and pulpy lowbrow sensationalism (Buntline) intersect and inform one another.
To speak more generally, this paper is part of a larger study of what I term the "sensational Jew" in antebellum America. Perhaps not surprisingly, the sensational Jew is most often deployed in the guise of Shylock, the Jewish usurer from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. Here what we see is that, especially in the wake of the Panics of 1837 and 1857, it is the Shylock character who has stolen the nation's missing gold bullion, and who is thus the scapegoat for the nation's economic woes. But I want to discuss in this paper how a range of antebellum writers provide readers with a fantasy form of return "theft" against the Shylock figure, this in the oft-repeated narrative in which a Gentile male (usually a white-collar professional) seduces the Shylock character's daughter and manages thereby to re-appropriate the money Shylock has reputedly stolen from Gentile capitalist culture. Distant cousins of the Jessica narrative in The Merchant of Venice, in which Shylock's daughter, having stolen her father's ducats and jewels, elopes with the Christian Lorenzo, these sensational stories appear throughout the antebellum period, and are important in two ways: first, they suggest at least one of the strategies by which the Gentile male might balance accounts, as it were, and regain the forms of economic potency and manhood that have been stolen away and hoarded by the sensational Jew. Simultaneously, these updated Jessica stories suggest how the otherwise problematic and alien forms of passion and desire housed in the Jew might be "converted," as it were, and smuggled back into the capitalist world of Gentile culture in less threatening form. I am suggesting that both of these issues are at stake in the above works by Hawthorne and Buntline. Further, I am suggesting that by comparing these two writers in terms of the respective genres they inhabit, we can see a much-trafficked space that existed in between dime novel sensationalism and highbrow literature during this period.
45. The Mezzuzah and the Mestizaje: Jewish Latin America
2:15-3:45 p.m. (Jeffersonian)
Chair: Lynne Flora Margolies, Manchester College
1. Crossing Borders and Mystical Crossings: Mysticism and Cultural Hybridity in the Writing of Angelina Muñiz-Huberman by Rebecca Marquis, Dickinson College
The field of Jewish Latin American women's writing is still a relatively new field that is has been developing beyond the initial burst of anthologies and translations that brought attention to this unique literature that often crosses languages, nationalities and religious beliefs to an English-speaking audience. Critics such as Edna Aizenberg, Nora Glickman and Naomi Lindstrom have encouraged scholars to move beyond the traditional borders of disciplines to combine approaches from Latin American and Judaic studies. This crossing of scholarly borders coincides nicely with the issues of identity formation and diaspora literature that often permeate these works, thus positioning critics themselves as immigrants in a new hybrid field. In this paper, I will examine such border crossings in the work of a Mexican author and medievalist, Angelina-Muniz Huberman. For this paper, I will examine Huerto cerrado, huerto sellado, Morada interior and Dulcinea encantada. This paper explores the intersection of Jewish and Christian mysticism in the writing of Muniz-Huberman as a discourse that probes the articulation of identity in the Jewish diaspora. Muniz-Huberman's own experience as the daughter of exiled Spaniards and crypto-Jew inform her writing through references to Kabbalah and the writings of Saint Teresa. I will consider how the primary project of mysticism--the attempt to articulate the ineffable--can serve to represent the secular project of self-representation within the diaspora. Both Christian and Jewish mystical traditions overlap and diverge in ways that allow Muniz-Huberman's narrators to locate themselves within a uniquely Hispanic historic and cultural tradition in which crossing borders was part of survival. Ultimately, these texts incorporate mysticism as a way to question authority through creating a relationship between the secular and the divine that articulates diaspora as a discourse of empowerment and agency.
2. Foundational Fiction and Jewish Identity in Jorge Isaacs' María by Julia C. Paulk, Marquette University
Doris Sommer's landmark study of Latin American literature, Foundational Fictions, claims Jorge Isaacs' novel Maria as a foundational fiction because of its tremendous popularity, allegorical structure, and proposal of mestizaje as the solution for Colombia's political and social divisions. In a recent study, Gustavo Faveron Patriau calls Sommer's interpretation into question by proposing that Isaacs's novel does not propose mestizaje but rather is a novel of exile and diaspora. Like his Jewish forefathers, Efrain, the protagonist, continues the search for a homeland at the conclusion of the novel. In this paper, I propose to evaluate Faveron Patriau's critique of Sommer's analysis in light of recent developments in postcolonial and Latin American Jewish Studies. Rather than discount Sommer's enormous contribution to the study of nineteenth-century Latin American literature as overdetermined, we can take this opportunity to further define the concepts of foundational fiction and mestizaje with respect to Jewish identity in Latin American literature.
3. Have You Heard the One About?: Memory and Misogyny in Ana María Shua's Cabras Mujeres, y Mulas by Lynne Flora Margolies, Manchester College
In the introduction to her Cabras, Mujeres, y Mulas; antologia del odio/medio a la mujer, Ana Maria Shua tells us that the works collected in this book reveal an attitude that is clearly and often violently anti-woman. The book is a compilation of legends refrains ,songs, jokes, short stories, and poems that, as the author tells us, serve "a didactic function and demonstrate that women are malignant in many different ways." In her article, La misoginia itinerante en la tradicion oral, Gisela Heffes explains how this anthology, with its rich and varied examples of from a wide assortment of times and places provides a history of misogyny in an anthology that is as instructive as it is pleasurable to read.
In this paper I examine the irony that is produced by the compilation of so many misogynist texts in a single volume. The selections, some of them familiar to many of us, force the reader to confront what is sometimes seen as conventional wisdom or acceptable humor about the true nature of women. While it is easy to find humor in several of the examples she uses, the collective force of so many and variedexamples organized in scholarly categories, undermines the original cultural message and produces a strong feminist statement against cultural conventions that exclude, demean, and degrade women.
46. Modernist Migrations
2:15-3:45 p.m. (New York Central)
1. There Must Be Something Literary in It: Protocinematic Views in a Hazard of New Fortunes by Jess Bowers, University of Missouri
Taking a cue from Walter Benjamin's assertion that "every epoch sees in images the epoch which is to succeed it," and finding a theoretical precedent in the Victorian scholar Grahame Smith's work on Dickens and film, I present a reading of William Dean Howells' A Hazard of New Fortunes that identifies the novel's unique treatment of vision as protocinematic, or gesturing toward the imminent appearance of film.
While it may seem a fool's errand to draw links between A Hazard of New Fortunes and technology that didn't appear until four years after its publication, my intent is not to claim Howells an anachronistic role in the invention of the motion picture. Rather, my reading links the Marches' shutter-speed view from the railcar window, their panoramic ride on the El, and their inability to deal with urban life to the late 19th c. shift in visualization posited by the art historian Jonathan Crary, and embodied by the moving panorama, the Lumiere brothers' actualites, and other early cinematic developments.
The similarity between the Marches' detached view of the cityscape and the view of everyday life as an "attraction" promoted by these new visual entertainments suggests that Mr. and Mrs. March are products of a culture wherein human vision is beginning to be molded by technology--technology that would shortly become the cinema. Through close readings of the Marches' (and Howells') musings on the urban visual experience, I show that while enjoying mediated, film-like views of humanity (the El, the coupe, the theatre) may help the Marches to cope with modernity, experiencing the world from a flaneur/spectator's point of view renders the couple unable to interact with the city's inhabitants, or act as effective protagonists. They are perpetually lurking on the novel's periphery, merely observing and idly commenting, passive-like audience members at a nickelodeon.
Thus, A Hazard of New Fortunes can be read as Howells' initial tacit criticism of using the visual as a primary strategy to interpret the late 19th century urban landscape--and an early symptom of the realist author's own ambivalent relationship with photography and the cinema--two 19th century inventions frequently praised for their ability to capture "the real." Reading the Marches' experience of New York City as a cautionary tale about the dangers of vision mediated by machinery, I follow Howells' opinion of visual technology through his evocative London Films description of the mind as a "Kodak," his "Editor's Easy Chair" essays on what he perceived as the failed potential and soul "extinguishing" power of the cinema, and finally, the novel fragment The Home-Towners, which sharply contrasts the melodrama of early motion pictures with Howells' treasured realism.
2. Becoming Modern: Fashioning the American Immigrant Woman by Anna Kuroczycka Schultes, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
At the turn of the century, fashion unveiled class status and frequently ethnic origin. Most immigrant women coming to the United States wore head scarves, which signaled their Eastern European cultural heritage. Modern women in America, however, preferred elaborate hats, which were considered to be en vogue. Thus, a hat was one of the first purchases that the immigrant women yearned to make after they immigrated to the United States. By fashioning themselves after middle-class native-born women the migrants could also showcase their Americanization. It is clear that images of fashionable native-born women in the public sphere, along with the representations of women in popular culture, as in movies like D.W. Griffith's The New York Hat and Charles Dana Gibson's drawings of the Gibson Girl, had an impact on how the working-class woman fashioned herself. Enstad, along with other scholars examining the role of immigrant and working-class women at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century, argue that clothes enabled working-class women to construct their own cultural identities. This paper will attempt to locate fashion's place within the migrant woman's experience in the United States by examining both first-hand accounts written by immigrant women and critical texts.
3. The Cathedral and the Train Station: Gothic Architecture and the Narrative of Homelessness by Keya Kraft, Washington University in St. Louis
When Jude Fawley suggests to Sue Brideshead in Jude the Obscure that they sit in Melchester Cathedral, Sue replies: "'Cathedral? Yes. Though I think I'd rather sit in the railway station...That's the centre of the town life now. The cathedral has had its day!'" Sue's comment echoes a provocative claim made in an 1875 edition of Building News that "railway termini and hotels are to the nineteenth century what monasteries and cathedrals were to the thirteenth century. They are truly the only real representative building we possess."
This paper will argue that these claims suggest more than the simple reality that medieval institutions like the church were being supplanted by system of constant motion, exchange, and transformation. They also acknowledge the fact that gothic architecture, during its well-documented Victorian revival, became the national architecture of institutions and monuments like the Albert Memorial, the Houses of Parliament, the Anglican Church, and St. Pancras train station. I will read Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure and E. M. Forster's Howard's End as novels that mark the decline of the narrative located in gothic locales like the church and the Victorian mansion as they were replaced by the train station as the "center of the town life." These novels, I argue, inaugurate a narrative of homelessness and perpetual wandering amidst a fin de siecle fear of cultural decline, and they depict the loss of the Victorian home amidst the irreversible forces of trade and commerce.
47. Teaching Graphic Novels
2:15-5:30 p.m. (Missouri Pacific)
Chair: Robyn L. Schiffman, Fairleigh Dickinson University
2:15-3:45 p.m. (Missouri Pacific)
1. Teaching and Reading the Veil: Persepolis in the Undergraduate Classroom by Judith Richards and Cynthia Williams, Park University
In the wake of 9/11, the Israeli-Palestine conflict, the Iraq war and the Iranian nuclear crisis, students encounter a complex array of images that represent Muslim cultures. Barraged with disparate kinds of information, students often lack the tools to construct a concrete, non-biased view of Islam and its practice in the Mid-East, Africa and Asia. Students often view Islamic cultures as uniform and lacking diversity and political and religious particularity. We have found that the graphic novel series, Persepolis and Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi, has allowed us to better teach Islamic beliefs within a specific cultural context, i.e. the Glorious Revolution in Iran. Our paper presents a pedagogy of teaching Persepolis/Embroideries and how it teaches the fascinating complexity of the Middle East and Iran. We find Satrapi's graphic novels to be popular with our students, who enjoy the innovative format and the accessibility of its language.
Our paper briefly examines the role of political, religious and cultural structures that use the female body in East-West representation. We first discuss the veiling of women, and how "the veil" and "shrouded female body" serves as a critical site of discourse for both the East and West. We also explore how those discourses are constructed and purveyed through media and literature and how the image of the veiled/unveiled woman is manipulated in political and nationalistic discourses of East/West nations.
We then devise specific exercises that allow the students to experience the veil as a site of discourse and cross-cultural negotiation. We also set up assignments in which students must explore Iranian history and religion, and that encourage students to view Iran as a diverse and highly dynamic culture. Persepolis and Embroideries provide an excellent resource on teaching students more about the world they live in and the global discourses that influence them.
2. Teaching International Graphic Narratives by Adrielle Mitchell, Nazareth College
In addition to incorporating graphic texts into a number of my literature classes (including Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis in a Women's Literature course, Craig Thompson's Blankets in a Young Adult Literature course, and selections in my lower-division Short Story class), I also regularly offer an upper-division literature course for undergraduates on "International Graphic Narratives," most of which are non-fiction: memoirs (Bechdel's Fun Home, Satrapi's Persepolis, David B's Epileptic [L'Ascension du Haut Mal]), graphic journalism (Sacco's Palestine), travelogue (Thompson's Carnet de Voyage), history/political science (The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation) plus selections from Brunetti's A Graphic Anthology, Abouet's Aya, and Taniguchi's A Walking Man.
We use two comic theory texts to frame our analysis: Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics and the recent English translation of Thierry Groensteen's Systeme de la Bande Dessinee [The System of Comics], as well as a wide range of critical articles from fields as diverse as psychoanalysis, cultural theory and film, art and literary criticism. The core question we are attempting to answer is not whether graphic narratives deserve serious academic study (the course is predicated on this assumption), but HOW to engage in thoughtful, cross-disciplinary, textually grounded study of the medium.
This paper presents the premises of the course; critical approaches and terminology which have contributed to our appreciation of the medium; student difficulties and insights; and general reflections on the challenges, pitfalls and advantages of using graphic narratives in college-level literature courses.
3. Spiegelman's Maus: A Foundation for Teaching Holocaust Representation by Todd Heidt, Knox College
This presentation will discuss an undergraduate teaching unit dedicated to Holocaust representation including poetry, prose, a film, and Art Spiegelman's Maus. While Maus has been approached in a number of studies, this presentation seeks a pragmatic and anecdotal approach for its discussion within a larger context of a course and/or unit. The approach will first capitalize on the visceral immediacy of this image text, which can be used to re-investigate a period students often know all to well from high school and college history courses, not to mention pop culture histories and documentaries. The initial shock of Spiegelman's piece can then allow students to bring into relief a number of basic generic characteristics. Exploring these characteristics--sometimes textual, sometimes visual--Maus becomes a collection of rather standard themes, plot elements and narrative devices, which can be viewed as a foundation for further study of Holocaust representation. In exploring other, more traditional representations (Celan's Deathfugue, Becker's novel Jacob the Liar, Beyer's film Jacob the Liar) this foundation can be expanded, nuanced and problematized. This unit was taught at Northern Kentucky University, a medium-sized branch of the state system with a number of non-traditional and first-generation university students, and class response and receptivity will be discussed as well.
4:00-5:30 p.m. (Missouri Pacific)
4. Viewing Literature Through a Comic Lens: Comic Theory as Analytical Framework by John Lamothe, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
At the start of the Spring 2009 semester, I began my HU 142 course, Studies in Literature, with a loaded question--What is Literature? Instead of exploring the issue by delving into the classics, my course focused on the fringe, those mediums that are routinely marginalized and often exempted from discussions of Literature.
At the center of this semester-long exploration of "Fringe Literature" were graphic novels, chosen because they have unique narrative qualities that allow for certain story-telling feats difficult or i'possible to accomplish in any other medium.
What I didn't anticipate was that the theoretical toolbox we developed for discussing comics (specifically several key chapters from Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics) became a useful framework for examining numerous other narrative forms, including noteworthy short stories such as Joyce's Araby and Hemmingway's Hills Like White Elephants as well as digital literature, film, video games, and others. Without any deliberate intentions on my part, my students began viewing narratives of all sorts through the lens of a graphic novel. As a result, their responses were more focused, critical, and insightful than in any other semester when I taught this course without the use of graphic novels.
I focus primarily on how comic theory can be used as a theoretical framework for analyzing numerous narrative mediums. By applying McCloud's concepts of "Closure," "Amplification through Simplification," etc. to various narrative forms, students gain an accessible theoretical foundation for considering the roles of audience and author in meaning formation, the methods used to create symbolic representation in literature, and other useful analytical tools.
5. The New Golden Age of Comics: The Pedagogical Value of the Graphic Novel by Heather Suboleski, Fairleigh Dickinson University
Comics still suffers from the stigma of being a lowbrow art form, a result of its intriguing history in American popular culture. However, the sophisticated, biographical nature of Art Spiegelman's 1986 Holocaust graphic fable, Maus, which received a special Pulitzer Prize in 1992, changed the way many literary scholars viewed comics. As more and more scholars now recognize the literary merit of these sophisticated comic books, the more complex nature of graphic novels has prompted librarians and educators to consider the pedagogical application of comics in education. As a case study, Satrapi's Persepolis, Volume I: The Story of a Childhood demonstrates the educational potential of graphic novels in several capacities. Her work highlights the accessibility of the comic medium, which serves as an increasingly relevant way to engage the younger, visual generation. In addition, Satrapi's work exhibits how the comic form enhances reader participation through visual analysis, synthesis of text and image, and narrative closure. Furthermore, Satrapi shows how graphic novels can use the adolescent voice to personalize political and military conflict, effectively addressing issues of political oppression, cultural gender norms, war and death in the context of post-revolutionary Iran. Graphic novels would urge college-level literature students to think beyond the traditional paradigms of storytelling, challenging them to question and redefine the boundaries of literature and empowering them to develop their own voice to critically analyze texts. The autobiographical nature of Persepolis would also push students to examine the way in which authors tell their own life stories to an audience. Compelling graphic novels like Satrapi's Persepolis could transform college classroom
6. Ivorian Bonus: Teaching Aya's Africa by Susanna Hoeness-Krupsaw, University of Southern Indian
Planning to teach five classic novels in a World Literature in Translation course, I wanted to complement the reading list with an accessible text that would invite students to become careful readers and thinkers, familiarize them with basic literary terminology and the rigors of literary translation, and facilitate discussion of cultural differences. I am happy to report that Aya fulfilled all of these expectations. First published in France in 2007, the novel quickly gained much acclaim, winning such prestigious awards as the 2006 award for Best First Album at the Angouleme International Comics Festival, the Children's Africana Book Award, and the Glyph Award; the novel was nominated for the Quill Award, the YALSA's Great Graphic Novels list, and the Eisner Award; and was included on "best of" lists from The Washington Post, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal (all according to www.drawnandquarterly.com). My paper will introduce Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie's novel Aya as a work that can provide sound reading and thinking exercises for any literature classroom. The novel offers a range of possibilities for cultural analysis through the Ivorian Bonus chapters provided for the English translation. Instructors can examine elements of setting created by the illustrations and elements of characterization through text and illustrations. Exploration of selected story frames reveals the sophisticated handling of time through the visual medium Using selected pages from the original French edition, it is even possible to interrogate the difficulties of (cultural and literary) translations.
48. Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature I
2:15-3:45 p.m. (Zephyr Rocket)
Topic: Midwest Literature and Migration I
Chair: Marilyn Judith Atlas, Ohio University
1. Narratives of Migration: Audobon's Missouri River Journals by Christian P. Knoeller, Purdue University
Literature of the Midwest includes accounts by 19th century explorers, artists, and naturalists, notably those of the iconic John James Audubon whose own geographic trajector--spanning continents and nation states--rivals the migratory species he devoted himself to documenting. Indeed, migration might well be seen as the central motif of his life and work. Audubon was born on Santa Domingo, today's Haiti, and shuttled as a child to France during a slave uprising on the island. Raised in Nantes, Audubon returned abruptly to New World in 1803, presumably to escape conscription in the armies of Napoleon, living on a farm his family owned outside of Philadelphia. He arrived in the fledgling United States the very summer that Lewis and Clark were preparing for their expedition West under the auspices of President Thomas Jefferson with their charge to chart a passage to the Pacific. Throughout his career, Audubon repeatedly made collecting expeditions spanning much of North America, floating the Mississippi twice in the 1820s alone, and even reaching the maritime provinces of present-day Canada. Indeed, he was an inveterate traveler, crossing and re-crossing the Atlantic repeatedly, living in England off and on for many years while seeking subscribers and overseeing production of his magnificent Birds of America. Promoting that project in Europe, he deftly positioned himself as America's native son, catering to expectations about the American frontier by donning the garb of a frontiersman in London.
Yet Audubon did not actually visit America's Western frontier until decades later when he embarked on his last collecting expedition in 1843, heading upstream from St. Louis on the Missouri into Indian Country. St. Louis had long served as point of departure for the fabled West. George Catlin had also prepared there just over a decade before--under the mentorship of none other than William Clark, Captain with Meriwether Lewis of the Corps of Discovery--for his expeditions West to paint Indians. Audubon finally fulfilled his own lifelong ambition of exploring America's western frontier to collect specimens and sketch mammals for Viviparous Quadropeds of North America. Given the timing of this trip in 1843, he witnessed several profound "migrations" underway: the arrival of white settlers, the removal of Indians, and the epic decline of wildlife. Audubon lamented how the once abundant buffalo of the Midwest had by then already long since disappeared from the Indiana and Illinois prairies where herds had thrived in his youth. Audubon's account of that journey in the Missouri River Journals portrays a tumultuous transformation of the region--and ultimately tied his own legacy to the fate of the frontier: the receding herds of once unimaginably abundant buffalo, as well as the decimation of Indian tribes by epidemics and dislocation in the wake of European exploration and settlement. Audubon's journals from the last expedition of his far-flung career bear witness to such "migrations" and thereby establish their place in the literature of the Midwest.
2. Anglo-Saxons Completely Lost and Ambiguously Found: Frank Norris from McTeague to The Pit by Richmond B. Adams, Southern Illinois University
McTeague the novel ends in a desert, both literally and, as Frank Norris strongly implies, metaphorically. Handcuffed to Marcus, whom he has just bested in mortal combat, McTeague the man is too far removed from civilization to do anything but apparently wait for death to have its way with him. Norris earned his reputation as a naturalist with the novel's unrelenting bleakness and sense of concluding despair. Even while describing the life within San Francisco--"civilization" compared to the desert--Norris spares few details of gloom from his readers. He consistently dismisses almost any reference to potentially transformative symbols such as churches or missions to San Francisco's least of these.
By the time he published his two volumes of the Wheat Trilogy some three years later, however, Norris apparently underwent something of a transformation himself. Not so much transformation as much, it turns out, as reintroduction to his heritage of Judeo-Christian faith. Raised an Episcopalian in Chicago and San Francisco, Norris maintained loose affiliations with his faith during his college years while simultaneously trying to reconcile Christianity's basic tenets with the Darwinian evolution he also freely embraced. Having attended a year of lectures by noted Evolutionary Theist Joseph LeConte during his time at California-Berkeley, Norris knew how LeConte approached the apparently irreconcilable problems of melding Christian proclamation with fin de siecle science. As both The Octopus and The Pit quite clearly express, Norris understood, appreciated and tried to affirm how matters of faith and science are not opposites, but rather compliments to one another.
Between 1899 and 1902, in other words, Norris' fiction--as well as his person--had evolved from a bleak and perpetual desert to at least the possibility, as The Octopus literally ends, of all things working together for good (my edition, p. 652). Even as The Pit's Curtis Jadwin seems to equate himself with Yahweh from the Old Testament and soon collapses under the weight of a suddenly flooded and un-cornered wheat market, Norris makes clear that no character in his final novel deliberately sets out to harm anyone else and, as the novel ends, both Jadwin and Laura are even allowed to move out west to begin their lives anew. The question I wish to explore is what factors helped to initiate Norris' fictional and personal changes? I intend to argue that in large part, Norris' underwent some type of conversion experience during his coverage of the Spanish-American War. Travelling approximate to Stephen Crane, both he and Norris literally saw the 'hell' of war memorialized by General William Sherman's Civil War expression. Crane's graphic description from a period journal both exemplifies and illuminates what Norris endured himself. In that process, Norris evolved from his earlier bleak nihilism towards a developing and almost defiant hope--rooted in his view of the Gospel--that, in fact, all things can work together for good.
Given that my proposal will cover three novels, it must necessarily be quite general in specific textual references. At the same time, Norris intellectual and moral struggle can be argued to represent the era in which he lived. I propose to take such an approach.
3. Traval and Trust Abroad a "Ship of Fools": The Midwestern Setting of Herman Melville's The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade by Paul Cappucci, Georgian Court University
49. Creative Writing II: Prose
4:00-5:30 p.m. (Jeffersonian)
Topic: Historical Fiction
Chair: Michael Kula, Carroll University
1. Pendulum Days by Camille R. Banks, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
2. Laidlaw by Christopher Feliciano Arnold, Purdue University
3. Mr. Codman's Women by Stephanie Carpenter, University of Missouri
4. The Book of Blasphemy by Martha Otis, University of Miami
4:00-5:30 p.m. (Knickerbocker)
Topic: Theatrical Ghosting
Chair: Johanna L. Frank, University of Windsor
1. Helpless Terror: The Performative Haunting of Tragic Theater by Patrick Maley, Indiana University
This paper invokes a model of ghosting--in a critical space between Joseph Roach and Stanley Cavell--to explore how the performative force of tragic theater paradoxically both alienates and implicates its audience. Functioning similarly to a Roachian vortex of behavior, theater "canalize[s] specified needs, desires, and habits in order to reproduce them," and engenders a "gravitational pull of social necessity." The vortex of the theater silences and immobilizes its audience while simultaneously defining a paradoxical space in which it is acceptable--even mandatory--to do nothing as a man on stage slowly strangles his wife. Hope as we might, we cannot stop Othello from murdering Desdemona; even, according to Cavell, the "farthest extremity" of a performance having been physically stopped "has not touched Othello, he has vanished." I suggest that a performance of tragedy creates a vortex of behavior that invokes the ghosts of characters to torment us but, piteously, grants us no access, no path, to them; vanishing in the face of any effort to make them present, these ghosts will inevitably return and their crimes will proceed unimpeded. This model helpfully elucidates both the abject vulnerability of tragedy's audience, as well as the irreducible culpability of tragic figures: even an audience with perfect knowledge of the coming catastrophe is unable to alter the transgressions of the ghosts before it. Defined by the behavior of actors and audience alike, tragic theater thus torments its participants by besetting them with the terrifyingly present yet woefully unstoppable ghosts of tragic figures.
2. The Ghostly Presence of Absence by Judith Roof, Michigan State University
While the spectre of the spectre may haunt some stages pointing to another world or consciousness, absence may afford a different kind of stage ghosting. Although literal and figurative ghosts provide allegory or psychology, a play's palpable operative absence has no locus or definitive figuration. Palpable absence, present in such plays as Pinter's The Homecoming, The Dumb Waiter, and Ashes to Ashes Beckett's Waiting for Godot, and Ionesco's The Killer, among others, locates dramatic tension in the unknown, expands the stage to infinity, and illustrates the ways drama is as much about what is seen as what is unseen, as well as what is acknowledged and never seen. This present absence, thus, figures the way the stage is always more than the stage and drama exceeds its bounds.
3. Temporal Reanimations, The Ghosts of Future Past, and the Death of Realism by Lance Norman, Michigan State University
Act Three of Marina Carr's Portia Coughlin opens with the title character sitting up and lighting a cigarette. Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman concludes with Katurian Katurian taking a bag off his head and telling the audience a story. These scenarios from contemporary Irish drama are relatively insignificant except for the fact that a short time before these events occur, the audience has seen Portia Coughlin fished out of a river and buried, and Katurian Katurian shot in the head. Unlike other theatrical ghosts such as the literal ghost that haunts Hamlet, or the metaphorical ghost that haunts and destroys Oswald in Ibsen's Ghosts, Portia and Katurian do not haunt other characters so much as the audience. Returning from the dead to the temporal present of the theatrical performance (perhaps more zombie than ghost), these protagonists rupture their respective realist narratives by uncannily presenting the figures the dramatic narrative promises to have lost. In so doing, these ghosts suggest that realism is an insufficient organizing structure for theatrical meaning. The ghosts pierce their respective narratives by continuing to provide meaning after their end, and they insist that an audience must be self-aware of the artificial aesthetic conventions--more structural then representational--which underpin theatrical realism.
51. Gender Studies: Male
4:00-5:30 p.m. (Wabash Cannonball)
Topic: Men in Color: Racialized Masculinities in U.S. Literature and Cinema
Chair: Josep M. Armengol-Carrera, SUNY Stony Brook
Secretary: Stefanie Byttebier, Boston University
1. A Cavern Opened in My Mind: Homosexuality and/as Blackness in James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room by Josep M. Armengol-Carrera, SUNY Stony Brook
Despite the large body of criticism on race in James Baldwin's fiction, his early texts have traditionally been read as "white" and, therefore, studied in sexual rather than racial terms, in (white) gay studies rather than African-American studies. Nevertheless, this presentation will be centrally concerned with race-ing James Baldwin's early fiction, illustrating the relevance to Giovanni's Room of race, in general, and whiteness, in particular. While apparently "raceless," the novel not only makes whiteness visible as a social construct but also illustrates its dependence on other hegemonic categories, particularly masculinity and heterosexuality. More specifically, I will be arguing that in Giovanni's Room race is deflected onto sexuality with the result that whiteness is transvalued as heterosexuality, just as homosexuality becomes associated with blackness, both literally and metaphorically. Borrowing from the recent work on the symbolism of whiteness and/as color by scholars such as Richard Dyer, Eric Lott, and Mason Stokes, among others, I will show how the white vs. black dichotomy plays a very "meaning-full" role in Baldwin's novel, revealing both descriptive and symbolic (sexual) meanings. By exploring the "color-full" associations that Baldwin established between on the one hand whiteness and heterosexuality and on the other homosexuality and blackness, we will see how in Giovanni's Room the discourses of race and (homo)sexuality are indeed inseparable from one another.
2. Black Man/White Machine: Will Smith Crosses Over by Lorrie Palmer, Indiana University
Richard Dyer, in his study of African-American crossover star, Paul Robeson, noted that most of his movies elided any physical mobility or eroticism by aligning the star with the classical nude (and with women), rendering him noble but passive. Seventy-eight years later, another popular male crossover performer, Will Smith, appears nude in a much-discussed shower scene in the film, I, Robot. Their poses at this moment are strikingly similar but the textual/contextual construction of black masculinity around and within each man's work diverges along the spectrum of discursive reception, industrial practices, and the independent agency of the performer within dominant white culture. The film genre of science fiction is notable for its traditional absence of African-Americans both onscreen and as spectators as well as for its thematic opposition between machine bodies and human bodies. Through his portrayal, in I, Robot, of a part-cyborg, black detective investigating the underclass criminality of robots that are visually foregrounded as white, Will Smith opens up space for a deconstruction of racial stereotypes within historical and technological contexts. Further, as his films have grossed $4.5 billion in a global marketplace, Smith has forged an undeniable shift in Hollywood's representation of heroic masculinity. Repeated claims in both critical and popular discourse that Smith transcends race along with Smith's own ironic song lyrics (as he asks if he's "black enough" for hip-hop radio) underscore problematic racial essentialisms that highlight his own resistance at being held up as a metonymic figure. And, unlike Robeson, who was restricted to artful immobility even on the theatrical stage, Smith moves.
3. Becoming So Black It's a Shame: Examining the Place of Japanese Culture in Paul Beatty's (De)Constructions of Black Urban Masculinities by Deidre L. Wheaton, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
In The White Boy Shuffle (1996), Paul Beatty presents an eclectic, genre-bending, coming-of-age narrative in which his protagonist, Gunnar Kaufman, grapples with the meanings of blackness and the changing definition of racism during the racially and politically fraught mid-1980s and 1990s. Beatty's ability to wield the sword of satire to represent and critique the ascension of urban youth culture as the primary source for defining authentic black masculinity has been widely celebrated by literary critics and reviews. However, one element of Beatty's novel yet to receive adequate scholarly attention is the role of Japanese culture in Gunnar Kaufman's life. I contend that in addition to satirizing Black urban youth culture, Beatty also relies on an intricate fusion of African American and Japanese references and characters to negotiate Gunnar's tenuous position within his not-so-welcoming inner-city hood. Gunnar's attempts to survive in his new environment and his desire to use poetry to confront racism are both influenced by characters of Asian descent. His mentor Coach Shimimoto and his (admittedly problematic) Asian mail-order bride contribute to Gunnar's interest in Eastern philosophy and the concept of "hara-kiri"--ritual suicide, which is what he concludes Black Americans must commit to in order to rid themselves of the absurd racial stereotypes they face. Because all else has failed, Gunnar encourages people to write their death poems and commit suicide. In this paper I examine the implications of these Japanese influences on Beatty's satirical representations of contemporary black masculinities.
52. Short Story
4:00-5:30 p.m. (Burlington Route)
Topic: Stories with Histories
Chair: Shiela Pardee, Southeast Missouri State University
Secretary: Michael Meinhardt, Loyola University Chicago
1. From "A Very Short Story" to A Farewell to Arms: How Hemingway Turned a Neglected Story into a Masterpiece by Matt Hlinak, Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies
Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms (1929) tells the story of a wounded American soldier and his love affair with a nurse. Like much of his work, there is a strong autobiographical element to this novel; Hemingway himself had fallen in love with a nurse while recuperating from wounds sustained as an ambulance driver in the First World War. He first addressed this episode of his life in "A Very Short Story" (1925)--a piece of what would today be known as flash fiction. The earliest pencil draft of the story hit so close to the bone, Hemingway himself considered it "libelous" to the real-life nurse. Scott Donaldson has shown how the progression from the earliest draft to "A Very Short Story" to A Farewell to Arms seemed to be therapeutic for the author. More importantly, however, the literary merit of each piece increased dramatically with each new version. This demonstrates the value of flash fiction as a sort of literary laboratory, allowing writers to experiment with language, themes and even emotions in a low-risk setting before giving their subjects novel-length treatment. "A Very Short Story" functions as a valuable case study in how such a laboratory operates.
2. Olsen's Requa: An Exploration in Gender Equilibrium by Sara Bennett Lerner, University of Akron
Begun in 1968 after her winning of an NEA Fellowship for creative writing, Tillie Olsen's "Requa" gives a subversive and unique view of the nurturing, parental roles of men and women as well as the formation of gender identity. By exhaustively rewriting and reworking the short story, Olsen mixes the ideology of communism/collectivism of the 1930s with the then-contemporary feminist principles of the late 1960s. Olsen's story proposes that women should not be the sole caretaker of the house and offspring, as it causes an imbalance in a child's development and maturity. It is this balance that Olsen strives to promote in her story as she juxtaposes traditional masculine and feminine spheres. The main character, Stevie, has a gender ambiguity is a product of the inequity of the responsibility taken by the male and the female in a parenting role. However, Olsen attempts to rectify this imbalance by constructing an image of extreme psychological, emotional, and physical demands in a masculine/feminine power struggle in order to achieve gender equilibrium within the boy. In doing so, Olsen may be trying to suggest the validity of gender as a social construct and the necessity of an evenhanded nurturing by both men and women in order to raise a child to be a well-adjusted and capable adult.
3. The Domestication of Rip: Joe Jefferson Brings Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle Home at Last by Pennie Pflueger, Southeast Missouri State University
"Rip Van Winkle" (1819) is a classic American short story, significant for its tension between reality and unreality, between responsibility and flights of escape. At the end of Irving's short story, Rip awakens after his twenty-year sleep to find his village completely altered. He is eventually folded back into his community and earns his spot as the storyteller he was always meant to be--but with a cost. His wife has died, he doesn't recognize his son, and he must live with his daughter. Rip's loss of home serves as Irving's commentary on the sacrifices of being a worker of the imagination. My paper will look at how Irving uses "Rip Van Winkle" as a site to explore the difficulties the imaginative storyteller had to confront under the aesthetic pressures for veracity and "truth"--and will emphasize Rip's lack of domestic connectedness in contrast to Joseph Jefferson's staged version of Rip Van Winkle that began in 1859.
While Irving had emphasized the displaced nature of Rip's status as a storyteller, playwright / actor Joseph Jefferson's version emphasized just the opposite: staged Rip becomes domesticated. "Rip"'s migration into the American theatre, along with his sustained popularity and viability as a staged character, make him unique in American fiction. My paper will focus on showing how Jefferson revised Irving's tale to accommodate the public's need for reassurance in the family and comforts of domestication in a century when they were thought to be threatened by industrialization and the increasing pressures of capitalization.
4. Transgressing Boundaries: Sex, Nation and Violence in Lust, Caution by Fang-yu Li, Washington University St. Louis
Zhang Ailing, a prominent female novelist in modern China, wrote "Lust, Caution" in 1953. According to her memoir, she rewrote this piece many times and published it in 1983 in a short stories collection. Critics have indicated that Zhang's story resembles an historical event involving a female spy sacrificing her life for attempting to assassinate a Japanese collaborator. Rather than faithfully retelling this anecdote, Zhang recreated a story that emphasized romantic love over patriotism, challenging the concept of nationalism and highlighting the individual struggle between personal emotions and social moralities. Unlike her other widely-read masterpieces, this story did not attract much attention until the release of Ang Lee's recent film adaptation, "Lust, Caution" (2007), which expands the sixteen page story into a three hour long film. Lee's adaptation not only incorporates the previous historical event but also adds Zhang's biographical elements to portray the female spy. The film also complicates Zhang's story by adding long, graphic sex scenes that challenge modern Chinese viewer's moral standard. In this paper, I would like to compare Zhang Ailing's "Lust, Caution" to the previous historical event and Ang Lee's film adaptation. I will discuss how Zhang boldly questions the notion of "patriotism" and "nationalism" by transforming a female martyr into a traitor, and how Ang Lee's expansion and complication of Zhang's story further dramatizes the intertwined power relations between the female spy and the Japanese traitor as they transgress national and sexual boundaries in the turbulent times of Sino-Japanese war.
53. Women's Studies
4:00-5:30 p.m. (Frisco)
Topic: Positioning Women and Nature
Chair: Paula Willoquet-Maricondi, Marist College
Secretary: Lauren Shaw, Elmira College
1. Nestled in the Arms of Nature: Women's Ecological Entrepreneurship in the Novels of Eugenie Marlitt by Daniela Richter, Central Michigan University
The late nineteenth century was a time of widespread debates on the nature of women, debates that do not seem to have stopped since then. Eugenie Marlitt's novels, written between 1864 and 1885, engages in a discussion of women's nature through a wide variety of female characters whose different versions of femininity often enter into violent conflict. Nature itself features in the form of flaura and fauna that offer a contrast to the dangers of inhumane and unnatural capitalism. Focusing on Marlitt's novel In the Councilor's House, this paper explores the way in which Marlitt utilizes the discourse of nature and naturality to validate her character's unconventional accomplishments as social reformer of her community and successful artisan entrepreneur who manages the village mill. This close alliance with nature serves as a positive contrast to the unnatural and inhumane effects of capitalism, as portrayed by the stock market and the factory, and also as a way to legitimize female intervention and active participation in the public sphere and the professional field.
2. Victoria's Secret Angels and Angela Carter's Fevvers: A Grotesque and Elusive Sensuality by Adrienne Bliss, Ball State University
The most common response to Angela Carter's character Fevvers, in Nights at the Circus, is one of attraction and repulsion. The sight of this voluptuous yet rough and street worn woman with wings immediately becomes spectacularized. Fevvers is a temperamental, outspoken, and hard drinking woman who works in a circus and, amused by a reporter who falls desperately in love with her, tolerates his attentions knowing at all times that her wings create the possibility of her escape. While her wings might permit her to escape physically, she will always be trapped and marked as "other" due to being a woman, a circus performer, and to having wings. Annually, Victoria's Secret comes out with a new line of Angels Secret bras. The advertisements are filled with impossibly beautiful women scantily dressed in a bra and panties...and wings. These Angels are idolized and lusted over by men, while women strive to achieve the Angel ideal, if only illusorily, through the purchase of underwear. Both Carter's Fevvers and Victoria's Angels evoke sensuality because of their marked bodies; yet Carter would have us believe that if a woman truly had wings she would be fit only for the circus, another marginalized group. Are the wings symbols of the grotesque or of sensuality? The angel, traditionally a religious symbol of purity, is an image truly at odds with both Carter and Victoria's Secret. My paper explores this very public sensuality, questioning the tension of the grotesque in these two different manifestations of the marked spectacle of a woman with wings.
3. The Body of a Becoming: Shelley Jackson's Patchwork Girl by Hyewon Shin, CUNY
Since Donna Haraway's cyborg manifesto and N. Katherine Hayles's How We Became Posthuman, scholarly interest has grown in the field of posthuman discourse and materialist ecology. Much recent work poses a challenge to the dualist construction of gender and the Cartesian body-mind dichotomy by showing the collapse of the nature-culture boundary and the ambiguous associations among women's bodies, nature, and technology. This paper focuses on the shifting concept of the body and the performative mode of subjectivity represented in Shelley Jackson's hypertext novel Patchwork Girl. The female monster's physical frame in the novel is always in the process of being assembled as the textual body, illustrating the body as "becoming." Her "body" can only be per-formed by the virtual linking of autonomous body parts into the unrepresentable whole of the "body," just as the meaning of the text is produced by connecting lexias into the "work." Thus, unlike the Creature in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein that the novel rewrites, a full-figure body or textual unity in Patchwork Girl exists merely as an idea whose complete representation cannot be achieved. It is the readers' willing act of clicking on and linking of hypertextual units that creates the female monster's subjectivity and the text's meaning. Jackson's use of hypertext, a technology actualizing the kind of knowledge that is not dependent upon linear temporal logic, facilitates her conceptualization of fluid bodies assembled and reassembled out of matter. By underlining the value of the labor of weaving, which is conventionally associated with women, Jackson also feminizes the creative processes of signification and subject formation.
54. Dark Migrations: Territorializing the Savage Body
4:00-5:30 p.m. (Dixie Flyer)
Chair: Jeff Aziz, University of Pittsburgh
1. Fluid and Fixed Subjects: Rereading Trollope's Unremarkable Bermuda by Jane K. Asher, Wayne State University
On March 21, 2009, Bermuda celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Royal Navy Dockyard by honoring the tradesmen and scholars who participated in The Royal Navy Dockyard's Apprenticeship Scheme. Walter Lister, chairman of the West End Development Corporation, proclaimed how "After 200 years of existence, The Royal Navy Dockyard is looking to the future." Bermuda's vision for the future, as revealed by the commemoration of the dockyard, calls for the creation of a local identity that is positioned in its imperial history. The anniversary marks an occasion to resurrect Bermuda's global heritage, one which collides with over 2,000 British prisoners who traveled to Bermuda on hulk ships, built the dockyard, and died without any hopes of looking home. By situating much of my analysis in Anthony Trollope's excursion to Bermuda in 1859, I explore how Trollope's Bermuda--a fragmented, unremarkable island full of catatonic inhabitants--exposes a framework of Englishness that perpetuates Bermuda's present subjectivity. In these intersecting images of Bermuda, I offer a site to examine the transnational nature of nineteenth-century prison reform and follow its many cultural and epistemological tributaries. This juncture--the convict hulk--metaphorically stabilizes Bermuda's liminality and reveals the marginality of the hulk prisoners. Originally introduced as a temporary method of remedying England's prison overpopulation crisis, the hulk ships provisionally incarcerated individuals in a fluid location where they physically and theoretically straddled the borders of two nations and two geographies for over 50 years. By being incarcerated in such a location, these prisoners became immobile subjects--fixities who were, and still may be, easily concealed.
2. Pacific Passages: Sui Sin Far, Walt Whitman, and an Expansive American Biopolitics by Jeffrey Hole, University of the Pacific
In the wake of technological achievements such as the successful laying of the transatlantic telegraph cable in 1866 and the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869, Walt Whitman's "Passage to India" (1870) gave expression to a new song--one that "worshiped" a modern world "spann'd" and "connected by network." These new passages, both over "terraqueous globe" and textual surfaces, further accompanied Whitman's poetic visions "toward the Pacific" in Democratic Vistas (1871), where he imagined a "mastership of the sea and its countless islands." Whitman's liberalist depiction of distant lands and wide ocean spaces "welded together" by technology and commercial flows coincided, too, with the Burlingame Treaty of 1868, a treaty that facilitated trade and emigration between the United States and China. This treaty simultaneously opened Chinese markets and supplied new sources of labor energy in the U.S.'s expansion westward. From the Page Act of 1875, the Chinese Exclusion and Gary Acts of 1882 and 1892, respectively, U.S. regulatory power enforced state borders and managed the passage of Chinese peoples as a principle of body politic. Sui Sin Far's writing, particularly "In the Land of the Free," shows "freedom"--particularly as Whitman had imagined it--as something territorialized by U.S. biopolitics. In this paper, I argue that Far's narratives help re-imagine an American literary studies that disavowed Whitman's exceptionalist paradigm.
3. Across the Carcass of America: William Blake Goes West by Jeff Aziz, University of Pittsburgh
Jim Jarmusch's 1995 film Dead Man confronts us with a number of migrations, from Cleveland accountant William Blake's travel by rail to the end-of-the-line town of Machine, to the capture of a young Native American named Xebeche, shipped East and ultimately to England caged as an animal. In these travels, hero-journeys, and kidnappings, the film revises and confounds the durable myth of the taming of a "savage" west at the hands of white Anglo-Europeans. Of particular interest to this work is the relationship between suffering, objectified, or commodified bodies and an America that is itself dying. Blake, in his mortally injured body, is the dying landscape and its traduced native civilization. In his anti-myth, Jarmusch articulates not simply a Marxist but a Blakean vision of oppression, exploitation, and genocide. This work situates Dead Man among a constellation of texts, most prominently Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian, to explore a recurring figure of white male dominance: the culturally-knowing white man who reduces all that comes within his purview to his own fatal projects. In the characters of McCarthy's "the judge" and Jarmusch's Cole Wilson, this figure is repeatedly identified with cannibalism and the dismemberment of human bodies. In a direct response to the dominant mythoi of the American "promised land" or the slightly more secular "manifest destiny," these narratives offer a counter-myth in which the white American seeks to murder and devour the future itself.
55. Migrations in 20th Century Poetry
4:00-5:30 p.m. (New York Central)
1. Kantian Breakdowns in the Confessional Poetry of Robert Lowell and Anne Sexton by Stephanie Kartalopoulos, University of Missouri-Columbia
In his book The Wounded Surgeon, Adam Kirsch claims that in Life Studies, Robert Lowell "practiced [quiet] strategies for capturing 'human richness in simple descriptive language.'" Lowell's student Anne Sexton sought to elevate confession, through her art, to the realm of poetry so that she could reach an aspect of herself that she considered the best and the most truthful. The motivating forces in Lowell's and Sexton's writing act as a of "migration" in poetics and aesthetics and fly in the face of their Modernist inheritance, which valued imagistic exploration and a Kantian notion of beauty over the focus on personal truth that these poets and their confessionally-focused peers held as a call to write. This paper explores confessionalism through the work of Anne Sexton and Robert Lowell and discusses the ways in which this poetry--intent on conveying something to its reader; intent on chronicling truth; intent on equating personal exposure with risk, and risk with truth--breaks down the Kantian notions of aesthetic distance and its related ideals of beauty, subjective universality, and purposiveness. In its exploration, this paper considers poems from Anne Sexton's To Bedlam and Partway Back and Robert Lowell's Life Studies--two books that, despite the fact that Lowell was Sexton's mentor, were published within a year of each other and reach their audiences through an emphasis on the kinds of truth that motivated both poets' work.
2. Transatlantis: Baedeker's Mina Loy by Tara Prescott, Claremont at Graduate University
Born in London to a Jewish father and a British mother, Mina Loy spent a great deal of her life struggling with defining and recreating her identity as a woman, poet, artist, exile, and eventually, American. As she moved between London, Paris, Florence, Berlin, New York, and Mexico City, Loy cultivated many professional and personal relationships and absorbed the cultures, geography, and literature that came to color her own work. For Loy, migration was a necessary condition, a modern poet's only way of being a citizen of the world at large rather than restricted to any one nationality or culture. This essay seeks to examine the effects of Loy's lifelong migration on the poetry from Lunar Baedeker and contextualize the poems in relation to the travel experiences that inspired them, particularly focusing on Loy's use of Baedeker guides. In her analysis of Loy's "Anglo-Mongrels and The Rose," Marjorie Perloff states that Loy's "invention of an intricately polyglot language" is intertwined with her experiences abroad and her identification with American artists. This essay takes Perloff's idea of Loy's polyglot language and considers the ways in which traveling and living in multiple countries played a role in forming Loy's diction and poetic projects.
56. Passing Strange: Refiguring Race Disguise in U.S. Narrative
4:00-5:30 p.m. (Midnight Special)
Chair: Ben Slote, Allegheny College
1. Intersubjectivity and the Old Plantation; or, Why Joel Chandler Harris Passed as Black by Jeremy Wells, Southern Illinois University
In one of the final folktales recounted in Joel Chandler Harris's debut collection, Uncle Remus, His Songs and His Sayings, Remus explains to the little boy "Why the Negro Is Black." Of greater interest to Harris's original readership was how Harris himself managed to seem so convincingly non-white, so thoroughly not himself, when he adopted the voice of his "venerable old darkey" and proceeded to relate African-American folktales to an audience "not familiar with plantation life" but in need of the education, as Harris constructs his readers at the outset of his text. The paper I would like to present as part of the 2009 M/MLA convention focuses not so much on Harris's techniques as his motivations. Part of a larger project that investigates how plantation fiction was received in late 19th- and early 20th-century U.S. culture, the paper seeks to move beyond arguments over whether Harris was a racist or anti-racist by identifying the revolutionary claim he made in defense of the old plantation--that it and it alone among the unique spaces of a U.S. cultural cartography had enabled the white comprehension of blackness--and exploring the ways in which Uncle Remus makes a performance of this deeply polemical, soon deeply influential idea.
2. Richard Wright Trying Not To Be a Communist: Recantation as Narrative Passing by Laura Quinn, Allegheny College
Richard Wright's "I Tried to Be a Communist," published in The Atlantic Monthly in 1944, gets more permanently credentialed as a Cold War recantation narrative when it re-appears as the token black contribution to Richard Crossman's project The God That Failed in 1950. A longer version of the narrative comprises the second half of Wright's autobiography, originally titled American Hunger, lopped off from what became Black Boy (1945) under pressures from his publisher and from the Book-of-the-Month-Club, and published as the second volume of Wright's life story posthumously (1977) under the original title, American Hunger. The convoluted publishing history of Wright's recantation narrative is the external manifestation of the Cold War pressures ironically and paradoxically brought to bear on this convention-laden memoir of a heroic intellectual's struggle to break free from artistic and political constraints. My paper is interested in reading the pressures that shape Wright's version of Cold War recantation with an assist from the discourse of "passing," as textually deployed in African American literary tradition, in maneuvers that range from deconstructive plots of passing as protective disguise or springboard for personal ambition to explorations in performance theory, in how the narration of passing itself "passes." My argument is that Wright's recantation is at once conventional, externally-driven and highly performative, a negotiation of prevailing political discourses, personal grievance, and a political commitment that refuses the "rehabilitation" that it narrates. Wright's textual recantation, to borrow from Ellison, "slips the yoke and changes the joke."
3. Passing for Authentic: The Midwesternizing of Laura Bush in An American Wife by Ben Slote, Allegheny College
If historical novels place their characters and narrative facts on a sliding scale of recognizability for readers (Ellen Feldman's Lucy assuming our modest familiarity with FDR's late love affair, Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose requiring our ignorance of Mary Hallock Foote), Curtis Sittenfeld's 2008 novel An American Wife is, as a literary, cultural, and commercial act, premised on the hyper-recognizability of its real-life subject, Laura Bush. This premise carries obvious narrative obligations--a gallery of thinly veiled Bush familiars, requisite pieces of exposition, etc.; it also sets into curious relief the novel's departures from the national record, making these few stark strokes of conspicuous fiction do their own sort of biographical and cultural work. My talk will explore one such stroke, the conversion of both the Laura Bush and George Bush figures into natives of Wisconsin. This midwesternizing, I will argue, constitutes a kind of geographic passing, a thin veil of fictionalizing that, by the terms of its own recognizability, means to grant Laura Bush transcendent "realness" and the Bush regime authentic rehabilitation.
56.1. Political Fictions
4:00-5:30 p.m. (Grand Hall Meeting Room III)
Topic: Joan Didion and the Political Novel
Chair: Samuel Cohen, University of Missouri
Respondent: Mike Horton, University of Missouri
1. At the Far Frontiers of the Monroe Doctrine: Joan Didion's The Last Thing He Wanted by Samuel Cohen, University of Missouri
Didion's 1996 The Last Thing He Wanted is concerned with the facts of Cold War history but it is also just as concerned with the way contemporary Americans think and talk about that history. It does more than history: it reflects historically on the making of historical narrative, on how Americans understand and represent the past at the particular historical moment after the Cold War ends. I believe that this is due not only to the historical-mindedness of the 1990s but also to Didion's resistance to the triumphalist responses to the end of the Cold War. Didion's novel examines the way Americans constructed historical narratives during the Cold War and, carefully self-situated in the mid-1990s, it examines the way Americans continue to think about the Cold War after its end. In doing so, it suggests that endings obscure the role the present plays in the way Americans understand their past and, conversely but not paradoxically, the role understanding of the past plays in the way they act in the present.
2. Novelesse Oblige: The Politics of Authorship in Joan Didion's Democracy by Kate McIntyre, University of Missouri
In Mary McCarthy's review of Democracy in the New York Times, she points out that everyone in Democracy is an insider in one way or another, including Didion herself. Didion is doubly an insider, first in her role at Vogue and second as the author of this very self-conscious text. Insidership implies specialized knowledge to which only a select group of people have access. Didion has the specialized knowledge necessary to tell the story, and the power that inherently accompanies the knowledge, but surprisingly, she refuses to accept the full power of her role as author, instead making the reader privy to her false starts and fumblings. A book that tackles the flaws in the American democratic process becomes a truly democratic text.
3. Joan Didion's A Book of Common Prayer: Allegory and Political Fiction by Karen Steigman, Otterbein College
Graham Greene, in the prefatory dedication letter to his The Quiet American, insists we read this novel as one of his casual and tossed-off "entertainments"--that is, not as a political fiction but as a love story. Joan Didion's 1977 A Book of Common Prayer rereads The Quiet American, restaging Greene's central rivalry between two women (the ambivalently detached and dispassionate narrator, Grace Mendana, and the equally ambivalent American ingenue abroad, tourist Charlotte Douglas) on a fictional Caribbean island. In even more interesting ways Didion's novel restages the problematic status of political fiction. Indeed, Didion's very title, A Book of Common Prayer, points us precisely to the same allegorical relation between the personal and political registers that we have in Greene. As early modern scholar Ramie Targoff argues, the status of the common prayer book (and the attendant emergence of a vernacular reading public) raised questions about the early modern individual's personal relation to God. Didion's echo of that title brings us to consider a fundamental definition of political fiction in the relationship between the private and public self. In other words, Didion's title offers an allegory of reading political fiction on the indistinct political line between public lives and private selves.
57. Teaching Graphic Novels
4:00-5:30 p.m. (Missouri Pacific)
(See Session # 47 – 2:15 p.m., Friday)
58. Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature II
4:00-5:30 pm. (Zephyr Rocket)
Topic: Midwest Literature and Migration II
Chair: Marilyn Judith Atlas, Ohio University
1. They Seek a City: Midwestern Writers Migrate to 1930s Chicago by Bridget O'Rourke, Elmhurst College
My research focuses on the writers of the Chicago office of the WPA's Federal Writers' Project. The Chicago office of the Writer'' Project--like those in Boston, New York, and San Francisco--attracted many skilled and capable creative writers. During the late 1930s, the Illinois project was led by the most effective administrator of the state projects (John T. Frederick), and the Chicago office of the Illinois Writers' Project was one of the few racially integrated projects in the nation. Many writers of color got their start at the Chicago office of the Writers' Project--including Margaret Walker, Richard Wright, and Frank Yerby.
The African-American poet Arna Bontemps was already established professionally as a writer and teacher when he began work on the Writers' Project. This paper will explore Bontemps' collaboration with Jack Conroy, author of The Disinherited, a ground-breaking 1930s proletarian novel that fictionalized Conroy's own experiences as a coal miner at the Monkey's Nest camp in Missouri. Like Bontemps, Conroy migrated to Chicago from the South. Based on their research for the WPA's Illinois Guide, the two later collaborated on They Seek a City (1945), a history of African-American migration to the Midwest re-published in 1966 as Anyplace But Here. (Bontemps' preface to Anyplace But Here is online at
2. The Fabulous Fox and The Jewel Box: How Two St. Louis Landmarks Inform the Autobiographical Symbolism of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie by Rachel S. Hawley, Southern Illinois University
Tennessee Williams, T. S. Eliot, and Kevin Kline all have two very important things in common. They are all from St. Louis, and they have all done their best to make the world believe they are from anywhere, but... Despite his renaming of himself as a Southerner and migrating away from his hometown, Tennessee Williams couldn't get St. Louis out of his blood or his works. While most people associate Williams' plays as southern due to their exotically southern locales such as New Orleans (Streetcar Named Desire) and a Mississippi plantation (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), few notice that his most autobiographical play takes place in St. Louis. For this presentation I would like to look at The Glass Menagerie and discuss how he uses the landscapes in St. Louis (The Jewel Box, The Fox) to help construct the narrative arc of the play that most resembles his own life. The Jewel Box represents the glass curios of the title that represent his fragile sister and her value to his life. The Fox represents the screen that exists in the background of the play, revealing the subtext, which represents Williams' own conscience and the guilt he associates with the way he relates to his family. Together, these iconic St. Louis landmarks add an additional layer to the autobiographical symbolism often associated with this particular play. In fact Tom, who could be Williams' stand-in, is racked with guilt as he leaves his family behind at the end of the play might explain why he tries so hard to distance himself from the town where he still feels so much obligation and guilt. The St. Louis landmarks, then, serve as too-painful reminders of his family and the choices he had to make to free himself from the hold they had over him.
3. A Novel Worth Remembering and a Place Impossible to Forget: Dawn Powell's Dance Night, Lampton, Ohio, Midwest Fantasy and Midwest Migration by Marilyn Judith Atlas, Ohio University
Dawn Powell was born in Mount Gilead, Ohio but left the Midwest after she graduated from college and spent her adult years in Manhattan. Although she migrated to New York City, living much of her adult life in Greenwich Village, her writing, not surprisingly, often dealt with life in small Midwestern towns or with the lives of those transplanted to New York City from these small towns. She was a Midwest Modernist, a satirist who cared about the working and middle classes and portrayed them not as they wished to be but as she saw them. Her favorite of her own novels, Dance Night, came out in 1930 and received uneven reviews. It is this novel centered on an imaginary working-class town, Lampton, Ohio, that I plan on discussing in this panel: her examination of female desire, her use of the Midwest, her images of escape, fantasy, and entrapment, and her characters' attitudes toward the Midwest and migration.
59. What Counts as a Good Publication?: Figuring Out How and Where to Place Scholarly Work
4:00-5:30 p.m. (Illinois Central)
Chair: Devoney Looser, University of Missouri
- Professor Craig Dionne, Eastern Michigan University
Co-editor, Journal of Narrative Theory
- Professor Marina McKay, Washington University
Author of Modernism and World War II (Cambridge UP)
- Professor Nathan Grant, St. Louis University
Editor, African-American Review
- Professor Cheryl Ball, Illinois State University
Editor, Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology and Pedagogy
- Professor Devoney Looser, University of Missouri
Co-editor, Journal of Early Modern Cultural Studies
60. President’s Reception
5:30-6:30 p.m. (Regency C Ballroom)
Complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres, cash bar, hosted by the 2009 M/MLA President Jenifer S. Cushman.
61. President’s Keynote Address
6:30-8:00 p.m. (Regency B Ballroom)
Cary Wolfe, "Animal Studies, Biopolitics, and the Humanities"
Cary Wolfe is the Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie Professor English at Rice University. His books and edited collections include Critical Environments: Postmodern Theory and the Pragmatics of the "Outside" (1998), Zoontologies: The Question of the Animal (2003), both from the University of Minnesota Press, and Animal Rites: American Culture, The Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory (University of Chicago Press, 2003). A fourth book, What Is Posthumanism? will be appearing in 2009, and the collection The Other Emerson: New Approaches, Divergent Paths (co-edited with Branka Arsic) in 2010. He is founding editor of the series Posthumanities at the University of Minnesota Press.
62. Film Screening: The Naked Extremist / An Gaeilgeoir Nocht
Presented by Neasa Hardiman, Trinity College Dublin
8:00-9:30 p.m. (Regency B Ballroom)
The film follows a government inspector who realizes that Irish, the native language to which he has dedicated his life, is dying. When he meets a beautiful young radical, he abandons his wife and child to run away with her to the West Coast, where a new, more confrontational cultural movement is fomenting. There, he experiences a brief honeymoon as an anti-globalization arsonist and Che Guevara of minority languages before his bang of revolt peters out in a pathetic whimper...
Running time: 45 minutes