CFP: Edgar Allan Poe sessions at NeMLA 2017, Baltimore (Deadline 9/30/2016)

The 48th annual meeting of the Northeast Modern Language Association will be March 23 to 26, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland. As one of Edgar Allan Poe’s homes, the city provides opportunities for discussion about the author’s life and his works. With that goal in mind, many of us are organizing sessions about approaches to researching and teaching Poe. (I’m organizing the session “The Pop Culture Afterlife of Edgar Allan Poe.”)

Please consider submitting 300-word abstracts and brief biographical statements to the following sessions, and please forward these calls for papers to interested scholars. Submissions are due September 30, 2016, at CFP List. Links for submitting abstracts and bios to each session are below.

Participants may submit paper abstracts to more than one NeMLA session; participants may present in no more than one session of the same type but may present a paper as part of a panel and also participate on a roundtable or creative session. More information is available at NeMLA’s web site.


Teaching Poe: His Social Commentaries,  Detective, and Science Fiction  (Roundtable)

Chair: Annette Magid (SUNY Erie Community College)

The focus of this roundtable is to discuss pedagogical techniques that can interest students in Poe’s detective and science fiction stories as well as his social commentaries. As we move into the twenty-first century, pedagogical techniques become even more critical in order to preserve a body of work that is at once canonical and current. Which of Poe’s works are most successfully taught, and how is this accomplished?


Poe and the Senses (Panel)

Chair: Susan Elizabeth Sweeney (College of the Holy Cross)

This panel explores the senses in Poe’s work, whether his powerfully suggestive descriptions of sensory experience involve acute sensitivity, overwhelming sensory stimuli, sensory deprivation, the dimness or evanescence of certain images or sounds, or the persistence of particular sensory stimuli in the memory. Papers could address evocations of any of the five major senses in Poe’s work, as well as related topics such as embodied consciousness, synaesthesia, kinaesthesia, and other forms of sensory experience such as pain or intoxication. In general, the panel will investigate how Poe describes various intense sensory experiences in order to evoke kindred sensations in his readers.


The Pop Culture Afterlife of Edgar Allan Poe (Panel)

Chair: Derek McGrath (SUNY Stony Brook)

Edgar Allan Poe is a zombie: his themes, tropes, stories, tone, and arguments persist long after his death, not only in subsequent poetry, short stories, and criticism but also in film, television, music, and new media. This session welcomes approaches to reading Poe’s influence forward into later popular culture, in particular strategies for incorporating works of current popular culture in the classroom when teaching Poe.


Poe and the City (Roundtable)

Chair: Susan Elizabeth Sweeney (College of the Holy Cross)

This roundtable focuses on Poe’s representations of cities and city-dwellers as well as his personal connection to several cities. Participants could contribute presentations on Poe’s urban detective stories, his attitude toward crowds, spectacles, and the flaneur; his attention to details of the urban setting (ranging from architecture to paved streets, gaslight, and street signs); his imaginary accounts of cities like Paris and Edinburgh; and his invention of villages such as Rattleborough or Vondervotteimitis. Participants could also discuss his affiliation with different cities in his career as an editor, his relations with the New York and Boston literati, and the influence of specific cities on his life and work. Since the NeMLA conference takes place in Baltimore, presentations on Poe’s relationship to that city—where he first began to develop as a writer of fiction, where he met and married his cousin Virginia Clemm, and where he died in 1849—are especially welcome.


Poe and Pym in Black and White (Panel)

Chair: Jennifer McFarlane Harris (Xavier University)

This panel seeks papers that will explore the “Africanist presence” in Edgar Allan Poe’s works. Papers that engage The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket and its intertexts (e.g., Mat Johnson’s Pym) are particularly welcome. Panelists are invited to consider the function of hybrid genres, mixed-race or race-shifting characters, the stubbornness of the black/white binary in American racial thought, and how Poe’s works—in light of Toni Morrison’s critical framework—might illustrate the social construction of race in literary terms. Please submit a 300-word abstract and a short bio.

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