#NeMLA18: “Edgar Allan Poe and Race,” Fri Apr 13 8:30 AM

Wake up early Friday, April 13, for a dynamic set of presentations at the 49th annual meeting of the Northeast Modern Language Association in Pittsburgh!

Special thanks to the Poe Studies Association for supporting this session.

“Edgar Allan Poe and Race” will meet at the Omni William Penn in the Three Rivers Room, 8:30 to 9:45 AM. This session will start with a look at one of Poe’s first published works, Tamerlane (the eponymous conqueror featured above), look at the representations of race in “Murders in the Rue Morgue” and Pym, and also look at some of Poe’s last publications for, of all places, an abolitionist newspaper.

Below are the titles of presentations. If you would like more information, email or tweet @dereksmcgrath.

  • “Edgar Allan Poe’s Last Publications in the Abolitionist Newspaper Flag of Our Union” Derek McGrath, SUNY University at Buffalo
  • “The Haunting Illogic of Ratiocination: The Invisibility of the Black Body in Poe’s ‘Murders'” Alex Moskowitz, Boston College
  • “Pym as Global Communicator: The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket” Lisa Weddell, Duquesne University

Fandom Report for Thursday, September 15, 2016

Jojo uncensored on Toonami, Jessica Jones on Blu-Ray overseas, and more news!

I’m wrapping up something I’ve been trying to write for a bit about the nexus of academia and fan culture. And since I have a small delay on the next LokiCast, I wanted to post something else this week: I read a lot of news in pop culture and fandom, so here is a wrap-up of this week, covering a bit of scholarship on fandom, comics, and television, and a lot on news updates about Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, DC, and Marvel.

Headlines, commentary, and rambling are below.

Did I miss some major news? Message me on WordPress or Twitter @dereksmcgrath.



I’ll be at Animate Florida this weekend. I’m not presenting there, but in addition to appearances by actors, illustrators, and writers, there are panels on LGBT and disability representation in comics and fandom.


There is a CFP for a new academic volume on Monty Python.


Good Luck on the Job Search!


Today, the Modern Language Association has posted its job listings. As with every year, the job market is competitive and challenging, professionally and personally. Self-care is vital because you likely will be stressed: there are always fewer jobs than you hope there would be in your field, and the range of advice you’ll receive from colleagues and mentors will seem to contradict itself.

So here is some general advice that will probably contradict something you already heard!

Do you have additional advice to share for the job market? (I could certainly use some.) Message me here or on Twitter @dereksmcgrath.


CFP: Comics/Graphic Narrative Sessions at NEMLA 2017, Baltimore (Deadline 9/30/2016)

UPDATE, 7/10/16, 7:01 PM EST: Added “Teaching bandes dessinées as Literature”
UPDATE, 7/13/16, 10:46 AM EST: Added
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: 20 Years Later and Where We Went” and “Transmedia Storytelling: Questioning Canon in 21st-century Popular Culture Narratives”

The Northeast Modern Language Association continues its work to expand scholarly discussions about comics and graphic narratives. Session proposals for the upcoming Baltimore conference, meeting March 23 to 26, include panels organized and chaired by my colleagues Rafael Ponce-Cordero, Emily Lauer, and Lisa Perdigao, as well as one roundtable I’m co-organizing with Mary Ellen Iatropoulos on representations of disabilities in superhero narratives.

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.

Have I forgotten a comics-related NeMLA session to add? Please email me at or tweet me at @dereksmcgrath.


Preparing for Your Conference: For Presentations in Literature, Language, and the Humanities

I continue to receive feedback regarding my guide for how to draft and submit abstracts for successful placement on a range of conference panels on literature, language, and the humanities. I appreciate the responses, suggestions, and alternative methods for how to revise seminar papers and developing articles to write presentations for conferences. Please keep the suggestions coming!

Speaking with one colleague recently, our discussion turned to practices for how to write the actual conference paper itself, and how to be ready for the conference itself. The briefer advice is, for a 15- to 20-minute talk, to have a hard copy of your presentation ranging from five to ten pages. Skew more to fewer pages if you are giving your first 15-minute presentation and especially if you are prone to improvise. And be cautious of improvisation: this approach is necessary for roundtables but less effective for paper presentations that are timed and must include as much clear information as possible within a set period of time.

Below I offer (and updated here) thorough advice for what to do in the months, weeks, days, and minutes leading up to your conference presentation. This topic is on my mind right now because of a lot of prep time I need (I’m presenting at the MLA again in January, an Edgar Allan Poe conference in February, and the Northeast MLA in April), so I plan to update this post in the future. For now, keep these ideas in mind, especially if you too are heading to MLA this year.

And let me know how you prepare for a conference. Comment below, email me, or post on Twitter.

Thanks to the guidance of Michael Harrawood at the Wilkes Honors College at Florida Atlantic University; Hilary Edwards Lithgow at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill; Ayesha Ramachandran at Yale University; and Susan Scheckel at Stony Brook University.