call for papers

CFP: “Slow Violence and Urban Ecology” (Northeast MLA, April 2018, Pittsburgh), Submission Deadline 9/30/17

Photograph: “Le Plan d’Eau à Metz,” Kristina BEDIJS, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license,

This session is inspired by the work of Rob Nixon, the Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Family Professor in the Humanities and the Environment and author of Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor (2013), who will deliver the keynote address, “Environmental Martyrdom and the Defenders of the Forest,” at the April 2018 convention of the Northeast Modern Language Association. Therefore, this session is an excellent opportunity for scholars in ecocriticism to share their research with NeMLA’s audience, as well as to attend Professor Nixon’s address. A preliminary summary of Professor Nixon’s address topic is available here.

Please forward the full call for papers below to potentially interested contributors. 300-word abstracts are due online September 30, 2017, at If you have any questions, please email me at or message me on Twitter.


CFP: “New Approaches in Zombie Studies” (Northeast MLA, April 2018, Pittsburgh), submission deadline 9/30/17

I had proposed this session in April because, with the Northeast Modern Language Association meeting in Pittsburgh, where George Romero filmed Night of the Living Dead, it seemed appropriate to consider how his work and those of other artists have altered what we know about zombies in art and popular culture. Sadly, since this session was approved, Romero passed away. I hope this session, in some small way, can honor his accomplishments and critically assess his work in the context of other texts centered on the living dead.

While this session welcomes proposals that look at Romero’s zombies or the fascination with zombies in Pittsburgh, it is opened to all recent critical approaches to zombie narrative, from Haitian folklore to iZombie and The Walking Dead–and all in-between.

Please forward the full call for papers below to potentially interested contributors. 300-word abstracts are due online September 30, 2017, at If you have any questions, please email me at or message me on Twitter.

Artwork credits: George Romero (Day of the Dead; credit: Rex), Solomon Grundy (Faces of Evil: Solomon Grundy #1 March 2009 by Shane Davis), iZombie (CW / Warner Bros / Vertigo), Space Dandy (BONES / Bandai Namco)


CFP: “Hollywood F. Scott Fitzgerald” and “New Approaches to Teaching Fitzgerald” (Northeast MLA, April 2018, Pittsburgh), submission deadline 9/30/17

The Last Tycoon is out on Amazon–so why not submit an abstract about it?

While F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short stories and The Great Gatsby continue to dominate scholarship and teaching, these conference calls for papers look at a wider scope of his literary output, including the stories and scripts he developed while in Hollywood.

The CFP “New Approaches to Teaching Fitzgerald” welcomes a wide range of proposals. And the scope of “Hollywood F. Scott Fitzgerald” is broad enough to focus on multiple ways in which Fitzgerald and California intersect: film adaptations, the place of Hollywood as a setting in his fiction like The Last Tycoon, and his last years living in the state.

300-word abstracts for “New Approaches to Teaching Fitzgerald” and “Hollywood F. Scott Fitzgerald” are due September 30th at those links. Please consider sharing the full CFPs below–and also consider submitting to NeMLA’s special event featuring F. Scott Fitzgerald biofiction novelist Stewart O’Nan!


NeMLA CFP Deadline 9/30: Composition Sessions on Student Writing

We are less than one week away from the September 30th deadline for all calls for papers at the Northeast Modern Language Association.

Submit abstracts about composition pedagogy!

The 47th annual meeting of NeMLA will be held in Hartford, Connecticut, March 17 to 20. The full list of more than 400 CFPs is available at CFP List (, and I have advertised some sessions my peers and I are organizing (and posted some advice for writing abstracts and on one topic).

I also wanted to advertise two sessions organized by my colleague, Heather Urbanski at Fitchburg State University. Both sessions focus on composition classroom practices directed to successful student writing. I have included both CFPs with direct links for submitting abstracts. Both NeMLA members and non-members may submit to as many sessions as desired, with a free CFP List NeMLA account that can be created here.

Please forward these CFPs to anyone you know who would be interested in submitting.

Evaluating Student Writing (Roundtable)

Have you ever wondered, “How on Earth can I grade this poem? Can creativity even be quantified?” Or, “how should revision fit into the overall course grade?” In this roundtable, writing instructors from a variety of fields (rhetoric and composition; technical writing; creative writing; and more) will discuss their systems for assessing and evaluating student writing in the college classroom. Both conceptual and pragmatic concerns will be addressed for making the evaluation and feedback process an integral part of our writing pedagogy.

Writing instructors from various fields (rhetoric and composition; technical writing; creative writing; and more) are invited to share their systems for assessing and evaluating student writing in the college classroom at both conceptual and pragmatic levels.

The Student as Writer: Embodiment, Mindfulness, and Disability in the Composition Classroom

In this session, we review ways to approach the First Year Composition and other writing classrooms by focusing on the students as embodied writers, taking student-centered pedagogy to a new level. Areas of interest for papers include, but are not limited to, mindfulness, yoga, meditation, and disability studies. A combination of theoretical and practical perspectives will be employed to locate the student as embodied writer within the disciplinary tradition.

Taking student-centered pedagogy to a new level, presenters review both theoretical and practical perspectives on students as embodied writers in the classroom. Topics include meditation, disability studies, and mindfulness, among others. A combination of theoretical and practical perspectives will be employed to locate the student as embodied writer within the disciplinary tradition.

On Ruined Film Adaptations (NeMLA 2016)

Ally Carter offers a look at the ekphrastic challenges moving from text to screen. 

My conference preparations for both the Modern Language Association and the Northeast Modern Language Association have been keeping me busy, including one call for papers I have for the session “Ruined! On Failed Adaptations from Page to Screen” that I’m co-organizing with Emily Lauer at Suffolk County Community College. 

(Shameless plug: submit your abstracts about failed film, TV, and online adaptations of books, short stories, and more here before September 30!)

As we’re developing the panel, Emily forwarded me this post by the author of Heist Society, Ally Carter, regarding the challenges of adapting content from text to screen. 

Carter points out that “no film adaptation has ever changed one word of a novel–that the novel is and will always be the same”—primarily because of the larger number of participants in the process of making a film (director, producers, studios) than the number of participants in the process of writing a book (author, editor). 

To clarify her point, Carter uses the analogy that adapting a book to a film is like the chemistry cooking. For example, if you are adapting Harry Potter for film, you can change the recipe in some spots, such as replacing pecans with walnuts (changing a character’s age, an actor who varies just slightly in appearance, a minor change of location) and still have a quality product that satisfies most of the reasonable expectations. But you can’t replace baking soda with baking powder (replacing one character of a certain age and gender with another one due to studio dictates) and expect the result to be successful: 

I guess the key question is this: “Will this change impact other aspects of the story?”

Will this change the chemistry?

“We found a great young actress for Hermione but she doesn’t need braces.”

—Walnut Change

“We decided to set Hogwarts in Ireland instead of Scotland.”

–Walnut Change (an unnecessary change, but a Walnut Change nonetheless)

“We decided to give Harry a spunky kid brother because there was a kid brother in Jurassic World and everyone loves a kid brother.”

–Baking Soda Change

Read the rest of Carter’s argument here, and consider it as you work on your abstracts by the September 30th deadline!

Call for Papers at Northeast MLA: Failed Film Adaptations, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Superheroes of the Households, and More! (Deadline: September 30, 2015)

Conferences are keeping me busy.

Not only will Keith McCleary at UC San Diego and I be hosting the roundtable “Developments in Comics Pedagogy” at the January 2016 meeting of the Modern Language Association in Austin, Texas, but I get to work on additional panels about comics, graphic narratives, and now film adaptations at another convention.

The Summer 2015 newsletter for the Northeast Modern Language Association, that I co-designed and edited, is arriving soon in members’ mailboxes, with a long list of 400 CFPs for sessions the organization is hosting at its March 2016 meeting in Hartford, Connecticut. You can read (and submit to) the CFPs online now, I’m scheduling daily tweets of CFPs @northeastMLA

But I also want to share some CFPs for sessions I’m co-organizing or that I have discussed with colleagues. I have included links and descriptions of those CFPs below. The deadline is September 30, 2015:

The Marvel Cinematic Universe as LiteratureWith dynamic individual superhuman characters populating a world of complex, interwoven mythologies and origin stories, the films and television series of Marvel Comics Studios experiment with long-form transmedia storytelling. With twelve films and three television series released in less than a decade, all adhering to the same continuity and fictional universe, how can the Marvel Cinematic Universe reveal or offer fresh insight into the ways in which modern cinematic storytelling functions as literature? Approaches may include analysis of one or more films; storytelling across genre and medium; adaptations of the original Marvel Comics to film and television; and applications of various schools of literary and media theory to MCU properties.

The Monster in the House: Domestic Ideology in Superhero NarrativesIn worlds full of superhuman heroes, mythological imaginary creatures and battle narratives of epic scope, what is the role of the domestic? This session seeks proposals investigating the ways in which domestic spaces and domestic ideology function within superhero narratives as sites of union and/or conflict between the human, the subhuman, and the superhuman.

Race and Comics: The Politics of Representation in Sequential ArtThis panel welcomes papers that examine the treatment of race and racial relations in comic books, whether in superhero narratives, graphic memoirs, web comics, or other forms of sequential art both inside and outside the United States. How are comics used to document and represent racialized identities? How have the medium and its surrounding fan communities adapted earlier content to speak to current topics?

“Ruined!” On Failed Adaptations from Page to ScreenThis session will explore adaptations that fail in some way. Among our goals, we would like to identify what could be productive about failed adaptations. How do such failures identify what not to do, and can an adaptation that fails to be faithful to its source material still produce a valuable, worthwhile text? We are particularly interested in proposals that look at the adaptation of older artistic and literary forms in online and/or interactive content.

In addition, I’m happy to see NeMLA feature more panels related to comics: this has been helpful for anyone with an abstract that is related to graphic narratives, as it increases the chances that interested persons can find a session on comics related to their topic, or can find a session that would be more than happy to feature presentations that use comics as their primary texts. I want to see this practice continue at NeMLA, and I am happy to see it take hold at other conferences. 

The deadline is September 30, 2015. Remember that NeMLA now accepts abstracts only submitted to their web site; the links above take you directly to each CFP, and all you need to submit is to register for a free NeMLA user account, for which you may sign up at those links. If you know anyone interested in submitting, please forward these CFP web links via email or social media. 

CFP: Developments in Comics Pedagogy (MLA 2016)

I am pleased to announce that a colleague and I are proposing a special session for the 2016 meeting of the Modern Language Association in Austin, Texas.

Keith McCleary at UC San Diego and I previously had organized, with K. Wayne Yang, at UC San Diego, a similar session at the Northeast Modern Language Association, which featured a productive discussion with comics creators and teachers on innovative pedagogical practices for comics, graphic novels, and other sequential art in the production and appreciation of comics. We look forward to bringing this discussion to the MLA.

Towards forming a roundtable featuring teachers passionate about their teaching of comics, we appreciate feedback. If you have suggestions for how to improve our CFP to best address the current debates in comics pedagogy, please email us at and

The brief CFP and the extended description are below.

MLA 2016 (Austin, Texas, January 7-10): “Developments in Comics Pedagogy”

This special session is a roundtable that focuses on innovative teaching practices of the production, research, and appreciation of comics. Submit a 200- to 350-word statement summarizing your approaches to teaching comics by March 1, 2015, to both Keith McCleary ( and Derek McGrath (



And speaking of writing abstracts for conferences–don’t forget that abstracts for sessions of the Northeast Modern Language Association are due tomorrow, Tuesday, September 30.

So why not submit to my CFP regarding the use of humor in comics and superhero narratives?