Author Archives: melus

CFP, MELUS Special Issue: Re-Thinking, Re-Reading, and Re-Seeing Ethnic Historical Fiction (2020)

Call for Papers: Re-Thinking, Re-Reading, and Re-Seeing Ethnic Historical Fiction (Special Issue of MELUS)

Guest Editors: Cathy J. Schlund-Vials (University of Connecticut, Storrs) and Jolie Sheffer (Bowling Green State University)

Deadline for Submission of Initial Proposal Abstracts: October 1, 2018

Deadline for Completed Essays: March 1, 2019

Anticipated Publication: 2020

We are in a golden age of historical fiction, with acclaimed literary novelists and graphic novelists exploring major events in the past from new perspectives. Ethnic American (and North American) writers have been particularly influential in this genre, in the process bringing new insights to major historical events from the past, including the Boxer Rebellion, the American Civil War, the Holocaust, the Vietnam War (US War in Vietnam), the Cultural Revolution, and more. Historical fiction always has the capacity to bring the past vividly to life and to reappraise specific events in light of new evidence. But our recent moment is distinguished by novelists uniting historical fiction with that of speculative fiction, imagining alternative histories or “counter-factual history.” These forays into the “dustbin of history” shine focused light on our present, bringing our current preoccupations – such as the insidiousness of white supremacy, the unresolved trauma of war, the demonization of refugees and immigrants – to light through their detailed re-creation and re-imagination of historical events.

Such creative forays and relevant foci figure keenly in the recent publication of works such as Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer, Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing, Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad, Karen Tei Yamashita’s I Hotel, Gene Luen Yang’s Boxers and Saints, among many more. These works not only have garnered accolades from prize committees and annual “best of” lists but also have gained large audiences. In sum, ethnic historical fiction has emerged as a vibrant site to contemplate the past/present dimensions of US racial struggle, formation, and empire.

Accordingly, this special issue will feature essays exploring specific authors and their revisionist accounts of historical events and what they reveal about the retrospective and prospective views of history.

What follows are some guiding questions for submissions:

  • How do recent ethnic American authors reappraise and rewrite historical events with the benefit of hindsight? What are the definitional distinctions between historical fiction, speculative fiction, or counter-factual history?
  • How do writers lay bare the racial legacies embedded in genre conventions? How do these authors revise and/or subvert these modes? How are ethnic American writers pushing form into new areas?
  • Is there anything distinctive about minority writers’ approaches to historical fiction? Does a comparative approach reveal patterns previously hidden?
  • Considering the contemporary moment, how have movements such as #blacklivesmatter, #sayhername, and #metoo challenged ethnic writers to grapple with the past and present in new ways? How have recent controversies involving previously beloved ethnic authors (such as Junot Díaz and Sherman Alexie) provoked new or renewed debates about how/whether readers and critics can (or should) separate the author from the work?
  • Do certain genres carry heavier ethical expectations or have the capacity for greater philosophical provocation?

Please submit 250-500 word abstracts to the co-editors (cathy.schlund-vials@uconn.edu and jsheffe@bgsu.edu) by October 1, 2018. After reviewing all of these proposals, the co-editors will invite up to 45 people to submit completed essays by March 1, 2018. These essays will then be peer reviewed as part of MELUS’s normal refereeing process. Ultimately, 8-10 will be selected for the special issue.

Completed essay submissions should be between 7,000 and 10,000 words (inclusive of notes and works cited). Shorter think pieces are also encouraged. Citations should follow the format of the MLA Style Manual 8th edition. Please do not include the author’s name anywhere in the manuscript. Essays under review at other journals or previously published in any form will not be considered for publication in MELUS. Please include an updated 250-word abstract with your final submission.

If invited to submit a full essay, you will be instructed to do so through the MELUS online manuscript system by March 1, 2019. The system can be accessed using the following URL: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/melus. In the “custom questions” section of the online submission form, please note that you are submitting to the CFP for the special issue on ETHNIC HISTORICAL FICTION. For questions about the issue, please contact Cathy Schlund-Vials (cathy.schlund-vials@uconn.edu) or Jolie A. Sheffer at jsheffe@bgsu.edu.

Call for Proposals, MELUS panel at MLA 2019

Call for Proposals

MLA 2019, Chicago, IL

January 3-6, 2019

The Immigrant Experience in Twenty-first Century Literatures of the U.S.

The precarity of the immigrant in the United States is now as pronounced as it has been in many decades. This call for proposals for a guaranteed MLA panel (organized by MELUS) seeks fresh and timely perspectives on how the recent experiences of immigrants are shaping the literary traditions of the U.S. All approaches to literature and narrative media are welcome. Please send a 250-word abstract and CV by 30 March 2018 to Christopher González (chris.gonzalez@usu.edu). Must be a member of MELUS at the time of the MLA 2019 Convention.

Call for Papers for MELUS 2019 Special Issue: New Directions in Irish American Literature and Culture

 Guest Editor: James Byrne
Deadline for Submissions: 15 April 2018
Anticipated Publication: 2019

In his preliminary note to the 1993 MELUS special issue on Irish American Literature, Charles Fanning wrote, “In hundreds of works as accomplished as any in American literature, [Irish American] writers have described and considered the experience and changing self-image of the American Irish. The result is a literature the study of which has much to teach us about ethnic otherness in American life” (1).Since this issue, not only has the number of works written about the self-image of the American Irish continued to grow, more significantly, the ways in which we’ve come to understand this self-image has been exponentially developed and deepened. Along with the list of exciting new transnational writers of the Irish American image has come a new and often challenging critical reflection on the construct and contours of the Irish American ethnic subject. Issues such as race, gender, space, performativity, and national sympathies have been reexamined as part of an engaged study of the Irish American stereotype as it has developed over the eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. New studies have emerged in Irish American autobiography, interethnic relations, and the Irish American subject in the popular and political press. This new issue seeks to gather and reflect some of these new directions in Irish American studies.  We invite broad understandings and a varied approach to the theme of this issue. Topics to be addressed might include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Irish American literature and culture in a multi-ethnic context
  • Interethnic relations in Irish American literature and culture
  • Race and Irish American ethnicity
  • Gender, sexuality, and Irish American ethnicity
  • Transnational Irish American literature
  • The Irish language in Irish American culture
  • The ‘new wave’ of Irish American writers, dramatists, filmmaker, artists, etc.
  • Performance and performativity in Irish American literature
  • Irish and American nationalism
  • Staging Irishness in literature, drama, film, art, music, photography, television, etc.
  • The role of space in registering Irish American ethnicity
  • Private and public identity
  • Popular culture and the Irish American subject
  • The American press and the Irish American subject
  • Ideology and the Irish American subject
  • The Irish American as paradigmatic ethnic American citizen
  • The conflicts of generational ethnicity
  • Irish American autobiography

Submissions should be between 7,000 and 10,000 words, including notes and works cited, prepared according to the MLA Style Manual 8th edition. Please do not include the author’s name anywhere in the manuscript. Essays under review at other journals or previously published in any form will not be considered for publication in MELUS. Please also include a 250-word abstract with your submission. All submissions will go through MELUS’s normal refereeing process.

Please submit completed papers through the MELUS online manuscript system: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/melus by 15 April 2018. Also, you will need to indicate in the “custom questions” section of the online submission form that you are responding to the CFP for the special issue on New Directions in Irish American Literature and Culture. For questions about the issue, please contact James Byrne (byrne_james@wheatoncollege.edu).

 

CONFERENCE TRAVEL AWARDS, MELUS 2018

Several travel awards are available: the Katharine Rodier Graduate Student Travel Award, the MELUS Graduate Student Travel Award, and the MELUS President’s Contingent Faculty Travel Award. To submit a travel award application, please email your conference abstract toKaylee Jangula Mootz, MELUS Graduate Student Representative, at kaylee.mootz@uconn.edu and specify the travel award(s) for which you wish to apply.

Visit also the conference website, and note that the deadline for submitting a conference abstract is November 1, 2018.

Conference website: https://spadaka.wixsite.com/melus2019

Congratulations to MELUS authors and editor!

Congratulations to Karen E.H. Skinazi and Lori Harrison-Kahan for winning the The Don D. Walker Prize this year for their MELUS essay, “Miriam Michelson’s Yellow Journalism and the Multi-Ethnic West” (2015). Congratulations also to Jaime Javier Rodríguez for winning an Honorable Mention for his MELUS essay, “El ‘Adiós Tejas’ in El Corrido Pensilvanio: Migration, Place, and Politics in South Texas” (2015). The Don D. Walker Prize is sponsored by the Western Literature Association, and is given annually to the best essay published in western American literary studies during the previous calendar year. The essays were nominated by the MELUS editor-in-chief, Gary Totten. Congratulations to all!

MELUS CFP for Special Issue, Twenty-First Century Perspectives on US Ethnic Literatures, 2018

MELUS Call for Papers
Special Issue: Twenty-First Century Perspectives on US Ethnic Literatures
(A commemorative special issue in honor of MELUS Emeritus Editor Joseph T. Skerrett, Jr.)

Access pdf document here: melus_ special issue_ skerrett_cfp

Guest Editors: A Yęmisi Jimoh and Angelo Robinson

Deadline for submission: 31 August 2016
Anticipated publication: 2018

With more than a decade and a half into the twenty-first century, the editors of this MELUS special issue seek scholarly papers that can contribute to a critical exploration of the significance of multiethnic literatures in the academy, the nation, and our increasingly connected world. We seek papers that examine or/and theorize US ethnic literatures through engagement with concerns and questions shaping literary study in the twenty-first century. While emphasizing scholarly perspectives informed by our contemporary times, we welcome a broad range of approaches (ranging from theoretical examinations to formal literary structures) and themes in essays covering all periods, all US ethnic literatures, and a variety of genres, including poetry, plays, ethnic travel writing, children’s literature, essay writing, neoslave narratives, short story collections, film, and relatively new genres such as the graphic novel.

This special issue will also commemorate the teaching and scholarship of Joseph T. Skerrett, Jr. in his service to MELUS as president and editor. His influence on the study of US ethnic literatures, particularly in the areas of identity politics, cultural memory, and narrative structure is immense. In celebration of these contributions and more, we seek papers that present forward-thinking approaches to societal gender imperatives, ethnicity, race, class, sexuality, culture, and immigration/citizenship.

With the above objectives in mind, we are looking for submissions that could address, yet are not limited to, these questions:

 How do twenty-first century demographics affect conversations on ethnicity and race?

 Are there new ways, informed by our twenty-first century moment, to engage literature when considering issues such as race, class, gender, and sexuality?

 How has the state of ethnic literatures evolved during this century and how do our pedagogical practices reflect these changes?

 What is the landscape of gender debates in US ethnic literatures?

 How are ethnic masculinities portrayed in US ethnic literatures?

 Who are the emerging multiethnic writers in the United States and what stories are they telling or what different perspectives are they presenting in literature? Consider writers such as Daniel Black, Beth H. Piatote, Bryan Thao Worra, Debra Magpie Earling, Jade Chang, Colson Whitehead, lê thi diem thúy, Linda LeGarde Grover, Mohja Kahf, Claudia Rankine, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Evelina Zuni Lucero, Randall Kenan, Paul Beatty, and others.

 Are there new ways to engage the works of established writers such as Richard Wright, Percival Everett, Gwendolyn Brooks, Ernest Gaines, Sherman Alexie, Zora Neale Hurston, Gish Jen, Toni Cade Bambara, Leslie Marmon Silko, Chang-Rae Lee, Toni Morrison, N. Scott Momaday, Walter Mosley, Gerald Vizenor, Phillis Wheatley, Langston Hughes, Vikram Chandra, Ishmael Reed, Maxine Hong Kingston, Alice Walker, David Henry Hwang, Zitkala-Sa, August Wilson, Joy Harjo, Ralph Ellison, Mitsuye Yamada, Jhumpa Lahiri, James Baldwin, Gloria Naylor, Maria Helena Viramontes, Shawn Wong, Louise Erdrich, or other well-known writers?

 How have ethnic literary and cultural movements (Afro-futurism, Native American Renaissance, Pinto Poets, and others) progressed during the twenty-first century?

 Are there new ideas in ethnic feminisms?

 What is the role of popular fiction (mystery, romance, speculative/science fiction, urban fiction, and so forth) in the twenty-first century literary landscape?

 How are US ethnic literatures representing sexuality and the ethnic/raced body?

 How are citizenship and immigration (e.g. post-911 ethnicity in the US; racial justice; the Confederate flag in South Carolina and across the US) represented in ethnic US literatures?

 What role do cultural themes such as food, ethnic gardens, religion, art, music, or travel play in literature by ethnic writers?

 What are the new critical issues in multiethnic literary studies resulting from increased literary production by diverse voices in US ethnic literatures, including new immigrant populations that have resulted in an expanded US citizenry and a broadened ethnic literary environment?

The editors welcome theoretical examinations of these questions/topics. Submissions should be between 7,000 and 10,000 words, including notes and works cited, prepared according to the MLA Style Manual 7th edition. Please do not include the author’s name anywhere in the manuscript. Essays under review at other journals or previously published in any form will not be considered for publication in MELUS. Please also include a 250-word abstract with your submission. All submissions will go through MELUS’s normal refereeing process.

Please submit completed papers through the MELUS online manuscript system: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/melus by 31 August 2016. Also, you will need to indicate in the “custom questions” section of the online submission form that you are responding to the CFP for the special issue on Twenty-First Century Perspectives on US Ethnic Literatures. For questions about the issue, please contact Angelo Robinson (arobinso@goucher.edu) or Yęmisi Jimoh (jimoh@afroam.umass.edu).

Dr. Lori Harrison-Kahan, new MELUS book review editor

We welcome Dr. Lori Harrison-Kahan to the role of book review editor for MELUS and thank Dr. Catherine Fung for her three years of service in this position. Dr. Harrison-Kahan is an Associate Professor of the Practice of English at Boston College. A recipient of the American Studies Association’s Gloria E. Anzaldúa Award for Independent Scholars and Contingent Faculty, she is the author of The White Negress: Literature, Minstrelsy, and the Black-Jewish Imaginary (Rutgers University Press/American Literatures Initiative, 2011), which received an honorable mention for the Society for the Study of American Women Writers Book Award. She is also the co-editor with Josh Lambert of “The Future of Jewish American Literary Studies,” a special issue of MELUS (Summer 2012). Her essays and book reviews have been published in American Jewish History, Callaloo, Cinema Journal, Jewish Social Studies, Journal of American History, Legacy, MELUS, Modern Drama, Modern Fiction Studies, Modern Language Studies, Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, and The James Joyce Quarterly. Her work also appears in the anthologies Styling Texts: Dress and Fashion in Literature; Cultures of Femininity in Modern Fashion; Passing Interest: Racial Passing in U.S. Fiction, Memoirs, Television, and Film, 1990-2010; The Race and Media Reader; The Edinburgh Companion to Modern Jewish Fiction; and the MLA’s Approaches to Teaching the Novels of Nella Larsen. Lori holds an A.B. from Princeton University and a Ph.D. from Columbia University. She has previously taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, Connecticut College, and Brandeis University.

Please send books for review to the following address:

Lori Harrison-Kahan
English Department
Boston College
Stokes Hall—4th Floor, South
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

MELUS 2018 Conference Call for Abstracts

Join us for the 32nd Annual MELUS Conference in Las Vegas

Conference Theme: “TransCulture”

May 3-6, 2018

Hosted by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Tuscany Suites & Casino, 255 E. Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89169

Deadline for Abstracts: November 15, 2017

Las Vegas is a transcultural city, rich in racial and ethnic diversity, and UNLV has recently been ranked as one of the most diverse college campuses in the nation. As one of the last major US metropolitan areas built from the ground up in the twentieth-century, Las Vegas is also a transformative and transient city in the American Southwest, where issues of mobility are constantly negotiated and identities are reimagined.

We welcome proposals for individual papers and panels on the broad spectrum of transcultural issues in multi-ethnic literature. Considering the concept of “trans” as relating to that which moves across, beyond, or through, or which enacts a change, topics might include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Transamerican and hemispheric collaborations and tensions in multi-ethnic texts
  • Transnational and transhistorical dimensions of the multi-ethnic West
  • Transformative landscapes and spaces, including, among others, deserts, cities, highways, and borderlands, and in relation to issues of indigenous sovereignty and land claims
  • Transience and permanence in migrant, immigrant, refugee, and diasporic experience, and in the context of debates about citizenship and borders
  • Transgender and LGBQ identities and experience in multi-ethnic literature and culture
  • Transcultural literary representations of popular culture and the entertainment industry
  • Transvestism, performativity, and spectacles of gender and sexuality
  • Transportation, transit, and mobility in the multi-ethnic West
  • Transatlantic routes, identities, and experiences in multi-ethnic literature, including economic and technological considerations
  • Transformations in the definitions, status, and criticism of multi-ethnic US literature, and in relation to indigenous and national literary traditions
  • Translation and multilingualism in multi-ethnic texts
  • Transversing, transgressing, and experimenting with forms and genres, including, but not limited to, film, graphic narratives, spoken word poetry, and multi-genre works

We also welcome proposals on all aspects of multi-ethnic US literature. More information about housing and guest speakers will be available soon. Please send 250-300 word abstracts by Nov. 15, 2017 to melus2018@gmail.com. For more information about MELUS, The Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States, visit www.melus.org; for more information about the MELUS journal, visit https://academic.oup.com/melus. We hope to see you in Vegas in 2018!