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Calls for Papers


Call for Papers:

April 8, 2016

The conference hopes to broaden the scope of American literature, opening it to more complex geographies, and to a variety of genres and media. The impetus comes partly from a survey of what is currently in the field: it is impossible to read the work of Junot Diaz and Edwidge Danticat, Robert Hass and Jorie Graham, Dave Eggers and Jhumpa Lahiri without seeing that, for all these authors, the reference frame is no longer simply the United States, but a larger, looser, more contextually varied set of coordinates, populated by laboring bodies, migrating faiths, generational sagas, memories of war, as well as the accents of unforgotten tongues, the taste and smell of beloved foods and spices.

The twenty-first century is a good century to think about American literature in the world. But other centuries are equally fertile ground, as the writings of Anne Bradstreet, Margaret Fuller, Herman Melville, Edith Wharton, Mark Twain, Richard Wright, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, Langston Hughes, and Elizabeth Bishop make abundantly clear. To study these and countless other authors is to see that the United States and the world are neither separate nor antithetical, but part of the same analytic fabric. Our conference explores these extended networks through many channels: from the cultural archives circulating across the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Caribbean, to the dynamic interactions between indigenous populations and those from other continents; from the institutions of print, to the tangled ecologies of literature, art, theater, music, and film, to the digital globalism of the present moment.

The conference is generously supported by the Beinecke Library, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the English Department, the American Studies Program, the African American Studies Department, the Ethnicity, Race, and Migration Program, the Comparative Literature Department, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, the Italian Department, the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, and the Film Studies Program at Yale University. We offer a $300 travel stipend to those coming from outside the tri-state area. Conference attendees are also invited to three related events: a research workshop with Melissa Barton, Curator at the Beinecke Library; a publication workshop with Gordon Hutner, editor of American Literary History; and a "Scholars as Writers" workshop with Stephen Burt, Professor of English, Harvard University, and frequent contributor to the New Yorker and the New York Times.

Please send a 1-page abstract to by December 1.

 The Twelfth Annual Yale University American Art Graduate Symposium

Theme: Scarcity 

Symposium Date: April 16, 2016 

Keynote Speaker: Krista Thompson, Weinberg College Board Visitors Professor, Department of Art History, Northwestern University

Although scarcity would seem to hinder artistic production, such a condition could be considered a catalyst for both artists and art historians. A host of environmental circumstances—including economic crises, ecological disasters, war and social conflict—have affected artists and craftsmen in the creation, completion, and marketing of their work. Art historical analysis is also shaped by limitations, ranging from a dearth of primary sources and biographical details to the rarity of works of art themselves.  

The Twelfth Annual Yale University American Art Graduate Symposium invites papers that examine scarcity, shortage, and lack in the arts and material culture of the Americas, as well as their impact on American art history. How does a focus on scarcity—both its realities and its depictions—contribute to an expanded understanding of artistic production and reception in North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean? What are the critical implications of such a focus? We welcome submissions from graduate students working across all time periods and media.

Possible topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Scarcity, rarity, or shortage of materials, skill, or labor in artistic production
  • Representations and rhetoric of poverty, famine, destruction, or deprivation in the arts
  • Omissions, voids, or absences in the archive
  • Preservation, restoration, conservation, and other measures to prevent the loss of information or objects
  • Improvisation, recycling, or reuse in response to scarcity or lack
  • The marketplace as an engine of scarcity, rarity, and luxury
  • The recovery or revival of lost materials or techniques
  • Iconoclasm and injunctions against artistic production
  • The effect of embargoes, occupations, or war on artistic activity
  • Impacts of extinction, genocide, disenfranchisement, or environmental destruction
  • The depiction or use of fragments
  • Consequences of excess: overexploitation of resources, saturation of the market, etc.

Interested participants are invited to submit an abstract of no more than 350 words along with a CV by January 22, 2016. Accepted participants will be notified by February 8, 2016. American Literature in the World Graduate Conference Yale University