CALL FOR PAPERS: American Literature Association–May 23-26, 2013

CALLS FOR PAPERS for the Circle for Asian American Literary Studies panels at ALA 2013 in Boston! Please consult the ALA website for more information on the conference fees, site, and other logistics. Please note that the required CAALS membership for participation in CAALS panels is separate from the ALA conference fee.

1) Geographies of Asian America

The Circle for Asian American Literary Studies invites submissions for two panels that reflect on the development and state of Asian American literature through the “geographies” of Asian America with an eye to regional differences and the transnational turn.

While the West Coast and Hawaii have long occupied a central place in Asian American literature due to their closeness to the Asia Pacific and the high concentration of Asian Americans in these regions, new sensibilities of Asian American places can also be seen in post-1965 Asian American literature. Gish Jen, Chang-rae Lee, and Jhumpa Lahiri, for example, embed the variegated lives of Asian Americans in urban centers and suburban neighborhoods on the East Coast in their work. Scholarship such as Leslie Bow’s recent book, Partly Colored: Asian Americans and Racial Anomaly in the Segregated South, uncovers the story of the previously overlooked Asian American South.

Recent emphasis on transnationalism and diaspora in Asian American Studies also prompts us to think of the geographies of Asian America beyond the territorial boundaries of the nation-state. For example, Chang-rae Lee’s A Gesture Life is set in a suburban neighborhood in upstate New York; yet half the novel shows the wartime Pacific in flashbacks. More recent fiction that contain narratives of American-born Asians returning to the country of origin, such as Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake or Aimee Phan’s The Reeducation of Cherry Truong, likewise ask us to reexamine our assumptions of space and place as it pertains to Asian America.

How does Asian American literature create Asian American geographies in the U.S. and abroad? We invite papers on any aspect of the question. Email abstracts of 200-250 words to jeehyun.lim@gmail.com by January 15. Be sure to mention any technological needs for your presentation on your abstract. Also, please note that if your abstract is selected and you agree to present on this panel, you will need to become a member of CAALS before presenting. For more information, please visit our website at http://caals.org/

2) Humanities Under Attack: Teaching Asian American Literature

We are seeking participants for a roundtable discussion at the Annual Conference of the American Literature Association in Boston from May 23-26, 2013. The roundtable will address teaching Asian American literature in the current environment in which humanities are under attack. The state of Florida has proposed charging students more tuition for humanities majors, classifying them as “non-strategic,” non-productive disciplines. Programs and departments that focus on women, gender, sexuality, and racial groups are the first to experience funding cuts, budgeting freezes, no new hiring, or rejection for their creation; the global financial crisis dramatically reduced already historically low state funding for education and private endowments. How do we teach Asian American literature and studies in a way that matters? How do we make what we do and teach visible to skeptical administrators, university regents, voters, and funding sources? What kind of goals and learning outcomes do we have for our students in Asian American literature classes and how do we revise them in this anti-humanities educational environment? We welcome participants to think theoretically and historically as well as more specifically on their own experiences and conditions at their institutions. The roundtable will feature 7 minutes of remarks by five participants followed by 40 minutes of discussion.

If you are interested in participating in this roundtable, please email a brief 150-200 word description of how your remarks would address the topic of teaching Asian American literature to Lynn Itagaki at itagaki.5@osu.edu by January 15. Be sure to mention any technological needs for your presentation on your abstract. Also, please note that if your abstract is selected and you agree to present on this panel, you will need to become a member of CAALS before presenting. For more information, please visit our website at http://caals.org/.