CFP: Critical Perspectives on Jhumpa Lahiri, ALA 2009

CFP: Critical Perspectives on Jhumpa Lahiri (ALA 2009)
American Literature Association Conference, May 21-24, 2009, Boston
Standing panel organized by the Circle for Asian American Literary Studies
Proposals due: January 15, 2009

The Circle for Asian American Literary Studies invites papers for a panel on the work of Jhumpa Lahiri, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Interpreter of Maladies (1999), The Namesake (2004) and Unaccustomed Earth (2008). Lahiri has enjoyed widespread critical and popular acclaim for bringing the Indian American immigrant and transnational experiences to the mainstream American literary consciousness. We seek papers on the ways in which Lahiri’s fiction expands the American literary canon and broadens theoretical conceptions of contemporary Asian American subjectivities.  Suggested topics might include (but are not limited to) considerations of Lahiri’s work as: 

  • a critical node that connects the distinct but interrelated spaces of Asian American, South Asian, and transnational/postcolonial studies;  


  • a revision of traditional U.S. immigrant narratives within a transnational framework;


  • a reflection of the growing “taste” for ethnic narratives in U.S. and/or global literary marketplaces.

Please email a one-page abstract and a two-page C.V. by January 15, 2009 to Betsy Huang at 

Note: Presenters on CAALS-sponsored panels must be current members of CAALS.  

For more information on CAALS and the 2009 ALA conference, go to:

CFP: Hemispheric Approaches to Asian American Literature, ALA 2009

Hemispheric Approaches to Asian American Literature
American Literature Association Conference
May 21-24, 2009, Boston

In her recent essay “Of Hemispheres and Other Spheres,” Kandice Chuh suggests that Asian Americanists explore “that complementary space between Asian American studies, conceived as a ‘national perspective’ that seeks to understand the link between the national and the global, and hemispheric studies, understood as paradigmatically concerned with the relationship of the Americas to the local or national.” How does Asian American literature change when viewed in a hemispheric perspective? What would it mean to interpret the “America” in Asian American literature far more broadly? What might be the effects of adding the north-south axis of hemispheric studies to the traditional east-west focus of transnational Asian American studies? How might hemispheric studies open up new connections between texts inside and outside the conventional purview of the Asian American? Topics might include comparisons of Asian American and Asian Canadian writers (such as Joy Kogawa, Kerri Sakamoto, Fred Wah), Asian American engagements with the Caribbean or Latin America (such as Karen Tei Yamashita’s Through the Arc of the Rainforest), or writing that crosses borders within the Americas (such as Yamashita’s Tropic of Orange or Bharati Mukherjee’s Jasmine). Send 1-page abstract and c.v. by January 15, 2009 via email to Timothy Yu (

CFP: Asian American Transgressive Texts, ALA 2009

American Literature Association 2009 – Boston, MA – May 21-24, 2009

“Asian American Transgressive Texts”

The Circle for Asian American Literary Studies (CAALS) is sponsoring a panel at the American Literature Association (ALA) conference in Boston on “transgressive texts”—writings in which the author’s identity does not match the identity of the text in question. For literary critic Shelly Fisher Fishkin, transgressive texts are those “in which black writers create serious white protagonists, and white writers black ones” (“Desegregating” 121), but the CAALS wants to open up Fishkin’s definition to interrogate the differences that emerge when thinking about the category of “Asian American writing” and the “Asian American writer,” particularly when there is a disjunction between the creative writer and the created subject.

Examples of questions and topics to consider:

*Interrogating the Chinese-Cuban diaspora in Cuban American writer Cristina Garcia’s Monkey Hunting
*Considering the Italian American narrative voice in Chang-rae Lee’s Aloft
*Examining the theme of the short story cycle and the community of Vietnamese American exiles in Robert Olen Butler’s A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
*Exploring both the “American” as well as “Asian” aesthetics in American Indian writer Gerald Vizenor’s Griever: An American Monkey King in China

Please send 1-page abstracts & 2-page cvs by Monday, January 5 to Jennifer Ho via email:

For information on the American Literature Association conference, please go to the following website:

Presenters on CAALS-sponsored panels must be current members of CAALS.

CFP: Latina/o Literature and Cultural Society panels for ALA 2009

CFP: Latina/o Literature and Culture Society of the American Literature Association, 2009
Westin Copley Place—Boston, MA

The Latina/o Literature and Culture Society of the American Literature Association seeks proposals for several panels at the American Literature Association’s 20th annual conference at the Westin Copley Place in Boston on May 21-24, 2009. We are particularly interested in seeking out papers that address the following topics:

  • Latina/o Writers and Canon(s). Chair: Roberto Oscar Lopez.
  • Spoken-Word Poetry. Chair: Elizabeth Jacobs.
  • Any aspect of the work of Junot Díaz. Chair: Alisa Braithwaite.
  • Latina/o Children’s Literature Chair: Tiffany Lopez.
  • Ambiguous Authors and Transgressive Texts (joint panel with the Circle for Asian American Literary Studies). Chair: Jennifer Ho.

Those interested in submitting a paper should send a one-page abstract with your name, position, affiliation, and contact information to the appropriate panel chair.

For proposals on any other aspect of Latina/o Literature and Culture, please send them along with your name, position, affiliation and contact information to Eliza Rodriguez y Gibson at

Final Deadline for Proposals: January 5, 2009.

For information about the Latina/o Literature and Culture Society, visit us online at or contact Latina/o Literature and Culture Society president Eliza Rodriguez y Gibson at

For more information about the ALA and the conference, go to


We are currently re-vamping the site and re-organizing all the pages and information. Please feel free to bookmark the main page and come back for more updates!

For the 2009 ALA conference, CAALS will be organizing panels on the following topics:

– Author-focused panel on Jhumpa Lahiri (chaired by Betsy Huang)
– Neglected writers (chaired by Catherine Fung)
– Hemispheric/north american approaches (chaired by Tim Yu)
– Roundtable on “ambiguous authorship: transgressive texts and Asian American literature” (chaired by Jennifer Ho)

Expect calls for papers in mid-December 2008.

General e-mail contact: web [at] caals [dot] org

CFP: Theorizing Asian American Fiction (Mfs special issue, 1/30/09 deadline)

Theorizing Asian American Fiction (Modern Fiction Studies special issue, 2010)
Guest Editors: Stephen Hong Sohn, Paul Lai, and Donald C. Goellnicht
Deadline for Submission: 30 January 2009

The topic of this special issue of MFS stems from the exponential growth in Asian American literary production over the past few decades and the ongoing need to understand how these texts function within the framework of ethnic and Asian American Studies. This issue seeks to account for and further the important changes that have taken place in the last decade since Susan Koshy (1996) observed that Asian American literary studies “has been weak in theoretical work,” especially in its assumptions of a coherent body of texts defined by the ethnicities of the authors. More recently, Colleen Lye (2007) argues that scholars continually problematize the discursive production of Asian America without asking why we continue to lean on “Asian America” as an organizing principle for literary study. Her project instead offers: “the sense of the theoretical generativity of speaking not of identity but of form, of trying to investigate race and nation through the relationship between aesthetic and social modalities of form.” While Lye’s project usefully focuses on literary and narrative forms of Asia, its attempts to distance the formation of a textual coalition from authorial bodies drifts somewhat from other Asian American literary studies’ political project of recognizing and revaluing Asian American authors’ work. Is there a way to privilege the identities of authors even while focusing on form in defining a tradition of fiction? If existing rubrics of Asian American literature problematically collect texts under the eye of biology, what other ways might Asian Americanists approach, categorize, and consider their objects of study? For example, how does thinking of Asian American literature as a “subjectless discourse,” as Kandice Chuh (2003) has espoused, enable new representational and taxonomic configurations to emerge? If a panethnic, nationally-determined category of persons is insufficient for defining a textual body, how might interrogating the geopolitical boundaries of the field look in turning more directly to Asian North American or Anglophone Asian fictions without simply adding more racialized bodies to the fold?

To address these questions, MFS solicits articles that have broad implications for theorizing Asian American fiction as a whole while paying attention to specific texts. Papers might investigate: how the field must be reconstructed or redefined through discursive intersectionalities with queer studies, gender studies, class critique, post-ethnicity/post-race critical theory, area studies, diaspora, transnationalism, globalization, and/or postcolonialism; authors and texts that arguably fall out of disciplinary boundaries and/or authors and texts that have spawned debates within the field (e.g. Ha Jin’s Waiting, Chang-rae Lee’s Aloft, and Lois-Ann Yamanaka’s Blu’s Hanging); canon formation in Asian American literary studies and its East Asian focus; how the field can read contemporary texts alongside earlier ones; poststructuralist and postmodern discourses which de-stabilize essentialist Asian American literary definitions (“real vs. fake”); conceptions of ethnic/racial heritage and mixed-race bodies within Asian American literature; the possibilities for claiming as Asian American literature the work of non-Asian American writers (e.g. David Guterson’s Snow Falling on Cedars, Deborah Iida’s Middle Son); regionalism in Asian American literature (South Asia/East Asia/Southeast Asia/Pacific Islands, regional differences within the US and Canada, connections across the Americas); nationalism as a continuing organizing principle in Asian American (including or excluding Asian Canadian?) fiction; the (re)turn to aesthetics, genre, and form and/as politics; or how Asian American literature is defined outside academic criticism (e.g. in publishing and marketing discourses).

Essays should be limited to 9,000 words, including all quotations and bibliographic references, and should follow the MLA Style Manual for internal citation and Works Cited. Please submit two copies of your essay to The Editors, Mfs, Department of English, Purdue University, 500 Oval Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2038.

Queries should be directed to Paul Lai (plai2 [at] stthomas [dot] edu).

CFP: “Adopting” Asian America, ALA 2008

“Adopting” Asian America

This panel will investigate the variety of ways in which Asian America has been “adopted,” especially vis a vis Asian American texts (literature, film, journalism, criticism, commercial imagery, and so on), together with attendant consequences of such “adoptive” relationships.

Proposed papers may address such questions as the following: In what sense and to what ends have academic departments or the more broadly defined American Academy “adopted” Asian America? What are the implicit and explicit costs of this “adoption”? Are there any benefits — and, if so, are such benefits mutual or one-sided? To what extent is such “adoption” reflected in (or to what degree is it a reflection of) larger American/Asian American relationships, tensions, or conflicts? How has Asian America deliberately or inadvertently invited or acquiesced to its own “adoption”? How are “adoptive” relationships or issues compounded in the Asian American classroom? How are these relationships/issues further compounded when the instructor in the classroom is not Asian American? or is Asian American? Has Asian America (or Asian American art or criticism) in any sense created itself as “adopted”? What are the ramifications of academic departments’ embracing Asian American literature, film, journalism, commercial imagery, and so on as “adopted” rather than “naturally born”? Are the relationships between academia and Asian America different from those between academia and other “ethnic Americas”? What will be the conclusion of Asian America’s existing “adoptive” relationships? Will “adopted” Asian America grow up and away from current “guardians” — or is “adoption” perpetual?

Please email paper proposals (in MSWord or WordPerfect format) to Keith Lawrence at — or send a hard copy of your proposal to: Prof. Keith Lawrence, English Department, 4175 JFSB, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602. All proposals must be received by 15 January 2008.