The Circle for Asian American Literary Studies (CAALS) is a member society of the American Literature Association (ALA) devoted to the research and teaching of Asian American literature founded in 1995.

All changes to these bylaws must be approved unanimously by the CAALS officers and ideally should be discussed with the membership at the annual business meeting.


Membership is open. Participants in any CAALS-organized panels or activities must be current dues-paying members.

Annual membership dues are $10 for faculty and $5 for students, independent scholars, and community members. Changes to these amounts must be approved by a majority vote of the members at the annual business meeting.

Annual Business Meeting

An annual meeting of the membership shall take place at the annual ALA conference, usually scheduled at the end of May, over Memorial Day weekend, and alternating between Boston, MA, and San Francisco, CA. At the annual business meeting, the members shall elect officers, receive reports on CAALS activities for the past year, and determine the direction of CAALS for the coming year.


The officers of CAALS shall be two co-chairs. All officers must be active members of CAALS.


The co-chairs will serve two-year terms, which may be renewed. One co-chair is elected annually by the membership in alternating years for each chair.

The co-chairs shall preside at all meetings of the membership and shall have the following duties:

  1. They shall serve as primary contacts and liaisons with the ALA administration, especially in negotiating the number of CAALS panels and roundtables at the ALA conference.
  2. They shall organize at least one panel or roundtable.
  3. They shall approve and disseminate all CAALS Calls for Papers (CFPs) for ALA and other conferences.
  4. They shall apprise CAALS panel/roundtable organizers and the membership of deadlines ahead of time.
  5. They shall compile the full list of panels and roundtables from the organizers and submit it to the ALA.
  6. They shall disseminate and promote the full schedules of CAALS events at the ALA and other conference.
  7. They shall administer the CAALS Essay Prize and/or oversee the creation and administration of a Prize Committee.
  8. They shall organize an annual CAALS dinner at the ALA conference.
  9. They shall attend all CAALS panels, roundtables, and the business meeting at the ALA conference.
  10. They shall set the agenda for the annual business meeting.
  11. They shall record and disseminate minutes for the annual business meeting.
  12. They shall oversee CAALS finances and disbursement of funds.
  13. They shall oversee and update the CAALS website (, the CAALS Facebook group (, the CAALS Google group (!forum/caals), and other social media accounts.


CAALS funds shall be disbursed for the CAALS Essay Prize (e.g., a $20 Amazon gift card) and dinner for the prize winner. Funds may also be disbursed, for example, for reimbursement of local travel expenses and a small honorarium or gift for authors/artists who read at a CAALS-organized event; business meeting-related expenses; and CAALS-organized networking events at the ALA and other conferences.

However, CAALS funds may not be used to subsidize travel or personal costs for any member or officer of CAALS. Disbursements must be approved by both co-chairs.

Calls for Papers (CFPs)

All CAALS Calls for Papers for ALA must be approved by the co-chairs and ideally should be discussed with the membership at the annual business meeting. CFPs for CAALS-organized panels and roundtables at other conferences or events must also be approved by the co-chairs. 

CFP formats are at the reasonable discretion of the organizer but should include a link to the CAALS website, a reminder that all presenters must become dues-paying members of CAALS, and an announcement of the CAALS Essay Prize. Organizers are responsible for providing the co-chairs with the CFPs and the finalized panels/roundtables in a timely fashion for posting on the website. They must also remind their presenters when selected and before the conference that they must become dues-paying members of CAALS in order to present.

CAALS Essay Prize

The CAALS Essay Prize was established in 2013 and shall be an annual book prize for the best paper on Asian American literature written by a graduate student (or, should the occasion arise, an undergraduate student) and presented at any ALA panel or a CAALS-organized panel at another conference during that academic year. In other words, all papers presented by students at the ALA conference are eligible, but papers from other conferences must be from a CAALS-organized panel. Papers must be submitted electronically two weeks before the ALA conference (or any other reasonable deadline decided on and announced by the co-chairs or the prize committee) in order to be eligible. The winner will be notified before or at the ALA conference and shall be the guest of honor at the annual CAALS dinner at the ALA conference. If for any reason the winner is not decided by the time of the ALA conference, they will be notified by email and invited to be honored the following year.

Papers will be read and evaluated by a prize committee consisting of at least two CAALS officers and/or members who hold positions at any postdoctoral level. Committee members must recuse themselves from evaluating papers by their own advisees or students from their own institutions.