CFP Conferences

CFPs for ALA 2016!

This year’s ALA meeting will be held in San Francisco. Please see their webpage for general conference information.

Below are the CFPs for the Circle for Asian American Literary Studies. This post will be updated as needed. Please remember that if your paper is accepted, you will need to register as a member of CAALS in order to present. This applies to all panels and roundtables. For any questions about CFPs, please contact individual organizers. Note that different deadlines apply to each CFP.

CFP: #Asians4BlackLives: Protest and Solidarity in Asian American Literature

Chair: Sharon Tang-Quan, Westmont College

Police brutality against people of color has been making daily headlines. In 2012, the Black Lives Matter movement began after George Zimmerman was acquitted for the murder of Trayvon Martin. Using the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, the movement has protested the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Eric Harris, Walter Scott, Sandra Bland, Samuel DuBose, and Freddie Gray, and continues to campaign against police brutality and anti-black racism.

Asian American allies have joined this fight. In a November 2014 Time article, “Why Ferguson Should Matter to Asian-Americans,” Jack Linshi discussed the power of Afro-Asian solidarity and pointed to the deaths of Kuanchang Kao (1997), Cau Bich Tran (2003), and Fong Lee (2006) at the hands of police, in which there were no criminal charges and no public campaigns on behalf of the victims. During this past Lunar New Year parade in San Francisco, #Asians4BlackLives handed out red envelopes with the following message: “As Asian Americans, we enjoy many rights that were fought for and won by Black liberation movements. Today, we too have the power to stand on the side of justice. We can create harmony by building strong relationships between Black and Asian communities and standing together for Black Lives. Which side are you on?”

This panel is focused on protest and social justice in Asian American literature, and we seek papers that examine Asian American literature as sites of resistance and cross-racial solidarity. How have Asian American writers used traditional and new modes of protest? In what ways do we see the traces of historical activism and social movements, and how have digital technologies helped to reinvigorate these causes? How are Asian Americans writing in solidarity with allies in order to speak out against racism, while acknowledging the anti-blackness in our communities? To what extent are communities of color being formed, and in what ways have communities of color been divided?

Please email a proposal (250 words maximum) and a brief CV to Sharon Tang-Quan ( by January 15, 2016. Please mention any technological needs for your presentation. Please note that if your proposal is accepted and you agree to participate in the roundtable, you will need to become a member of CAALS prior to presenting, in addition to joining ALA and registering for the conference. For more information, please visit our website at


CFP: Yellowface: Performing and Occupying the Mind, Body, and Space in Asian American literature

ALA May 26-29, 2016, San Francisco

“…My life’s spent / running an inept tour for my own sad swindle of a vacation / until every goddamned thing’s reduced to botched captions / and dabs of misinformation in fractured, / not-quite-right English: …” excerpted from “The Bees, the Flowers, Jesus, Ancient Tigers, Poseidon, Adam and Eve” by Yi-Fen Chou

In the Contributor’s Notes and Comments in The Best American Poetry 2015 guest edited by Sherman Alexie, Michael Derrick Hudson unmasks his nom de plume, stirring outrage, and becomes the reviled face of appropriation. In his admission:

“after a poem of mine has been rejected a multitude of times under my real name, I put Yi-Fen’s name on it and send it out again. As a strategy for ‘placing’ poems this has been quite successful for me. The poem in question, ‘The Bees, the Flowers, Jesus, Ancient Tigers, Poseidon, Adam and Eve,’ was rejected under my real name forth (40) times before I sent it out as Yi-Fen Chou (I keep detailed submission records). As Yi-Fen the poem was rejected nine (9) times before Prairie Schooner took it. If indeed this is one of the best American poems of 2015, it took quite a bit of effort to get it into print, but I’m nothing if not persistent. “

He serves poetry editors a blunt instrument opening inquiry how poems are selected—the poem or the assumed ethnic heritage of author.

If turning Chinese was the key to his success, then it puts in to question how editors treat literary submissions written by authors with Asian-sounding names. Does the scarcity of Asian writers in anthologies such as the highly visible BAP validate a kind of divisive affirmative action?

More problematic is the privilege by which Hudson so easily masks himself in Yellowface for self-promotion. One can read the confession as thumbing his nose at both editors not just in BAP 2015, in Prairie Schooner, but to all journals that assumed they were choosing an Asian writer to diversify their volume. Whereas BAP elicits cynicism, especially in the discussion of what poetry was selected as best of a given year, the 2015 volume elevates to a level of disgust. Immediate calls to boycott the volume, to not purchase it, ignored the fact, this volume is the most multicultural, to ‘ethnic bias.”

The “sad swindle” or subversion is not Hudson’s own. Implicated in this botched anthology are David Lehman, series editor, and Sherman Alexie, guest editor. With much time to reconsider Hudson’s invitation in to the anthology, they still proceeded to keep him in print. The reaction from the Asian American community was quick, unrelenting, and unforgiving. The defense can be read here:…/like-most-every-poet-i…

Whether or not you are impressed by Alexie’s guidelines when selecting the best poems of 2015, when choosing the offender, Alexie was “amenable to the poem because [he] thought the author was Chinese American.”

Despite their intentions, the reception has been negative. Alexie and Lehman have the responsibility to prevent ethnic fraud. But should be poetry so safe guarded against writers wishing to take a personae?

When the real Yi-Fen Chou surfaced, Hudson’s appropriation turned to identity theft.

Even before the release of BAP 2015, the gaffe of the Poetry Foundation producing a list of Asian American writers stirred emotions. The list paired writers with their assumed country of origin as if to negate they can never claim the United States as origin. The following link is a sanitized version of that list, now more expansive, and omitting the countries of origin expected of them to claim, own, and demonstrate cultural affiliation:
Was this a case of Yellowface, too?

Asian in/authenticity led to the Facebook circulation of Cathy Linh Che’s google doc…/1u364q7ctO8MM90mvJHXxxGeCYX…/edit… insists on a self-reporting and registration of known Asian writers in America.

Further reading is found here:


The roundtable will not dwell completely on Hudson’s appropriation because Yellowface in American literature is not new. Yellowface persists in publisher and readership expectation to the extent real Asians exaggerate, highlight, and emphasize Asian-ness for the sake of publication.

The roundtable seeks to address:
Performing the Asian-in affect, homage, and/or parody.
Yellowface as a form of Colonization, Occupation, Privilege.
Forms of Registry
-Asian American registration as started and evolved in the Poetry Foundation.
-Self-Identification of Asian origin in in author bios.
-Editorial identification of Asian origin in author bios.
-Classification (being Vietnamese)
-Authors who have performed/appropriate the Asian
Offense vs. Pride.
Yellowface as subgenre of Asian literature.
Yellowface as subgenre of American literature.
Yellowface as writer technique.
Yellowface as a form of characterization. Do nonAsian writers perform Yellowface when placing Asian characters in their stories? Think Carson McCullers, John Steinbeck, Mona Simpson, William T. Vollman, Vendela Vida–as an example of novelists. There are poets as well.

Yellowface as a form of appropriation, not just of bodies, but of literary forms or translation credit.
Yellowface as a form of erasure, annihilation, fever, fantasy.
Yellowface as a kind of travel literature.
Yellowface as roots.
Yellowface as a critical tool, or impulsive dismissal.
Yellowface as Misrecognition. Misidentification.
Yellowface as Effacement, defacement. Facility. Rape. Identity theft. Hijacking.
Yellowface Exorcism, possession, remediation, sanction,
Yellowface as Persistence, encouragement, anxiety, ambivalence, white frailty.
The roundtable invites scholars actively writing and performing literature to bring in to discussion and context approaches by which to address Yellowface for in the classroom as in teaching how to recognize or evaluate when writers perform Yellowface, in the editorial process, in performance whether for an audience or to a hiring committee as in affecting an appeal to ethnic advantage or uniqueness, and in evaluating Asian-ness as in authentic enough to speak on behalf of lived or community experience.
Submit 250 to 500-word abstracts and a CV, by January 15, 2016, to Sean Labrador y Manzano at


CFP: Strained Utterance: Mixed Race Asian Avant Garde

ALA May 26-29, 2016, San Francisco

When Ron Loewinsohn writes,

I’ve put out the cigarette, the smoke / I’ve taken into my lungs & out / again: The ways I’ve seen you, & hold / them now, those ways, sliding / like a ship into the sea. This / is what I’m afraid of, that sea, / that home that doesn’t interest me. // One morning, after everyone had passed out, / Basil & I sat up talking about / the bombs, his London, my Manila, some flat / on Buchanan Street, the sun outside / for both of us. I passed him the bottle. // It’s in those moments between / the passing of the jug that I think / of this, this place, what / is this, here, & what have I to do with it? / If not for you, what, in hell, / do I have to do?
(excerpted from “It Is to Be Bathed in Light” The World of the Lie (1963)

he reveals a sense of place, a point of origin, not identified in much of his poetry. Prose produced in retirement shares life in the Philippines before World War 2 and transit to the United States. How he is unnoticed by the Philippine American literary community is astonishing though not surprising as he rarely if not at all announced his ethnicity to his students while a professor in the English Department as UC Berkeley.

The panel on Mixed-Race Asian Avant Garde poets seeks to explore how being mixed-race shapes (or unshape, or not shape) content, structure, poetic technique, language, readability, unreadability, instruction, identity, power relations, forms of knowledge, expected grievance, careers, publishing histories, privacy, or notoriety, and more. We seek how being mixed-race bridges experimental poetics with studies in the Asian experience in American. Is there more or less agency, subjectivity, privilege, deracination, stereotyping, othering, pressure to assimilate, or inaccessibility to collective ethnic histories? How are the poetries a reflection of America’s wars or labor histories through which such mixing takes place on the periphery? Do writers cite parents as soldiers or war brides? How does mixed-race challenge the appreciation or categorization of Asian American. Does the Avant-Garde defuse Identity Politics, becomes a refuge from overt and recycled idioms of “otherness.”

The panel looks forward to any proposals that address the presence, marginalization, and invisibility of Mixed-Raced Asian Americans in the Avant-Garde. Do these poets perform a token function diversifying a predominant white field? Do they mollify the need to discuss race in American poetry?

Some writers to consider include Kasey Mohammed, Ai, Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, Ronaldo V. Wilson, David Lau, Geneva Chao, Sesshu Foster, Brian Kim Stefans, Ron Loewinsohn, Jai Arun Ravine, Kenny Tanemura, Brynn Saito, Wei Ming Dariotis, Pimone Triplett, Kimiko Hahn, John Yau, Heinz Insu Fenkl, MG Roberts, Jennifer Hayashida, Sadakichi Hartmann, and the list goes on….
Submit 250 to 500-word abstracts, AV requirements, and a CV, by January 15, 2016, to Sean Labrador y Manzano at


CFP: Critical Perspectives on Karen Tei Yamashita
Sponsored by The Circle for Asian American Literary Studies
Chair: Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis, University of Maryland
Due Date: January 25, 2016

In the playground of cultural history, Karen Tei Yamashita is at once the big slide and the children who follow no rules. Her oeuvre moves us irreverently across every imaginable border, horizontal and vertical—Kandice Chuh has characterized Yamashita’s work as “palimpsestic” and “ecological” in its attention to layers, genealogies, and transnational currents. With the publication of the 2010 National Book Award finalist *I Hotel*, which gives us the polyphonic tumult of the 60s and 70s and the rise of the Asian American Movement, critical attention to Yamashita’s work is on the rise.

This panel seeks to highlight new scholarship on Yamashita’s oeuvre; proposals on any of her novels, or on her 2014 fiction/performance collection *Anime Wong* or her 2001 short story/essay collection *Circle K Cycles*, are welcome.

Please email a 250-300 word abstract of your paper to Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis at by January 25, 2016. Be sure to mention any technological needs for your presentation on your abstract.


CFP: Asian American Literary Studies: 34 Years of Critical History
Sponsored by The Circle for Asian American Literary Studies

Chair: Lynn Mie Itagaki, The Ohio State University
Due Date: January 15, 2016

We are seeking paper proposals for a panel, “Asian American Literary Studies: 34 Years of Critical History,” sponsored by the Circle for Asian American Literary Studies (CAALS) at the Annual Conference of the American Literature Association in San Francisco, CA on May 26-29, 2016. Celebrating Elaine H. Kim’s landmark publication Asian American Literature: An Introduction to the Writings and Their Social Context (1982), this panel proposes to analyze the field of Asian American literary studies that has developed to include and acknowledge a diverse group of literatures under this category. The critical/theoretical development of the field covered both political movements as well as the changing demographics stemming from mass migrations. This panel solicits paper proposals to broadly consider the following questions: How has the trajectory of Asian American critical literary history developed over time? How do Asian Americans and Asian diasporic communities reflect the trajectory of the field? What kinds of dialogues take place between the Asian American literary canon and the broader American literary canon?

The recognition of specific gender, class, and racial differences within the Asian American literary field in a broader sense has spurred heated arguments about identification. We have seen how the “authentic” has worked its way into fiction as well as how that very fiction reflected tensions in the literary community in regards to citizenship and recognition. Specifically, we see tensions in the ways Asian American bodies occupy a liminal space of both belonging and integration as they simultaneously experience rejection and tolerance. Asian diasporic histories grow increasingly complicated and layered; major historical events have continually shaped our conception of the literature and what it even means to have a recognized body of literature. This panel invites considerations of a wide range of Asian American texts such as fiction, poetry, film, journalism, memoir, or activist writing, and encourages intersections with critical ethnic studies, feminist studies, queer studies, disability studies, and environmental studies.


Please email a 250-300 word abstract of your paper to Lynn Itagaki at by January 25, 2016. Be sure to mention any technological needs for your presentation on your abstract.