CFP: “The Critical ‘I’” NEMLA 2016, roundtable (Abstract deadline 9/30/2015)

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    CFP: “The Critical ‘I’”

    NEMLA Mar 17-20, 2016, Hartford. CT

    Abstract deadline Sep 30, 2015

    This roundtable examines the explored and unexplored possibilities (and challenges) of the autobiographical “I” in academic scholarship and literary criticism, both inside and outside the academy.

    Scholars of life writing, such as Nancy K. Miller (Enough About Me, Bequest & Betrayal), have often included the personal in their scholarly projects. Yet, what might those traditionally marginalized by race, class, gender, sexuality, culture, and religion, add to various academic disciplines because of their personal experience. The social science forum Artic anthropology, addressing the combined disciplines of ethnography and biography, queried: “If, as [anthropologist] Michael Herzfeld has argued, the combination of these two genres as ‘ethnographic biography’ promises to overcome the vexing and ultimately specious divide between individual, socio-cultural and historical domains of experience, how might scholars across diverse fields take advantage of this potential?” Furthermore, creative scholars, such Wayne Koestenbaum (The Queen’s Throat) and, more recently, Louis Bury (Exercises in Criticism), have employed poetic, autobiographical aspects in their critical work, while encouraging scholars to look at the critical work done by autobiographical creative writers such as Geoff Dyer (Out of Sheer Rage).

    Although it can be argued that much academic criticism has an autobiographical basis, in terms of what animates an author’s passion and interest, the inclusion of the self is often discouraged because of its perceived lack of objectivity and/or rigueur. Furthermore, effective use of autobiography in scholarly writing can be difficult to employ, as autobiographical and scholarly concerns should, ideally, complement each other, with the personal advancing the scholarly project; in some cases, its exclusion may hamper or falsify the critical work being done. This roundtable will provide creative scholars with an opportunity to discuss the challenges and potential of the critical “I.” Proposals representing a variety of disciplinary perspectives, historical eras, and methodological approaches are all welcome.

    Submission Guidelines

    This panel will be a part of the 47th Annual NeMLA Convention, March 17 to 20, 2016, in Hartford, CT.

    Interested authors should submit abstracts of no more than 250 words through the CFP list on NeMLA’s website  Submissions must also include the author’s full name, email address and institutional affiliation.

    Submissions must be received by September 30, 2015.

    Accepted panelists must be members of NeMLA by December 1, 2015, and register for the conference by the same date in order to present. Participants may only deliver one paper at the conference.

    Inquiries (but not proposals) should be sent to David Bahr (

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