Organization: Northeast Modern Language Association
While for many years, the literary canon was the province of “dead white men,” the past fifty years have dramatically altered that paradigm. Contemporary creative writers, too, would like their work to reflect the diversity and complexity of human experience in terms of race, gender, sexual identification, ethnicity, nationality, and culture. This panel invites creative writers of all genres, genders, races, sexual orientations, nationalities, cultures, etc., to consider the challenges of being more inclusive in their work. Some questions that will be considered: Is it possible to write from the perspectives of races, genders, etc., of whom one is not a representative? How can a writer entertain more diverse characters, themes, and perspectives without resorting to tokenism? How can the writer exercise cultural appreciation without crossing the line into appropriation? How can recent instances in which writers have been called to task for doing this badly provide us with more effective approaches? Both writers and readers are invited to consider these questions in the context of their own or others’ texts.
Dr. Abby Bardi