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Small Towns in Literature, Culture, and Film (NeMLA's 53rd Annual Convention)

Baltimore, Maryland
Organization: Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
Event: NeMLA's 53rd Annual Convention
Categories: American, Interdisciplinary, British, Popular Culture, Gender & Sexuality, African-American, Colonial, Revolution & Early National, Transcendentalists, 1865-1914, 20th & 21st Century, Medieval, Early Modern & Renaissance, Long 18th Century, Romantics, Victorian, 20th & 21st Century, Aesthetics, Anthropology/Sociology, Classical Studies, Cultural Studies, Environmental Studies, Film, TV, & Media, Food Studies, History, Philosophy
Event Date: 2022-03-10 to 2022-03-13 Abstract Due: 2021-09-30

In “Prelude,” the first poem in David Lee’s 1996 collection My Town, the narrator says of the small town in which he lives, “…this is everywhere I’ve ever been” (3). The line suggests a universal or microcosmic nature of the small town as a place in which one might encounter any imaginable personality, archetype, problem, joy, secret, or scandal.

This is perhaps why the small town serves as the setting for many memorable works of literature: short stories (“A Rose for Emily”), novels (Winesburg, Ohio), verse (Spoon River Anthology), plays (Our Town), and film (It’s a Wonderful Life). In each of these examples, the small town is integral to the work’s characters, conflicts, and overarching questions and ideas.

This panel will explore tropes, characteristics, questions, and influences of the small town in literature.

Papers may reflect on the following concepts:

Memory and nostalgia; the relationship between past, present, and future; traditional and nontraditional notions of community; strangers, visitors, and new members; town characters and disruptors of the norm; the relationship of the work’s narrator to the town; town centers and gathering places, town identities and rivalries; celebrations and ceremonies; the desire to escape and experience urban life; secrets and scandals; and so forth.

Papers examining literature, film, cultural studies, or other media are invited.

Abstracts are accepted from June 15 through September 30, 2021. Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words by September 30 to NeMLA’d online portal: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/Login  

The session number is #19194.

For information on NeMLA’s guidelines for abstracts: http://www.buffalo.edu/nemla/convention/callforpapers.html

Questions can be emailed to LoNewco1@wsc.edu



Lori Newcomb