College English Association National Conference
March 27-29, 2008
St. Louis, Missouri
P A S S A G E S
The College English Association invites papers and creative works-in-progress on the theme of passage in Creative Nonfiction Writing. Passage, according to one definition in Webster’s, is “an act or instance of passing from one place or condition to another.” In essays and nonfiction narratives, passage can take many forms. Here are a few:
Rites of Passage: These works trace a significant transition in understanding or point-of-view, as in James Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son, Joan Didion’s “Goodbye to All That,” and Jo Ann Beard’s “The Fourth State of Matter.”
Passage as Journey: Recent bestsellers, such as Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert and The Assassin’s Gate, by George Packer, as well as classics like Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, by James Agee and Mules and Men, by Zora Neale Hurston, collectively suggest that the impetus for the journey varies greatly: vacation, work, adventure, love, spiritual search, and even the quest for a pencil, as in Virginia Woolf’s “Street Haunting,” all prompt us to travel near and far.
Spiritual Passage: Here physical travel may or may not be involved. Traditionally, spiritual passage requires the attempt to connect the real world with the mystical one, though it may also trace the loss of that connection. Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Panjak Mishra’s An End to Suffering, Elie Wiesel’s Night, and Faith Adiele’s Meeting Faith come to mind.
Passage through Illness, Chronic Pain, or Injury: In these works, writers grapple with forces that limit mobility, cognitive functions, emotional stability—forces they often cannot control. A few compelling examples include Audra Lorde’s The Cancer Diaries, Andrew Solomon’s The Noonday Demon, Andre Dubus’s Meditations from a Movable Chair, and Floyd Skloot’s In the Shadow of Memory.
This list is not exhaustive, nor are the aforementioned categories intended to be mutually exclusive. The theme of passage, like the not-so-easily-defined genre of creative nonfiction, is infinitely flexible. Submit individual proposals that fall under one of the categories above. If you would like to organize a panel under a different subject relating to passage, please follow the instructions for submitting a panel.
Proposals should be submitted via the online database at http://english.ttu.edu/cea/conftool by November 1st, 2007.
Abstracts for proposals should be between 200 and 500 words in length and should include a title.
Submitting electronically is a two-step process: 1) setting up a user ID, then 2) using that ID to log in—this time to a welcome page which provides a link for submitting proposals to the conference.
The conference is also inviting scholarly papers on literature and film, so when you submit your proposal, use the pull-down menu to indicate your special topic area (Creative Nonfiction Writing). Also indicate that your submission should be directed to me, Erica Bleeg, chair of the Creative Nonfiction Writing panels.
If you are submitting a proposal for a panel, panel organizers should create user IDs for all proposed participants.
We prefer electronic submissions. If you don’t have access to a computer, however, you may submit a hard copy to the executive chair of the conference at the following address:
CEA Program Chair
James Madison University
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
On your hard copy proposal, be sure to include your name, institutional affiliation (if applicable), mailing address, phone number, e-mail address, title for the proposed presentation, abstract of 200-500 words, and AV equipment needs (if any).
PREPARING FOR THE CONFERENCE
To preserve time for discussion, CEA limits individual presentations to 15 minutes.
All presenters must become members of the College English Association by January 1, 2008. For students, the fee is $15; part-time faculty or retirees, $25; all other individuals, $40. For further membership information, contact Joe Pestino at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the web site at http://www2.widener.edu/~cea/
For more information about CEA, the general conference theme, or other special sessions, please consult the CEA web site at http://www2.widener.edu/~cea/
James Madison University
Department of English
Harrisonburg, VA 22807 Email: email@example.com
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