As African American men and women began to appropriate sentimental tropes and the sentimental novel form in the nineteenth-century, they argued for their humanity and alignment with social norms while simultaneously critiquing the ways in which sentimentalism marginalized African American identities by excluding them from ideologies that promote white dominance. Examples of such critiques include William Wells Brown's Clotel (1859), Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1864), and Frances E. W. Harper's Iola Leroy (1893). With the turn of the century and the rising influence of naturalism, modernism, and New Criticism, scholars have generally believed that authors no longer respect or employ sentimentalism as a literary method. Recent scholarship has renewed interest in 20th century sentimentalism, examining the close ties between modernism and sentimentalism. Because of its historical and cultural associations with middle-class and white identity, this panel invites papers examining uses of sympathy and sentimental forms in 20th century American literature to address issues of race and class, and/or national belonging. In what ways do 20th century authors strategically deploy modes of sentimentality in their writings? How do 20th century cultural trends or critical understandings regarding race and class alter portrayals of sentimentality? Please send 250-500 word abstracts, along with a brief CV, to Jenn Williamson (firstname.lastname@example.org) by September 30.
Please include with your abstract:
Name and Affiliation
A/V requirements (if any; $10 handling fee with registration)
43rd Annual Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
March 15-18, 2012
Rochester, New York– Hyatt Regency Rochester
Host Institution: St. John Fisher College
The 43rd Annual Convention will feature approximately 360 sessions, as well as pre-conference workshops, dynamic speakers and cultural events.
Interested participants may submit abstracts to more than one NeMLA session; however, panelists can only present one paper (panel or seminar). Convention participants may present a paper at a panel and also present at a creative session or participate in a roundtable. Please do not accept a slot if you may cancel to present on another session.
Department of English & Comparative Literature
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Email: email@example.com
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