This session focuses on the representation of mothers in literature about the immigrant experience, providing an opportunity to merge the burgeoning interest in mothering and motherhood with the recent scholarship on exclusion, the transnational subject, and immigrant ambivalence in immigrant literatures.
Early twentieth-century immigrant literature often portrayed first-generation parents, especially mothers, as inassimilable –for example, the figure of Hannah Breineh in Anzia Yezierska’s short story “The Fat of the Land”—and focused on the “assimilation plot” of younger or second-generation immigrant family members. More recently, immigrant literatures have focused on transnational mobility and legal, racialized, and class-based exclusion. Since 9/11, scholars have remarked on immigrant ambivalence and narratives of return in works such as Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland and Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist. This session aims to explore how the representation of immigrant mothers in contemporary literature aligns with, or departs from, recent scholarship on immigrant literature. If, as Patrice DiQuinzio argues in The Impossibility of Motherhood, “being a mother and being mothered are both imbued with tremendous social, cultural, political, economic, psychological, and personal significance” (viii), how do immigrant mothers negotiate mothering and motherhood across national borders?
Proposals might focus on writers as diverse as Maxine Hong Kingston, Edwidge Danticat, Julia Alvarez, Gish Jen, Aimee Phan, Lara Vapnyar, Thérèse Soukar Chehade, Nora Okja Keller, and Jhumpa Lahiri, among others. Proposals might address questions such as: How are mothering and motherhood shaped by national belonging and exclusion? How do immigrants practice mothering in the wake of war, exile, racism, and other traumas? How do literatures of immigrant experience respond to and transform cultural, legal and historical constructions of motherhood?
Please send a 300-500 word proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org by September 30, 2013.
Deadline: September 30, 2013
Please include with your abstract:
Name and Affiliation
A/V requirements (if any; $10 handling fee with registration)
The 2014 NeMLA convention continues the Association's tradition of sharing innovative scholarship in an engaging and generative location. This capitol city set on the Susquehanna River is known for its vibrant restaurant scene, historical sites, the National Civil War museum, and nearby Amish Country, antique shops and Hershey Park. NeMLA has arranged low hotel rates of $104-$124.
The 2014 event will include guest speakers, literary readings, professional events, and workshops. A reading by George Saunders will open the Convention. His 2013 collection of short fiction, The Tenth of December, has been acclaimed by the New York Times as: “the best book you’ll read this year.” NeMLA’s Keynote Speaker will be David Staller, Producer and Director of Project Shaw. Mr. Staller presents monthly script-in-hand performances of Bernard Shaw’s plays at the Players Club in New York City.
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. http://www.nemla.org/convention/2014/cfp.html
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