WLA/Charles Redd Center K-12 Teaching Awards

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WLA/Charles Redd Center K-12 Teaching Awards

Monday, April 6th, 2015

WLA/Charles Redd Center K-12 Teaching Awards


The Western Literature Association and the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies are sponsoring two K-12 Teaching Awards that will provide teachers with the opportunity to attend and present at the Western Literature Association Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, during October 24-27, 2018. The selected teachers will share their instructional plans and teaching approaches at the conference on a K-12 Teaching Panel on Saturday, October 27.

The prize will include conference registration, an award banquet ticket, a WLA membership, and $700 cash toward conference related costs such as hotel and airfare. Prize winners must attend the WLA conference and present on the WLA/Redd Center K-12 Educator Prize panel on Saturday, October 27. All presenters at the WLA Conference must be WLA members. Continuing Education credit may be available. Please check with your district’s professional development office.

 

Required application materials

•    Resumé
•    Instructional Plan (K-12, any level)
•    Teaching Statement (how the Instructional Plan contributes to your teaching goals)
•    One letter of support (from principal, administrator, or colleague)

 

Instructional plans

Instructional plans may focus on any author or theme related to the literature of the American West, broadly defined. We encourage teachers to submit their new and existing teaching ideas. The following topics and approaches are encouraged:

•    Women writers of the American West
•    American Indian authors
•    Latina/o authors
•    Environmental writing
•    Creative slants to teaching the “canonical” authors of the American West
•    Interdisciplinary teaching plans as well as approaches to teaching drama of and about the American West
•    Instructional plans that integrate the conference theme, “Indigenous Hubs, Gateway Cities, Border States”

Instructional Plans should be based on a focused 2-4 week unit on a specific theme, author, work of literature, etc. You do not need to include daily lesson plans, but you may submit supplemental discussion questions, assignment sheets, etc. The provided instructional plan format is very flexible and just a guideline. You are welcome to develop a format and structure that applies to your teaching and classroom context and grade level.

Award details, including the instructional plan format and scoring rubric, can be downloaded by clicking on the links.

Deadline for submission: July 1, 2018

Please direct all questions and applications to Randi Tanglen.

The 2018 award committee consists of Randi Tanglen (Austin College), Megan McGilchrist (American School of London), Susanne Bloomfield (University of Nebraska, Kearney), Steve Shively (Utah State University), Ken Egan (Humanities Montana), and Jennifer Kawecki (Omaha Public Schools).


All applicants for the prize will be sent a written release that allows the WLA and the Charles Redd Center to post your lesson plans on their websites and to possibly include your lesson plans in other publications. Your work will remain your own and you will be given appropriate citation and credit in any digital or print reproductions of your work. The release must be signed and returned for you to be eligible to win the 2018 prize.


 

Interested in viewing the winning instructional plans of previous years?

2017:

Jennifer Kawecki and Hakan Armagan, Burke High School, Omaha, NE, “My Land, Our Land: Exploring the Ethics of Energy Policy, Consumption, and Sustainability Using Aldo Leopold’s ‘The Land Ethic’,” a cooperative effort by an English and a physics teacher.

2016:

Hali Kirby, Gardiner Public Schools, Gardiner, MT, “‘Letters from Yellowstone’: Stories of Women Scientists in Yellowstone National Park”

2015:

Tom McGuire, Santa Cruz Catholic School, Austin, TX, “The Forgotten Role of Native Americans in the Texas Revolution”

Jamie Crosswhite, Canyon High School, Canyon, TX, “Identity through Place”

Cheryl Hughes, Sentinel High School, Missoula, MT, “Using Service Learning and Oral History Projects to Teach Indian Creek Chronicles by Pete Fromm”

The instructional plans have been added to our Syllabus Exchange.

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WLA Conference 2020

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

55th WLA Conference

Theme: Graphic Wests

October 21-24, 2020

Location: the Hilton San Diego Del Mar, a beautiful coastal location one mile from the beach!


WLA Co-Presidents for 2020 will be Dr. Rebecca Lush, California State University San Marcos, and Dr. Kerry Fine, Arizona State University.   


CFP: GRAPHIC WESTS

October 21-24, 2020

Vortex Mosaic Surfboard, by Cherrie LaPorte. [2014]. Image courtesy of Cherrie LaPorte. Photo © Phil Ireland.

Vortex Mosaic Surfboard, by Cherrie LaPorte. [2014]. Image courtesy of Cherrie LaPorte. Photo © Phil Ireland.

San Diego, home of the Kumeyaay, is a region of shifting borders and contested spaces that has been controlled by Spain, Mexico, and, most recently, the United States. In contemporary times, the region of southern California has nurtured visual culture through Hollywood and Comic Con International, the largest convention for comic book culture in the world hosted annually in San Diego. Drawing on this mixture, the theme “Graphic Wests” invites proposals that take up the graphic in all of its connotations, from graphic content to visual texts as well as the intersections of the two when considering the varied literatures and cultural products of the North American West. We also invite papers that address the unique culture of Southern California, such as surf and coastal literatures, along with papers that examine California writers and themes.

The 2020 Distinguished Achievement Award winners, poet Juan Felipe Herrera (21st National Poet Laureate), and fiction author Stephen Graham Jones, whose works exemplify “Graphic Wests,” will join us at the WLA’s 55th annual conference.  The 2020 conference will take place in the beautiful coastal area of the Hilton San Diego Del Mar located just one mile from the beach and in close proximity to the Cedros Avenue Design District and Solana Beach. Additional speakers will be announced at a future date.

In addition to proposals on any aspect of the literatures and cultures of the North American West, the WLA especially encourages panels and papers that explore the following topics:

  • • Comic books/graphic novels set in the West and/or western comics
  • • Filmic and televisual representations of the West/western
  • • Borderlands literature
  • • Graphic violence, language, and/or sexuality in the West/western
  • • Texts set in the West, or that take up western themes, that incorporate visual elements or make use of graphic design in their engagement with language
  • • California writers and texts (Le Guin, Steinbeck, Didion, Mary Austin, John Rollin Ridge, Helen Hunt Jackson, María Ruiz de Burton, etc.)
  • • Writers and texts that explore California surfing and beach culture
  • • The work of Distinguished Achievement Award Winner Juan Felipe Herrera
  • • The work of Distinguished Achievement Award Winner Stephen Graham Jones

We are also open to sessions on teaching and roundtable discussions. Proposals for individual papers must include a 250-word abstract, and proposals for panels and roundtable discussions must include an abstract for each paper or presentation. All submissions must include A/V requests. Proposals can be submitted using the ConfTool link accessible via the conference webpage starting in February 2020. The deadline for submissions is June 15, 2020.

Please submit questions to Rebecca M. Lush or Kerry Fine at WLAConference2020@westernlit.org.


CHECK BACK FOR MORE INFORMATION. It will be posted here as it becomes available.


 

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WLA Conference 2018

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

THEME:

Indigenous Hubs, Gateway Cities, Border States


The WLA Conference 2018 will be hosted by Dr. Emily Lutenski, St. Louis University, and Dr. Michael K. Johnson, University of Maine, Farmington

The conference will be held in St. Louis, MO, Oct. 24 – 27, 2018.
Venue: Chase Park Plaza Hotel.

Emily Lutenski

Emily Lutenski

 

 

Michael K. Johnson

Michael K. Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Registration for the 2018
Western Literature Association
conference on
Indigenous Hubs, Gateway Cities, Border States 
is now open!

 

Click the blue button below to register at the ConfTool site.
Register at ConfTool Now
The conference registration deadline is September 24. Late fees ($25 for registration and $5 for meals) will apply after that date.
The Conference Theme

Indigenous Hubs, Gateway Cities, Border States

St. Louis’s Old Courthouse, where Dred Scott initiated his effort to sue for his freedom, is part of the Gateway Arch National Park. The Gateway Arch itself was built as a monument to “men who made possible the territorial expansion of the United States, particularly President Jefferson . . . the great explorers, Lewis and Clark, and the hardy hunters, trappers, frontiersmen and pioneers who contributed to the . . . development of these United States.”

This site, its representations, and the silences they engender, serve as a potent reminder of the intricately linked histories of U.S. imperialism and enslavement. Our conference theme “Indigenous Hubs, Gateway Cities, Border States,” is derived from such confluences.

This year’s program offers an incredibly exciting array of contributions by both critics and creative writers, many interrogating the nexus of race and region, indigenous geographies, feminist critical regionalisms, and much more.

If you are presenting, you can search the program by your name in order to see when your paper has been scheduled. You will also see if you have been tentatively assigned to chair a session. As you peruse the program, if you see a panel that has not yet been assigned a chair and you would like to volunteer, please e-mail the conference organizers at wlaconference2018@westernlit.orgto let us know. We will do our best to accommodate these requests!

The Conference Site

The Chase Park Plaza Hotel

The 2018 conference will be held at the historic Chase Park Plaza hotel, constructed in 1922 and located in the city’s Central West End neighborhood, which has been home to some of the St. Louis’s most famous writers, like T.S. Eliot, Tennessee Williams, Kate Chopin, and William S. Burroughs.

Today, it is a walkable, vibrant neighborhood teeming with restaurants and shops like the independent Left Bank Books. It is adjacent to the 1,300-acre Forest Park, the site of the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, and today the St. Louis Art Museum and Missouri History Museum.

Click the blue button below to make your hotel reservations.
The cutoff date for conference rate reservations is October 3.

Make Reservations at the Chase Park Plaza Now
Conference Travel

Discounts and Ground Transportation

United Airlines will offer travel discounts to conference attendees. Visit www.united.com/meetingtravel and enter the discount code ZEZH245642 in the offer code box–or call the United Meeting Reservation Desk at 1-800-426-1122. Booking fees are waived for meeting reservations. The discount is only available for travel dates between October 20 and October 31, 2018.

Once at St. Louis Lambert International Airport, the Chase Park Plaza is easily accessible by ground transportation. The shuttle service Go Best Express is offering discounts for WLA meeting attendees at the following link: https://gobestexpress.com/reservations?code=WLA2018.

Furthermore, the airport is serviced by taxis, ride share services Uber and Lyft, and the MetroLink light rail, which can take you from the airport to the Central West End station, a few blocks from the Chase.

Keynotes by Distinguished Award Winners

Percival Everett

Percival Everett counts among his many accolades two Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards and a Guggenheim Fellowship in fiction. He is the author of around 30 books, many set in the American West.

No contemporary African American author has represented the black western experience in such extensive, nuanced, and complex ways. Everett will be a keynote speaker at the conference as winner of the 2018 WLA Distinguished Achievement Award in Creative Writing.

José E. Limón

José E. Limón is the Notre Dame Foundation Professor of American Literature Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame and the Mody C. Boatright Professor of American Literature Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin.

His pathbreaking interdisciplinary work in literature and folklore has long asked pressing questions about the cultural politics of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands and Greater Mexico. These resonate today perhaps more urgently than ever. Limón will be a keynote speaker at the conference as winner of the 2018 WLA Distinguished Achievement Award in Criticism.

More Special Events

Whose Streets? Screening and Discussion

Our opening night will feature a screening of Whose Streets?which documents the activism following the police shooting of Michael Brown, Jr. in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri.

The screening will be followed by a discussion of these events, and of how contemporary racial politics are shaped by the histories of place.

Past President’s Lunch with Eugene B. Redmond

WLA Past-President Florence Amamoto will speak with East St. Louis poet, scholar, and activist Eugene B. Redmond.

An architect of the Black Arts Movement, Redmond’s poetry has often engaged with local borders and borderlands. A poem called “Carryover,” for example, proclaims, “I have been tattooed for life: / A thought called EAST SAINT LOUIS / Is etched on each Island of my Brain.”

Women’s Breakfast and #MeToo Dialogue

Self-identified women and gender nonconforming people are invited to meet over continental breakfast on Thursday, October 25 from 7:30-8:30 in order to establish friendships, coalitions, and mentoring relationships. Breakfast will be followed by a moderated discussion about how the MeToo movement has shaped classrooms, research, and lives.

Sign up for the breakfast with registration; the discussion is open to all conference participants from 8:30-9:00 am. 

A Reading for the Mound Builders

Organized by Professor Chadwick Allen of the University of Washington, “A Reading for the Mound Builders” will feature noted writers LeAnne Howe, Phillip Carroll Morgan, and Allison Hedge Coke.

This will dovetail with a planned excursion to Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, the center of the largest pre-Columbian civilization north of Mexico.

The Digital Humanities and Western Literature

Sara L. Schwebel, Professor of English at the University of South Carolina, will speak about the possibilities of public humanities collaborations.

Her multimedia project in conjunction with Channel Islands National Park is organized around the children’s book Island of the Blue Dolphins, and equips K-12 teachers with tools to teach not only about the book, but also about the indigenous woman whose isolation due to Spanish colonial policies of reducción inspired it.

Awards Banquet

WLA Awards Banquet with Candice Ivory

The “Queen of Avant Soul,” Candice Ivory, will perform at the WLA awards banquet. Today she’s a St. Louisan, but Ms. Ivory has roots in Memphis, Tennessee, and is immersed in the jazz, blues, gospel, and soul traditions of both places. 

There is still time to submit work for some WLA awards to be honored at the banquet, including the J. Golden Taylor Award for best graduate student work submitted to the conference; the Dorys Grover Awards for outstanding graduate student papers on region, place, and space in western American literatures; the Frederick Manfred Award for best creative writing submission to the annual conference; and the Louis Owens Awards for graduate student travel to the conference.

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June 18, 2018

Dear WLA Members,

We hope summer is treating you well, and we look forward to welcoming you to St. Louis in October! To that end, we want this conference to be open to as many as possible, so we are extending the proposal deadline to July 1, 2018.

Understanding Our Place: Conference Proposals, Conference Theme, Conference Site

St. Louis’s Old Courthouse, where the Dred Scott case was initiated. Along with the Gateway Arch and the Museum of Westward Expansion, the Old Courthouse comprises the Gateway Arch National Park (which, until 2018, was called the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial). The linkage of these sites is a reminder of the intricate relations between U.S. imperialism and histories of enslavement.

Please submit proposals for individual papers and complete sessions to ConfTool. Remember that ConfTool accounts don’t carry over from year to year, so if you haven’t created a 2018 account, you must do so before you submit your proposal. Remember that we welcome critical and creative writing proposals on any aspect of literature and culture of the North American West—but we’re also happy to receive submissions that tie to this year’s conference theme: “Indigenous Hubs, Gateway Cities, Border States.”

The Saint Louis Art Museum is housed in the only World’s Fair building—the “Palace of Fine Arts”—designed to be permanent.

The 2018 conference will be held at the historic Chase Park Plaza hotel, constructed in 1922, located in the city’s Central West End neighborhood. The Central West End was home to some of St. Louis’s most well-known writers: T.S. Eliot, Tennessee Williams, Kate Chopin, and William S. Burroughs, for example, all lived in the neighborhood. Today, it is a walkable area teeming with restaurants and shops, including the independent bookstore Left Bank Books. It is also adjacent to St. Louis’s 1,300-acre Forest Park, the site of the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition (which popularized the ice cream cone and Dr. Pepper as it celebrated U.S. imperialism), and today the St. Louis Art Museum and the Missouri History Museum.

Chase Hotel (early 1920s), by W.C. Persons. Missouri Historical Society Collections.

As a site for jazz-age partygoing among well-heeled St. Louisans, our conference site was featured on the front page of the New York Times on January 2, 1923, when an article described a riot that ensued when federal agents sent to enforce prohibition law raided the “fashionable Hotel Chase” on New Year’s Eve. A “barrage of chairs, glassware, plates, knives and forks were hurled promiscuously,” the Times noted. “Women became hysterical” while the “rumpus was in swing” until the “officers retreated.” “One woman,” a police sergeant reported, “had me by the collar as we were leaving.”

We can’t promise that level of excitement, but we can promise an exceptional conference line-up that examines the literature and culture of the North American West from creative and challenging angles, asking critical questions about what constitutes region and role it has played in shaping culture, identity, and power.

Looking Forward to the Program: Special Events and Guests

These questions, of course, can be seen animating the work of our Distinguished Achievement Award winners in both creative writing and criticism:Percival Everett and José E. Limón.

Everett’s 2015 short story collection, Half an Inch of Water, based in Wyoming, “paints a vibrant picture of the West that layers itself subtly but assertively over the prevailing mythos of the lonely white cowboy,” according to a review in the Los Angeles Times.

Percival Everett counts among his many accolades two Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards and a Guggenheim Fellowship in fiction. He is the author of around 30 books, many set in the American West. These include the parodic genre western God’s Country, as well as Suder, Walk Me to the Distance, Watershed, Wounded, Assumption, and the recent short story collection, Half an Inch of Water. No contemporary African American author has represented the black western experience in such extensive, nuanced, and complex ways. Everett is currently a Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California.

José E. Limón’s American Encounters requires we consider—perhaps now more urgently than ever—the following vision: “I wish to imagine the possibilities of a transformation of [the relationship between Greater Mexico and the United States], so that all children who live today along the Texas border can once again enjoy the waters of the Rio Grande—so that all of the children of Greater Mexico and the United States may play along the border and beyond, carrying their Mexico and their United States within them, . . . crossing this frontier at their pleasure, in equality, and in a peaceful and plentitudinous light of day” (José E. Limón, American Encounters: Greater Mexico, the United States, and the Erotics of Culture [Boston: Beacon Press, 1999], 6).

José E. Limón is the Notre Dame Foundation Professor of American Literature Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame and the Mody C. Boatright Professor of American Literature Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin. His interdisciplinary work brings together literature, anthropology, and folklore in studies of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, Greater Mexico, and American regions and nations broadly conceived. Among his books are Dancing with the Devil: Society and Cultural Poetics in Mexican-American South Texas, Mexican Ballads, Chicano Poems: History and Influence in Mexican American Social Poetry, American Encounters: Greater Mexico, the United States, and the Erotics of Culture, and Américo Paredes: Culture and Critique. He is currently working on a book titled Neither Friends, Nor Strangers: Mexicans and Anglos in the Literary Making of Texas.

The plenaries by these Distinguished Achievement Award winners, while certainly the centerpiece of our conference, are not the only events of note.

Mural at Ponderosa Steakhouse, W. Florissant Ave., Ferguson, MO. 2014. 6’x8′. Image courtesy of COCA—Center of Creative Arts. Photo © Michael Kilfoy.

On our opening night, we will be screening and discussing the film Whose Streets?, which documents the activism that grew from the 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown, Jr., in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. This will be followed by a discussion moderated by Jonathan Smith, Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement at Saint Louis University and a scholar of African American literature.

During the conference, we will hear from Teresa McKenna, a foundational scholar in Chicana feminist studies and Associate Professor Emerita at the University of Southern California, who will read from her memoir.

We will learn about the possibilities of public humanities collaborations from Sara L. Schwebel, Professor of English at the University of South Carolina, who has collaborated with Channel Islands National Park on a digital humanities project for K-12 teaching organized around the children’s book Island of the Blue Dolphins and the indigenous woman, whose isolation due Spanish colonial policies of reducción and trade, inspired it. Professor Schwebel’s talk will lead nicely into presentations by the WLA/Charles Redd Center K-12 Teaching Award winners on Saturday.

East St. Louis poet, scholar, and activist Eugene B. Redmond will read from and speak about his work at the 2018 WLA Past-President’s lunch.

We will also engage local borders when we hear from poet, scholar, and activist Eugene B. Redmond during the Past-President’s lunch on Thursday. Dr. Redmond, along with fellow East St. Louisan Katherine Dunham and St. Louisan Maya Angelou, was an architect of the Black Arts Movement in the region. From his earliest poetry, Redmond has been a place-based poet. A poem titled “Carryover,” for example, which he read at East St. Louisan Miles Davis’s funeral, proclaims, “I have been tattooed for life: / A thought called EAST SAINT LOUIS / Is etched on each Island of my Brain.” “EAST SAINT LOUIS will rise!” It “Will rise from the muddy gutty Mississippi. / Will rise disguised as AFRICA” (in Gerald Early, “Ain’t But a Place”: An Anthology of African American Writings about St. Louis [St. Louis: Missouri Historical Society Press, 1998], 481).

The ancestral Mississippian city of Cahokia is directly across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. Monks Mound, pictured here, is the largest structure on the site and is the largest earthen mound north of Mexico. St. Louis was once nicknamed “Mound City,” but today only one mound within the city limits has escaped destruction: Sugarloaf Mound, which was purchased by the Osage Nation in 2009. The tribe hopes to preserve the mound and develop an interpretive center to teach St. Louisans about their city’s history from an indigenous perspective.

Candice Ivory, the “Queen of Avant Soul,” will perform at the 2018 WLA banquet.

And we’re delighted to be honoring the WLA’s 2018 award winners at the banquet on Friday night, where the “Queen of Avant Soul,” the fabulousCandice Ivory, will be joining us to perform. Today a St. Louisan, but with roots in Memphis, Tennessee, Ivory is immersed in the gospel, blues, jazz, and soul traditions of both places. We let her know that the WLA likes to dance!

In Closing, In Friendship, In Appreciation

If it wasn’t clear from the above, we are delighted to share this conference with you, our dear colleagues and friends, who have done so much to push our field in new and exciting directions. This is a preview of what’s in store—but there’s even more to come!

Most importantly, of course, is the tremendous compendium of critical and creative work on the North American West by you—the membership. So please do submit any remaining proposals by July 1, 2018. Thank you for all your contributions—we cannot do this conference, and we cannot do our work in western literature, in all its diversity, without you.

Best wishes,
Michael and Emily
Your 2018 WLA Co-Presidents


June 9, 2018

Dear WLA Members:

Just a quick reminder and a little bit of conference news.

Reminder: we are ready to start receiving proposals (deadline June 15) for the 2018 Western Literature Association conference, to be held October 24-27, in the Chase Park Plaza Hotel in St. Louis.

Bit of news: Remember to bring your dancing shoes to the conference, because Candice Ivory will be performing at the banquet: http://candiceivory.com/biography/

Below is the how-to-submit-a-proposal-through-Conftool instructions:

To submit a proposal, go to:  https://www.conftool.pro/wla-conference-2018/

Please keep in mind a few things:

  1. ConfTool is the only way to submit your proposal. Even if you’ve submitted through ConfTool before, you will need to create a new account for the 2018 conference, which you can do starting at the above URL. Once you have finished your submission, you will receive a notice from ConfTool indicating your submission success. If you don’t receive this email, check your spam folder and be sure to allow messages from ConfTool to get through to you, as some other important information (such as proposal acceptance notices) will like be sent through this system.
  2. You should submit an abstract for your paper only. For panels and roundtable, please remember that each member of the panel or roundtable must create an individual account and submission. The individual contributions on a panel are linked by the title of the panel, so for pre-formed panels, please enter the title of the panel followed by the title of the individual contribution. (Example: “Gateway Cities” / “St. Louis as Gateway West”)
  3. Shortly before the conference, the schedule will be available to download through the Conference4Me app (and will also be available online and at the conference in print form). A unique feature of the Conference4Me app is that it will allow you to download the schedule to your phone, and it will allow you to view the abstracts of papers accepted for the conference. We will send out instructions for downloading the Conference4Me app prior to the conference dates.
  4. The deadline for all submissions is June 15, 2018.
  5. Graduate students who wish to have their papers considered for the Taylor Award or the Grover Award, creative writers wishing to be considered for the Manfred Award, and those vying for the coveted Willa Pilla (awarded for most humorous), please note there are individual items to check in the topics list in order to alert us of your desire for consideration for those awards. Descriptions of these awards can be found on the WLA website: http://www.westernlit.org/western-literature-association-awards/
  6. Final copies of papers for the Taylor, Grover, and Manfred Awards are due (to Michael at michael.johnson@maine.edu) no later than August 15 so they can be sent to the appropriate Award Committees for consideration.
  7. Registration information will be sent out (via email and on the website) later, after acceptances have been made (probably in early July).
  8. Remember that all presenters MUST be a member of the Western Literature Association. You’ll have a chance to renew your membership with your registration. Or renew or join earlier via the WLA website: http://www.westernlit.org/membership/

Michael K. Johnson and Emily Lutenski

Your WLA Presidents 2018


 

May 18, 2018

Dear WLA Members:

Just a quick reminder that we are ready to start receiving proposals (deadline June 15) for the 2018 Western Literature Association conference, to be held October 24-27, in the Chase Park Plaza Hotel in St. Louis.

To submit a proposal, go to:  https://www.conftool.pro/wla-conference-2018/

Please keep in mind a few things:

  1. ConfTool is the only way to submit your proposal. Even if you’ve submitted through ConfTool before, you will need to create a new account for the 2018 conference, which you can do starting at the above URL. Once you have finished your submission, you will receive a notice from ConfTool indicating your submission success. If you don’t receive this email, check your spam folder and be sure to allow messages from ConfTool to get through to you, as some other important information (such as proposal acceptance notices) will like be sent through this system.
  2. You should submit an abstract for your paper only. For panels and roundtable, please remember that each member of the panel or roundtable must create an individual account and submission. The individual contributions on a panel are linked by the title of the panel, so for pre-formed panels, please enter the title of the panel followed by the title of the individual contribution. (Example: “Gateway Cities” / “St. Louis as Gateway West”)
  3. Shortly before the conference, the schedule will be available to download through the Conference4Me app (and will also be available online and at the conference in print form). A unique feature of the Conference4Me app is that it will allow you to download the schedule to your phone, and it will allow you to view the abstracts of papers accepted for the conference. We will send out instructions for downloading the Conference4Me app prior to the conference dates.
  4. The deadline for all submissions is June 15, 2018.
  5. Graduate students who wish to have their papers considered for the Taylor Award or the Grover Award, creative writers wishing to be considered for the Manfred Award, and those vying for the coveted Willa Pilla (awarded for most humorous), please note there are individual items to check in the topics list in order to alert us of your desire for consideration for those awards. Descriptions of these awards can be found on the WLA website: http://www.westernlit.org/western-literature-association-awards/
  6. Final copies of papers for the Taylor, Grover, and Manfred Awards are due (to Michael at michael.johnson@maine.edu) no later than August 15 so they can be sent to the appropriate Award Committees for consideration.
  7. Registration information will be sent out (via email and on the website) later, after acceptances have been made (probably in early July).
  8. Remember that all presenters MUST be a member of the Western Literature Association. You’ll have a chance to renew your membership with your registration. Or renew or join earlier via the WLA website: http://www.westernlit.org/membership/

Michael K. Johnson and Emily Lutenski

Your WLA Presidents 2018


April 16, 2018

Dear WLA Members:

Greetings from St. Louis! We are looking forward to getting your paper, panel, and roundtable proposals for the 2018 Western Literature Association conference, to be held October 24-27, in the Chase Park Plaza Hotel in St. Louis.

We are ready to start receiving your proposals!

To submit a proposal, go to:  https://www.conftool.pro/wla-conference-2018/

Please keep in mind a few things:

  1. ConfTool is the only way to submit your proposal. Even if you’ve submitted through ConfTool before, you will need to create a new account for the 2018 conference, which you can do starting at the above URL. Once you have finished your submission, you will receive a notice from ConfTool indicating your submission success. If you don’t receive this email, check your spam folder and be sure to allow messages from ConfTool to get through to you, as some other important information (such as proposal acceptance notices) will like be sent through this system.
  2. You should submit an abstract for your paper only. For panels and roundtable, please remember that each member of the panel or roundtable must create an individual account and submission. The individual contributions on a panel are linked by the title of the panel, so for pre-formed panels, please enter the title of the panel followed by the title of the individual contribution. (Example: “Gateway Cities” / “St. Louis as Gateway West”)
  3. Shortly before the conference, the schedule will be available to download through the Conference4Me app (and will also be available online and at the conference in print form). A unique feature of the Conference4Me app is that it will allow you to download the schedule to your phone, and it will allow you to view the abstracts of papers accepted for the conference. We will send out instructions for downloading the Conference4Me app prior to the conference dates.
  4. The deadline for all submissions is June 15, 2018.
  5. Graduate students who wish to have their papers considered for the Taylor Award or the Grover Award, creative writers wishing to be considered for the Manfred Award, and those vying for the coveted Willa Pilla (awarded for most humorous), please note there are individual items to check in the topics list in order to alert us of your desire for consideration for those awards. Descriptions of these awards can be found on the WLA website: http://www.westernlit.org/western-literature-association-awards/
  6. Final copies of papers for the Taylor, Grover, and Manfred Awards are due (to Michael at michael.johnson@maine.edu) no later than August 15 so they can be sent to the appropriate Award Committees for consideration.
  7. Registration information will be sent out (via email and on the website) later, after acceptances have been made (probably in early July).
  8. Remember that all presenters MUST be a member of the Western Literature Association. You’ll have a chance to renew your membership with your registration. Or renew or join earlier via the WLA website: http://www.westernlit.org/membership/

Michael K. Johnson and Emily Lutenski

Your WLA Presidents 2018


February 15, 2018

Dear WLA Members:

Greetings from the edge of the West (and the edge of the East), from the gateway city of St. Louis, Missouri, where we are busy with preparations for the Western Literature Association St. Louis 2018 Conference, to be held October 24-27 in the Chase Park Plaza Hotel. The conference theme is “Indigenous Hubs, Gateway Cities, Border States.”

Among the conference highlights that we wanted to mention, Distinguished Achievement Award winners Percival Everett (creative writing) and José E. Limón (criticism) will be present at the conference and will be reading from their work.

Percival Everett is a two-time winner of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards for Fiction, a recent recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in fiction, and the author of around 30 books, including the parodic genre western God’s Country, as well as multiple books set in the American West, including Suder, Walk Me to the Distance, Watershed, Wounded, Assumption, and his recent short story collection, Half an Inch of Water. No other contemporary African American author has accomplished as extensive (and complex) a representation of African American western experience. He is currently a Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California.

José E. Limón is the Notre Dame Foundation Professor of American Literature Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame and the Mody C. Boatright Professor of American Literature Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a distinguished scholar of Mexican American literature and culture in wide-ranging and interdisciplinary work that brings together the study of literature, anthropology, and folklore in studies of literature of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, Greater Mexico, and region and nation more broadly conceived. He is the author of four books, including Dancing with the Devil: Society and Cultural Poetics in Mexican-American South Texas and Américo Paredes: Culture and Critique. He is currently working on a book titled Neither Friends, Nor Strangers: Mexicans and Anglos in the Literary Making of Texas.

We particularly look forward to proposals that engage the literary and critical work and legacies of our two Distinguished Achievement Award winners.

Our deadline for papers, panels, and other session ideas is June 15, 2018. Please see the original CFP and list of proposed themes we’d like to highlight below, but, as always, we welcome proposals on any aspect of the literature and culture of the North American West. 

Proposals should be submitted through the ConfTool link, which will be posted on this page once ConfTool has been set up to receive proposals.

Soon we will be posting a follow-up letter with more information on other conference activities (including possibilities for a Saturday excursion), as well as transportation and hotel information.

Stay tuned!

Michael K. Johnson and Emily Lutenski
Your WLA Presidents 2018


CALL FOR PAPERS

2018 Western Literature Association Conference

Indigenous Hubs, Gateway Cities, Border States

Still on Ponderosa ©Michael Kilfoy

Mural at Ponderosa Steakhouse, W. Florissant Ave., Ferguson, MO. 2014. 6’×8′.
Image courtesy of COCA—Center of Creative Arts. Photo ©Michael Kilfoy.

The 2018 annual conference of the Western Literature Association will take place October 24-27 at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri. “Indigenous Hubs, Gateway Cities, Border States” is derived from this location. This region, at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, has been urban for thousands of years: Cahokia, directly across the river from today’s St. Louis, housed the largest pre-Columbian civilization north of Mexico and was long a hub for trade, communication, and transportation throughout indigenous North America. Today it is well known for its impressive earthen mounds, which the Osage Nation, among other tribal groups, counts as an important ancestral site. Long before St. Louis was known as the “Gateway to the West,” it was nicknamed “Mound City.”

St. Louis would become a North American borderland, shaped by French, Spanish, and U.S. contact and conquest. With Missouri’s 1821 entry into the nation as a slave state, St. Louis became envisioned as a gateway to western freedom even while it maintained southern bondage. This position made it possible for hundreds of enslaved people, including Dred Scott, to attempt to sue for their freedom in St. Louis. During the Exoduster movement, St. Louis indeed became a gateway to freedom for many African Americans migrating away from postbellum southern oppression. An emblem of white flight and urban disinvestment in the 20th century, today St. Louis is home to newer immigrant communities and central to the Black Lives Matter movement. It continues to serve as a microcosm of U.S. racial histories and of both stubborn divisions and promising coalitions across lines of race, class, region, and nation. “Indigenous Hubs, Gateway Cities, Border States” is meant to evoke these confluences and crosscurrents.

Both Distinguished Achievement Award Winners, Percival Everett and José E. Limón, will be attending the conference, and each will give a reading.

We welcome proposals on any aspect of the literatures of the North American West, but especially encourage panels and papers that explore the following topics:

• St. Louis (or other western places) as Indigenous Hubs, Gateways, or Borderlands
• The African American West
• Jazz and Blues and the American West
• The Art and Literature of Black Lives Matter
• St. Louis Freedom Suits
• The Work of Distinguished Achievement Award Winner Percival Everett
• The Critical Legacy of Distinguished Achievement Award Winner José E. Limón

Proposals for panels and roundtable discussions should include an abstract for each paper or presentation. The deadline for submissions is June 15, 2018. Please submit questions to Michael K. Johnson or Emily Lutenski at WLAConference2018@westernlit.org.


For more information, check back periodically.

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  • Western Literature Association (WLA)

    Founded in 1965, the Western Literature Association (WLA) is a non-profit, scholarly association that promotes the study of the diverse literature and cultures of the North American West, past and present.

  • Western American Literature (WAL)

    (The Journal)

    Published by the Western Literature Association, Western American Literature is the leading journal in western American literary studies.