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    WLA faculty are committed to graduate student mentorship and are eager to support student scholarship by offering valuable feedback and creating spaces for exchange and collaboration.
    Ho'esta Mo'e'hahne, 2018
    Owens Award recipient 2016



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Call for Papers North American Ethnic Literatures in the 21st Century: Intersectional / Transatlantic Perspectives
An International Symposium May 25-26, 2023
Universitat Jaume I – Castellón (Spain) ABSTRACT SUBMISSION – EXTENDED DEADLINE Jan. 25th

North American writers of color have transformed canons through the critical dissemination of alternative histories, cultural practices, epistemologies, styles, political preoccupations, and interests concerning the region’s diversity of communities and nations. Even though many of these authors are now solidly positioned in the literary canon, 21st-century ethnic minority writing has gone through a series of shifts that respond to new post-9/11 traumas, racial profiling, heated debates on the so-called colorblind society, the reconfigured white ethnoscape, the interconnections of the environmental and racial justice movements, the sensitivities and demands of a woke generation, and the destabilization of gendered and racialized categories after #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, among other factors. Despite the new visibility received by ethnic minority authors (who are winning major literary prizes and public recognitions), their literature is still frequently taught and theorized from the margins or as a mere token or a multicultural supplement to a literary center that is still predominantly Anglo, white, masculine, and heteronormative. This happens most especially in European universities where the field of North American literary studies is often reduced to two or three courses in the curriculum.

The aim of this international symposium is to augment and amplify ongoing transatlantic conversations in the fields of critical race theory and literary studies that are reconsidering terms such as race, ethnicity, indigeneity, identity, mobility, community, solidarity, and futurity, and to explore 21st-century literary texts through an intersectional lens. In a series of thematic panels, we will examine these shifting critical, literary, and pedagogical practices paying special attention to the Obama and Trump eras in a local, national, hemispheric, and global context. The symposium is organized by the research group LENA: North American Ethnic Literatures in a Global Context (Universitat de València-Universitat Jaume I) and sponsored by the Generalitat Valenciana (Proyecto I+D+i “Reconfiguraciones de género, raza y clase social en la literatura étnica norteamericana de la era Obama/Trump” – GV/AICO/2021/249) and the Unesco Chair on Slavery and Afrodescendancy at Universitat Jaume I. Suggested topics may include the following: 21st-Century North American ethnic minority literatures: old and new genres, narrative strategies, and styles Constructions of race and ethnicity in the 21st century: post-race, transethnicity Understanding the North American ethnic debate in a global context:
transnational/transatlantic perspectives Ethnic-centered theories and pedagogies Intersections between the environmental humanities and critical race studies Race, gender, sexuality, and class as crossroads in narrative construction New social movements and their connections to ethnic narratives and racial formation International mobility and mobility justice in literary works Circulation, markets, and readers across the Atlantic Cross-cultural, cross-ethnic alliances Reading North American ethnic minority literatures in translation The future of BIPOC writing in the publishing world and in university education. 

Oral Communications: 20-minute papers can be delivered in English, Spanish or Catalan and, following the conference, we will invite participants to submit full articles to be considered for publication in a high ranked journal. The deadline for abstracts has been extended to January 25th 2023. Submissions should include a title, a 250-300-word summary, a short biographical note, your academic affiliation, and contact information.

Please send abstract proposals to: lenaresearchgroup@gmail.com

Contact emails: ortel@ang.uji.es Anna.M.Brigido@uv.es,Vicent.Cucarella@uv.es Registration Fee for Participants: 45 euros (early bird). For more information on the venue, presentation formats, keynote speakers, and social activities, please check our website: https://nael.uji.es

“Bright and Beautiful and Alive”: Willa Cather’s New York Intersections

18th International Cather Seminar

June 21-23, 2023

The New School | New York, NY

Despite her dominant association with the Great Plains, Willa Cather lived most of her life in New York City (1906-1947), first in Greenwich Village and later, after she had risen to the top of the literary profession, on Park Avenue on the upper east side. Though Cather only occasionally wrote about the city, it was her home for nearly forty years and a key element of her personal and professional life.

In the summer of 2023, for the first time in its history, the Cather Seminar will be in Manhattan at The New School, only blocks from the apartments Cather and her partner Edith Lewis shared between 1906 and 1932. This conference explores the city Willa Cather knew, but also the metropolis that was present around her, though perhaps not always visible to her. The goal of this seminar is to intellectually locate Cather in the broader context of New York in the first half of the twentieth century, and, further, to imagine her work as a product of that urban experience. This event will also be part of celebrations and observances throughout 2023 honoring Cather’s 150th birthday.

The Program Committee of the 2023 Cather Seminar invites proposals for papers on diverse themes, works, and people evoked by Cather’s early twentieth century experience in New York. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

·         Cather and Greenwich Village culture: bohemianism, LGBTQ+ communities, immigrant communities, activist communities, etc.
·         Cather and the Harlem Renaissance: gaps and connections
·         Race and Racism
·         Queer studies approaches to Cather’s life and work
·         Public health and urban approaches to wellness and disease
·         Labor and class in the city
·         Metropolitan studies and the mapping of identity
·         Cather, Edith Lewis, and the New York publishing industry
·         The urban immigrant experience and Cather’s representations of it
·         Arts, performance, and music in New York
·         Ecocritical approaches to reading Cather’s depictions of New York City

Graduate students and scholars new to Cather’s work are encouraged to make proposals. Scholarships will be available for select student presenters from the National Willa Cather Center and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Scholars should submit a proposal of no more than 500 words by February 1, 2023. Proposals can be submitted at https://www.willacather.org/events/nyc. Decisions about acceptance to the conference will be communicated by March 15, 2023.

The 18th International Willa Cather Seminar is sponsored by The New School, the National Willa Cather Center, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Academic Program Committee:

Charmion Gustke, Belmont University
Andy Jewell, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Julie Beth Napolin, The New School
Rachel Olsen, National Willa Cather Center
Tracy Tucker, National Willa Cather Center
Tracyann Williams, Fordham University

“Looking up the Avenue through the Arch, one could see the young poplars with their bright, sticky leaves, and the Brevoort glistening in its spring coat of paint, and shining horses and carriages,—occasionally an automobile, mis-shapen and sullen, like an ugly threat in a stream of things that were bright and beautiful and alive.” – Willa Cather, “Coming, Aphrodite!,” 1920

Complex and Brilliant: Cather at 150

“If her image flashed into his mind, it came with a brightness of dark eyes, her pale triangular cheeks with long earrings, and her many-coloured laugh. When he was dull, dull and tired of everything, he used to think that if he could hear that long-lost lady laugh again, he would be gay.” —A Lost Lady

Our 68th annual Willa Cather Spring Conference, held during Willa Cather’s sesquicentennial

year, marks several important anniversaries, and provides an opportunity to pay homage to the

author’s life and legacy in Nebraska. Cather’s book of poetry, April Twilights and Other Poems

was revised and published in February 1923, and A Lost Lady, the story of Marian Forrester and

her life in a dying Western railroad town, was first serialized in Century in the Spring of 1923,

then published by Knopf in September. As the follow-up to her 1922 Pulitzer Prize-winning One

of Ours, A Lost Lady was immediately praised, one critic hailing it as “Miss Cather’s

masterpiece.” The only one of her novels made into film in her lifetime, one hundred years later,

A Lost Lady remains one of Cather’s finest, a stunning portrait of a troubled woman in changing

times. Later that same year, Cather’s, “Nebraska: The End of the First Cycle” was published in

The Nation. Both a remembrance of the Nebraska of her childhood and an appraisal of a state

now “stamped with the ugly crest of materialism,” the essay provides as much of an opportunity

to celebrate Cather’s writing and re-examine her place in the American literary canon as A Lost


The directors invite papers on a variety of topics related to commemorating Cather’s 150th

birthday by examining the evolution of her own writerly imagination, including but not limited to

the following areas.

● The Year 1923: Cather at 50
● Reframing A Lost Lady at 100
○ Publishing history, public reception, and critical appraisals
○ Advances in scholarship since the publication of the 1997 Scholarly Edition
○ The Complete Letters and A Lost Lady: New Insights and New Perspectives
○ A Lost Lady, “Nebraska: The End of the First Cycle” and the colonial settlement patterns of the American West
○ “The Novel Demeuble” and A Lost Lady: Parallels and Practices
A Lost Lady, American Imperialism, and Native Americans
○ Intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, and disability in A Lost Lady
Nebraska on the Page
Cather’s depiction of small town life, people, and places in A Lost Lady and other Red Cloud texts.
○ Nebraska History and A Lost Lady—Beyond Prototypes and Settings
○ Nebraska and Webster County railroad history
● Cather, post-frontier Nebraska, and Western literature
● Cather and Fitzgerald; A Lost Lady and The Great Gatsby—Facts and Fiction
● Cather and Film; Cather and Hollywood—Connections and Critiques
● Portraiture and public letters–Cather’s evolution into a public figure
● Pedagogical approaches to A Lost Lady and other Cather texts
● The year 2073–Imagining Cather at 200

Proposals of no more than 500 words should describe papers or presentations approximately

twenty minutes long. Innovative formats are encouraged. Abstracts, along with a short bio, your

contact information and institutional affiliation, should be emailed to Rachel Olsen, director of

education and engagement, at rolsen@willacather.org by February 15, 2023. Responses to

proposals will be sent by mid-March. At this time we intend to offer an in-person conference but

remain committed to offering digital programming to our audiences. Accepted speakers are

asked, therefore, to prepare a video recording of their paper for submission by May 22, 2023, for

our digital conference platform. Questions may be directed to Rachel or Dr. James Jaap,

Academic Director of the 2023 Spring Conference, at jaj15@psu.edu.




  • 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.

  • Black Lives Matter

    The Western Literature Association (WLA) is in solidarity with Black communities, after the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, and the ongoing pattern of systemic racism and injustice that targets black and brown bodies. ...http://www.westernlit.org/black-lives-matter/