• Testimonials

    I had rarely encountered such a friendly environment at a literature conference.
    Renata Goncalves Gomes, 2015
    Owens Award recipient 2013

WLA Conference 2022

56th WLA Conference
Santa Fe, NM

Wednesday, October 19–Saturday, October 22, 2022

View the PROGRAM here:


The submission portal is now closed, but you can still attend.

Register at https://www.conftool.pro/wla-conference-2022.

[Please create a new login/PW. Those from previous conferences will not work.]

Palimpsests and Western Literatures:
The Layered Spaces of History, Imagination, and the Future

hosted by Professors Lisa Tatonetti and Audrey Goodman

Luci Tapahonso (Diné) was chosen as the 2022 Distinguished Achievement Award recipient. She will accept the award at the conference!

Other distinguished speakers include renowned Chicana author, activist, and playwright Denise Chávez and award-winning Akwesasne Mohawk poet James Thomas Stevens along with his students from the Institute of American Indian Arts.

Trip to the Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary
About three miles east of the Plaza lies one of Santa Fe’s hidden gems, the Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary. This Saturday afternoon excursion, coordinated by Martin Padget, will consist of a visit to the gardens of the Audubon Center, where 190 species of birds make use of the Sanctuary’s 135 acres of land. 
We’ll meet at the Audubon Center at 2 pm (transportation will be coordinated by Martin). We’ll then walk the Nature Conservancy’s Santa Fe Canyon Preserve Trail, which can be joined from the Audubon Center. This 1.5-mile interpretive trail takes hikers into a restored riparian environment through which the Santa Fe River and to which beavers have returned. 
For those who wish to stretch their legs further, there will be an opportunity to walk a section of the Dale Balls Trails. 

GETTING TO SANTA FE: For information, click here.

The conference will be held at the beautiful Santa Fe Convention Center, Wed, October 19–Sat, October 22, 2022 



The main conference hotel will be the Drury Plaza Hotel, 828 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, NM 87501. 505-424-2175.


Conference group rates: $169 single or double; $179 triple; $189 quad 

Group rates include:
     • Complimentary Hot Breakfast (6:00-9:00 am weekdays and 7:00-10:00 am weekends)
     • Complimentary Evening Drinks and Snacks (5:30-7:00 pm)
     • Complimentary Wi-Fi
     • Reduced Valet Parking Fee ($10 per day—normally $24)

Reservations for the Drury Plaza Hotel in Santa Fe can be made by individual call-in or online at www.druryhotels.com. Our WLA Group number for the Drury is 2430688.

Reservations by group attendees must be received on or before Sunday, September 18, 2022. Reservations received after the cutoff date will be confirmed on a space-available basis at prevailing rates.

Individual reservations must be cancelled prior to 12:00 p.m. on the day before the reservation’s confirmed date of arrival in order to avoid a non-refundable fee equal to one night’s room rate plus tax. 


Additional rooms at conference rate will be available at the Inn of the Governors 

101 W. Almeda St.
Santa Fe, NM 87501


Conference Group Rates: Single or Double $140

Group rates include:

     • Complimentary Parking
     • Complimentary Mountain Sunrise Breakfast
     • Complimentary Sherry and Biscochitos
     • Complimentary Wi-Fi


Making Reservations at the Inn of the Governors: Individuals making reservations may do so by calling 1-800-234-4534. Please request the group rate for WLA. This will ensure that you are charged properly.

BILLING: Attendees will be responsible for all individual charges. Credit Card information will be required at the time of reservations. No guests will be able to check in without a valid Credit Card. Any reservation arrival changed to a later date within group dates or cancelled within five days of the original arrival date will be subject to a charge of one night’s room and tax. This charge will be made to the credit card holding the reservation.

Call for Papers:

Craig Dan Goseyun (San Carlos Apache), Apache Mountain Spirit Dancer (Courtesy Tourism Santa Fe)

Craig Dan Goseyun (San Carlos Apache), Apache Mountain Spirit Dancer (Courtesy Tourism Santa Fe)

A palimpsest is a material, be it birchbark, slate, or parchment, upon which something is written, and then expunged or blotted out, only to be written upon again. It is a thing made of layers of inscription, a thing made of strata of expression, a thing made of traces that may not be visible but can never be fully erased or repressed.

Santa Fe, the location of WLA in 2022, is a place made of palimpsests at once beautiful and disturbing. It is on Pueblo and Jicarilla Apache land and, at the same time, is the oldest capital in the United States. Called Ogha Po’oge or “White Shell Water Place” in Tewa, Santa Fe’s more commonly known name translates as “holy faith,” declaring the incursion of Spanish Catholicism and colonialism in territory Anglo Europeans termed the New World. Until 2020, at the center of the Santa Fe Plaza, stood a nineteenth-century settler monument honoring U.S. soldiers. One side of the obelisk read:

“To the heroes
who have fallen in the various battles with XXXX
Indians in the territory
Of New Mexico”

The missing word in the inscription had long been chiseled out. The carved-out indentation, layered upon that original, elided slur, spoke volumes. In recent years, the word “courageous” was written atop that same loud space. In preparation for Indigenous Peoples’ Day in October 2020, a coalition of protesters gathered and succeeded in occupying the Plaza and toppling the monument, despite the city’s efforts to police the area and protect the structure. This palimpsest speaks to the ways that settler colonialism tries to erase both the presence of Indigenous peoples and its own histories of violence and confirms the urgency and momentum of social justice movements throughout the U.S. West.

WLA 2022 takes such layered spaces of history, of imagination, of present, and of the future as its call.

We ask, then, for participants to look at the layers, collisions, omissions, and the expressive possibilities of the palimpsest. From Indigenous-Indigenous encounters, to settler incursions, to Mexican, Spanish, and broader Latinx landscapes, what is the palimpsest in Western literatures writ large? Is it the double exposure of a photograph? The bi- or tri-lingual text of a public mural? Is it in the queer traces in an Indigenous poem, a Cather story, or a Ryan Coogler film? Or in the multiple narrators of a Midwest podcast? Is it a novel with a Black zombie-fighting hero that remaps both Post-Civil War Kansas and YA fiction? Or is it the elision of the words “climate change” from government documents about threats to the Ogallala aquifer?

Together with considering the above questions, participants at the 2022 WLA conference might explore:

     • approaches to teaching texts and topics of the West in its broadest configuration;
     • anti-racist pedagogies and practices;
     • the work of invited speakers Luci Tapahonso, Denise Chávez, and James Thomas Stevens;
     • creative submissions that take the West as their point of departure.

We invite presentations in the widest of varieties, including flash panels with numerous papers or provocations, staged or open discussions, book roundtables, photo or video essays and other formats that seek to describe, uncover, decipher, and animate the inscriptions in and beyond this layered western space.

This year, the WLA is debuting a poster session that will be held during cocktail hour. We encourage posters from senior scholars to graduate and high school students or community members. Bring your research, your classes, and your imagination.

POSTER SUBMISSIONS ACCEPTED THROUGH SEPTEMBER 15, 2022. (Paper and panel submissions closed.) Abstracts of 200 words or less should be submitted via ConfTool: https://www.conftool.pro/wla-conference-2022
[Note: You must create a new password for this year’s submission.]

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