Archive for March, 2020

Joint MLA 2021 Call for Papers–ISSN and the Southasian and Southasian Diasporic forum

Monday, March 16th, 2020

The ISSN and the Southasian and Southasian Diasporic forum invite 300 word abstracts by March 15 to,, and in response to the call below.

Persistent Commercialization: Literary Criticism, Publishing, and the Academy

Literary endeavors have long been deeply imbricated with commercialization. Drama for the stage, poetry for patrons, and fiction for mass readership ensured that the production of literature was always connected to market imperatives. Today, authors and literary works are embedded in a global profit-oriented publishing matrix.

The emergence of literary studies as a discipline towards the end of the nineteenth century ensured that literature was embedded in a different market: that of the academy. Charting a narrative of literary studies from the long twentieth to the twenty-first century we can, even at the risk of some generalization, say that early-twentieth-century public institutions of higher learning sought to resist market imperatives in pedagogical approaches to literature. The privatization and corporatization of universities, however, have ensured the dominance of STEM disciplines, thereby threatening the inclusion in academic programs of narrative and literary studies.

Given these conditions, this panel seeks to interrogate the persistent commercialization of narrative studies and literary criticism in the context of postcolonial literatures. Some of the topics that might emerge from this enquiry are:

  • Splintering of literary studies into sub-specializations such as rhetoric and writing, literary theory and cultural studies, film and media, and creative writing in the academy.
  • Rise of “popular” narrative courses on topics such as the vampire novel, graphic fiction, and video games to counteract the diminishing number of students enrolling in literature courses.
  • Creative experiments with narrative and form leading to new genres such as Facebook Fiction, Instapoetry, and translation of canonical literature through technology such as the Global Chaucers project, Emoji Dickinson, and Emoji (Moby) Dick and the persistent translation of Jane Austen into South Asian contexts via film, TV, and popular fiction.
  • Theoretical responses to these forms, including those of postructuralism, postmodernism, postcolonialism, critical race theory, new media, feminist studies, and queer studies.
  • Big-stakes prize money for creative writers, with several newly-instituted prizes (the Caine Prize for African Writing, the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize offered by Yale University), along with established prizes such as the Man Booker, the Commonwealth Writers’, or the Neustadt International Literary Prize, often won by South Asian and postcolonial writers.
  • The primacy of conglomerates such as Amazon Publishing, Routledge, Palgrave-Macmillan, Penguin, and Hachette in the creative-critical market threatening university and small presses that are increasingly looking to publish postcolonial literature following the global success of South Asian writers such as Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Jhumpa Lahiri, Amitav Ghosh, Kamila Shamshie.

We look forward to hearing from you and to working together on this productive collaboration.

Call for nominations: 2021 Perkins Prize for books published in 2019

Monday, March 16th, 2020

2021 Perkins Prize Nominations

Established in 1994, the Perkins Prize honors Barbara Perkins and George Perkins, the founders of both The Journal of Narrative Technique and the Society itself. The prize, awarded to the book making the most significant contribution to the study of narrative in a given year, provides $1,000 plus a contribution of $500 toward the winning author’s expenses for attending the Narrative Conference at which the award will be presented.

The Perkins Prize is conceived as a book prize rather than an author prize. All books on the topic of narrative, whether edited collections, collaboratively written books, or monographs, are eligible to compete. If an edited collection or collaboratively written book is selected, the prize goes to the editor(s) or the collaborators. The winner of the competition for books published in 2019 will be announced at the MLA Convention in Toronto in January 2021, and the prize will be presented at the 2021 International Conference on Narrative in Chichester.

To nominate books with a copyright date of 2019, please send an email with “Perkins Prize” in the subject line to the chair of the judging committee, Maria Mäkelä: Publisher, third-party, and self-nominations are all appropriate. Copies of books must be sent directly to each of the three judges. Please indicate in the nominating email whether the publisher or the author will send the books.

The deadline for receipt of books by the judges is July 1, 2020.

Books should be sent by authors or their publishers directly to each of the three committee members:


Maria Mäkelä

Faculty of Social Sciences

FI-33014 Tampere Finland


Catherine Belling

Medical Humanities & Bioethics

Arthur J. Rubloff Building

420 E. Superior St., 6th Floor

Chicago, IL 60611 U.S.A.


Kent Puckett

1248 Yale Avenue

Claremont, CA 91711 U.S.A.