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Call for paper of the conference “Writing, the State, and the Rise of Neo-Nationalism: Historical Contexts and Contemporary Concerns“. An international, interdisciplinary conference to explore writing and the nation. The conference will feature a keynote address by Daniel Karlin, Winterstoke Professor of English at the University of Bristol.


Saturday, 30 June, 2018. 43 Harrington Gardens, London, SW7 4JU


In January 1868, John William De Forest took to the pages of The Nation with a call that would resound over the next century and a half: the writing of the “Great American Novel.” In so doing, he asserted both the shaping force of the nation on the arts, and the importance of the arts for the national imaginary. On the sesquicentennial of De Forest’s essay, the College of General Studies at Boston University will host an interdisciplinary conference to explore the broader intersection of writing and the nation.
Check here the complete call for paper. This conference seeks a diverse range of panels and papers from scholars in literary studies, rhetoric, the social sciences, and other disciplines. Interdisciplinary papers and panels, and papers and panels addressing transatlantic subjects, are especially encouraged. Possible topics include, but are by no means limited to, the following:

  • The portrayal of the nation-state in works of literature.
  • Representations of the relationships among the local, regional, and (or) global.
  • Challenges to, problems with, and affirmations of national belonging.
  • Reflections on De Forest’s original essay in light of the past 150 years.
  • The impact of socioeconomic changes on the project of a national literature.
  • The ways in which technological development can re-inscribe narratives of the political unit.
  • International exchanges on the idea of a “great” national literature.
  • Consideration of forces that help construct or challenge nation-oriented narratives of
  • literature.
  • Characteristics and implications of neo-national oratory.
  • Rhetorical analyses of neo-national propaganda.
  • The role of national iconography for literary and artistic expression.
  • The ways that marginalized populations can preserve or introduce their voices in the context of changes in the global landscape during the neo-national era.
  • Reactions to and presentations of neo-nationalism in the arts.


Deadline November 30,2017. Paper proposals should be 250-300 words in length and should include a brief CV. Panel proposals should be 300–500 words in length; indicate whether the panel will be traditional, seminar, or roundtable style; and include the names and CVs of participants and working titles of their papers. Submit all proposals to Christopher K. Coffman ( and Thomas Finan (
The conference is grateful for funding and administrative support from Boston University College of General Studies, the Center for Interdisciplinary Teaching & Learning, and from Boston University–London.
The conference is free and open to the public. If you plan to attend or participate in the conference, please register here.

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