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Call for Papers

Call for Papers





American Literature Association


23rd Annual Conference




May 24-27, 2012





Hyatt Regency San Francisco


In EmbarcaderoCenter


5 Embarcadero Center


San Francisco, CA94111








Conference Director:      Alfred Bendixen

Texas A & MUniversity





Conference Fee:  For those who pre-register before April 15, 2012:  $90 


($60 for Graduate Students, Independent Scholars, and Retired Faculty).


 After April 15, the fees are $100 and $75.








Deadline for Proposals:       January 30, 2012





<< scroll down for more >>





The ALA website contains further details and instructions for submitting proposals as well as important information for representatives of participating author societies.  Proposals from individuals and program information from author societies should be sent to Professor Alfred Bendixen via email


 by January 30, 2012 following the instructions on the website:

Our San Francisco Location: In 2012, the American Literature Association will return to the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco in the EmbarcaderoCenter, one of the best locations in this exciting city. For further information, consult the hotelÂ’s website (





ALA Conference Housing Information: The Hyatt Regency San Francisco will offer a conference rate of $165 for a single or double room (triples are $190).  For reservations, please use the on line link at or call 1-800-233-1234 before April 15, 2012 and make sure to request the American Literature conference rate.





Conference Details:  For the 2012 conference, the ALA will again rely on electronic submission of program information and conference proposals.  As usual, the societies that make up the American Literature Association will organize much of the program. Individual societies will issue their own calls for papers, which may be listed on the ALA website as well as on the societies’ own website and publications.  Guidelines for author societies are detailed towards the end of this notice.





Individuals may also propose papers or panels to the conference director by January 30, 2012.  Preference will be given to papers and panels that represent authors, genres, or topics that are not covered by the societies that make up the ALA.  Proposals must follow the guidelines described at the end of this notice.





Tentative Conference Schedule:





            Thursday, May 24 2012:             Sessions from 8:30 AM until 6:50 PM.


Book Exhibit set up for exhibitors


Opening Reception :  6:50- 8:00 PM


              Friday, May 25, 2012:              Sessions from 8 AM until 6:20 PM.


                                                             Book Exhibit:  9 AM –5 PM


             Saturday, May 26, 2012:           Sessions from 8 AM until 7 PM.


Book Exhibit:  9 AM – 1 PM


ALA  Reading and Reception: 7 PM


             Sunday, May 27, 2012:                          Sessions from 8:30 AM until 1 PM








Book Exhibit:   An exhibit of scholarly books will be held during the second two days of the conference. Thursday will be used to permit exhibitors to set up.  About twenty publishers are expected to take part. To have your books represented at the exhibit, ask your publisher to consider taking part in the book exhibit or to contact Scholar’s Choice (see information below), which will organizing exhibits for publishers.  Publishers should direct any questions to Alfred Bendixen at -- We welcome the participation of publishers and are one of the few scholarly organizations that do NOT charge an exhibit fee.





ScholarÂ’s Choice:  The ScholarÂ’s Choice will again have a combined book exhibit at the 2010 ALA meeting.  The procedure that should be followed has been sent to us by The ScholarÂ’s Choice:



Anyone interested in having their book displayed at the 2012 ALA conference should contact their publisher & let them know they'd like to see their book included in The Scholar's Choice exhibit.  Please keep in mind that the publishers pay a fee to display with The ScholarÂ’s Choice and may not have the marketing budget necessary to honor all requests, particularly for older titles. It is The ScholarÂ’s Choice policy to have one copy of the book on display. They accept orders for the books which are fulfilled by the publisher. Reservations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis so reserving early is recommended. Please note that The Scholar's Choice displays on behalf of the publishers and ALL requests must be made by the publisher, not the author. If they don't already have the necessary paperwork,  your press may email Debby Pitts at





The conference fee covers the costs of the conference including the opening and closing receptions.  It does not include any meals. All of those who are on the program are required to pre-register. For those who register before April 15, 2012, the pre-registration rate is $90 ($60 for Graduate Students, Independent Scholars, and Retired Faculty).  After April 15, the conference fee becomes $100 ($75 for Graduate Students, Independent Scholars, and Retired Faculty). Registration Information for the conference will be available on the website in January. The website will list the program as soon as it is available –a draft will probably appear during the second week of  March.  Copies of the printed program will be mailed in late April to those who pre-register.





ALA Membership:  Membership in the ALA is not required in order to propose or present a paper.  In fact, technically the members of the American Literature Association are the various author societies.  Individuals may keep informed about the activities of the ALA by checking our website (, which is the primary source for information about ALA activities.  Individuals can also be placed on a mailing list by sending a check for $10 made out to the American Literature Association to: Alfred Bendixen, English Department, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4227.  Those on the mailing list will receive copies of the annual call for papers and tconference announcement.





The easiest way to find out about the conference and all ALA activities is by consulting our website:





ALA Guidelines: The most common ALA format is a time slot of one hour and twenty minutes with three papers and a chair.  This permits some time for discussion and three papers of approximately 20 minutes (or ten typed double-spaced pages). Organizers of panels are free to use other formats provided they respect the time limits.  Please note that the normal reading time for a paper is two minutes per double-spaced page (or 20 minutes for a 10-page paper). Furthermore, the ALA encourages panel organizers to experiment with innovative formats including discussion groups and panels featuring more speakers and briefer papers. Chairs will make sure that the panels start and end on time and that no speaker goes beyond the allotted time limit.  Chairs may NOT present papers on the panels that they are moderating, and no one may present more than one paper at the ALA conference. Individuals may, however, present a paper on one panel, and chair other panels, and/or also present on roundtable discussions.





Procedures for Author Societies:  The representatives of the various author societies that make up the American Literature Association will organize most of the program.  Societies are expected to offer their own calls for papers using their websites, email list-serves, newsletters, other publications, or mailing lists.  Each society is also expected to post a call for papers or announce its plans on this ALA website by sending the CFP to the conference director at as soon as possible and No Later Than December 1, 2011.   Societies are expected to advertise the national conference in their publications or on their websites.  This expectation can be met by including the following notice in appropriate publications and websites:





The American Literature Association’s 23rd annual conference will meet at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco in  Embarcadero Center on May 24- 27, 2012 (Thursday through Sunday of Memorial Day weekend).  The deadline for all proposals is January 30, 2012. For further information, please consult the ALA website at or contact the conference director, Professor Alfred Bendixen  of TexasA & MUniversity at with specific questions.





The official representatives of each author societies should confirm tentative plans for sessions with the conference director by email at before Nov 1, 2011. This is essential if any society is requesting more than two sessions and a business meeting. All that is required is an email noting the number of desired sessions and any special requests. If your society, for whatever reason, chooses not to sponsor a session this year, please let the conference director know that.





By January 30, 2012, the conference director should receive an email  with the complete program information. That information should follow the following format for each panel:





1.         The subject line of the email should read ALA 2010: Name of Society. This enables the conference director to file emails efficiently. Then provide the rest of information as both an attachment (preferably in WORD) and pasted in.  The ALA will use Ariel Narrow (12 point font); please do so if you can.  If you cannot, do not worry about it.


2.                   Provide the program information so that it can be pasted into the final program.  Please look at the following sample and then at the specific instructions that follow:





The Sublime in the Poetry of Sample
Organized by the Ima Sample Society




Chair:  Joseph Goodscholar, University of Great Hopes





1.         “Irony and Angst in the poetry of Ima Sample,” Noah Problem, College of Notre Doubt


2.         “The BeautifulGarden in The Jungle: Sample’s Influence on Sinclair,” Raphael Hythloday, University of East London


3.         “Sample’s ‘Mambo’ Poems and the Humor of Mark Twain: Beyond Beauty and Truth,” Uriah Heap, Independent Scholar





Audio-Visual Equipment required: None




Requested slot: Thursday or Friday morning





Business Meeting Requested:  immediately following panel if possible




Please note that the sample above has no formatting (no bold, no CAPS). Please note that the presentations are listed with numbers and then five spaces and then the information.  They are NOT INDENTED as some word processing panels will do automatically unless you turn off auto-format. Book titles are italicized. If the conference organizer can cut and paste, then everything goes quickly. 





A.               Provide the exact Title of the Session as you wish it listed in the Program.  (Please try to be both concise and precise). Please do NOT use CAPS or special fonts or highlighting or Bold or any special formatting in any part of the material you send!


B.               On the second line, please write Organized by Name of Your Society


C.              Then list:  Chair: Name, Affiliation


D.              For each paper, begin with a number, skip five spaces or hit tab, then provide the title of the presentation in quotation marks, and then the correct name of the presenter, and his or her academic affiliation. For independent scholars, you may identify a society, a place, or just note independent scholar or biographer or anything you deem appropriate.  For any questions about matters of format and style, please consult The Chicago Manual of Style.


E.               You may list a respondent, if appropriate and desired.


F.               Then write Audio-Visual Equipment Required and state NONE or request the specific equipment desired.  The ALA will normally provide projectors for powerpoint and dvd presentations and screens (but we will not provide laptop computers).  We will no longer provide overhead projectors, slide projectors, vcrs, or cd or cassette tape players (but you may, of course, bring your own cd or tape player). Please note that audio-visual equipment is very expensive and usually takes up over $12,000 of our budget. It costs much more to rent a piece of a/v equipment and a competent Tech person for three days than it costs to buy it. Feel free to use a/v if needed, but make sure that all audio-visual requests reach the conference director by January 30, 2012.


G.              Because of the complexity of the program, we cannot permit individual societies to request specific time slots, but you may designate two preferred days and request either morning or afternoon.  The conference director will attempt to honor all reasonable requests provided the required program information arrives by January 30, 2012, but no promises or guarantees can be made


H.         Please italicize book-length works and foreign phrases and use quotation marks for    

             shorter works.

I.         Please remind all of your participants that no-one may present more than one paper at the ALA conference and that we need to know about a/v requests immediately.

J.           Proposals that fail to follow these directions will be returned to the proposer. 





3.          Please note that the ALA also accepts Round Table Discussions.  The difference between a panel and a round table is that a round table usually has a Moderator who is participating in the discussion (instead of a Chair who simply introduces speakers and monitors time) and more than 4 (four) participants.  Roundtable presentations may or may not have titles listed but round table presentations normally are 8 (eight) minutes or less in length.




4.         If you wish to also schedule a business meeting for your society, please request Business Meeting and provide any desired days and times.  It is important that you let the conference director know if you wish the business meeting to come before or after a panel.  Please note that we cannot guarantee to provide specific times, but we will usually try to put the business meeting directly after one of your sessions.





5.         Please note that we no longer need you to provide the email address or mailing address of your participants since ALL communication with your panel will go through you.


Please include a phone number where you can be reached in the event that the conference director is unable to email you.


The conference director will confirm the receipt of all emails within 3 business days.  The conference director may refer you to the website but will never send you an attachment to open, because of the danger of computer viruses.  By the second week in March, the conference director will let you know the day on which your panel or panels are scheduled.  You should inform your participants of the day and instruct them to register using the information on the website at and explaining that their early registration and payment saves the organization time and money. You will also inform them to check the on-line program for accuracy and to send any corrections to both you and the conference director. 


We’ll send a printed program to everyone who pre-registers. 





6.         If any conference proposal comes in after the deadline, the conference director may be unable to place it on the program and will not be able to consider requests for specific times.





Procedures for Individual Proposals:  Individuals may propose either a paper or a panel or round table to the conference director no earlier than December 1, 2011 and no later than the deadline of January 30, 2012.  The conference director will give preference to papers and panels on authors, texts, and topics not covered by the member societies of the ALA.  Those proposing a paper or panel on a topic represented by an author society should consult with the relevant society before submitting the proposal to the ALA.  All proposals must be by email and should be both pasted in and included as attachments (preferably in WORD).





For an Individual Paper:  In the subject line of the email, please put ALA 2010 Proposal: and then a brief title of between one and five words.  That will enable the conference director to file emails efficiently. Please provide a clear and useful title for your paper and then an abstract describing the paper (usually between 250-600 words) and then a brief discussion of your status (i.e., an Associate Professor who has published a book and several articles on this topic/author; a graduate student who is offering part of his/her dissertation, etc.) or a two-page vita if that is easier.  It is important that your abstract enable the conference director and his advisory committee to evaluate the nature of your work.  You must also indicate whether you need any audio-visual equipment to present your work. Please provide a phone number (which will only be used if email fails to work for some reason).





In choosing papers, the conference director may need to emphasize the ways in which individual papers contribute to the formation of logical and coherent panels,




For a panel:  Please follow the sample below so the conference director can paste in the panels and round tables that are accepted.


In the subject line of the email, please put ALA 2012 Proposal: and then a brief title of between one and five words.  In your proposal, which you should both paste into the email and provide as an attachment (preferably in Word), begin with the information in the sample below.


After providing the panel information in a form that can be pasted directly into the program, please provide a clear description of the panel and its goals, the titles of individual papers, appropriate abstracts for the papers, and a brief description of the participants and their relevant work.  It is crucial that you note any audio-visual needs in your proposal. Finally, please provide your phone number (which will only be used if email fails to work for some reason.)





Please consult the following Sample.





The Sublime in the American Gothic Tradition





Organizer and Chair: Joseph Goodscholar, University of Great Hopes





1.         “Irony and Angst in the Gothic Novels of the EarlyRepublic,” Noah Problem, College ofNotre Doubt


2.         “The BeautifulGarden in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter,”  Raphael Hythloday, University of East London


3.         “Beyond the Castle: Gothic Transformations in the Humor of American Realism,” Uriah Heap, Independent Scholar





Audio-Visual Equipment required: None





OR: if the organizer is not the chair of the session, then write





Organized by: Name of Individual organizer


And then Chair: Name





Please remember that individuals may NOT chair panels on which they present papers.





Please note that the sample above has no formatting (no bold, no CAPS). Please note that the presentations are listed with numbers and then five spaces then the information.  They are NOT INDENTED as some word processing panels will do automatically unless you turn off auto-format. Book titles are italicized. Commas are used to separate the title and presenter and affiliation and there is no period at the end of each listing.  If the conference organizer can cut and paste, then everything goes quickly. 





In evaluating the quality of a proposal, the ALA’s selection committee tends to be suspicious of any panel in which all the participants are from the same institution or are all graduate students.  The ALA welcomes panels that represent a diversity of perspectives and demonstrates relevant expertise. We believe that graduate students are best served when they are on panels with senior scholars and assistant professors.







Some reminders:





The deadline for all proposals from individuals and panels from author societies is January 30, 2012.





No-one may present more than one paper at an ALA conference.  It is possible to present a paper and chair another panel or panels and also participate in a round-table discussion.





Please make sure to indicate any audio-visual requests with your proposal.  Late a/v requests may not be considered.





Please make sure to follow the instructions above.  The use of electronic submissions enables the ALA to maintain the lowest conference fee of any major organization.





Participating author societies are required to advertise the national conference and are expected to post call for papers or announce their plans on the ALA website.





The conference director will attempt to acknowledge the receipt of all emails within 3 business days and will try to respond as quickly as possible to all proposals. 





Please note that the American Literature Association maintains the lowest conference fees of any major scholarly organization because it operates without a paid staff.  We cannot help you find a roommate or spend a great deal of time answering personal phone calls.  If you have any questions that are not answered by this announcement, please contact the conference director, Alfred Bendixen, Executive Director of the ALA, at