Conference abstracts due soon

New proposals are coming in every day now (thank you!), so this is just a short reminder that we’re counting down the final month until abstracts need to be submitted for WLA 2016.  Remember, the deadline is June 1.  You can access the CFP, other information about the conference, and the ConfTool address at

WLA Panel at SSAWW Conference (CFP)

CFP: WLA Panel at SSAWW Conference

Society for the Study of American Women Writers & Université Bordeaux Montaigne

5th – 8th July 2017

Venue: Université Bordeaux Montaigne, France

Venue: Université Bordeaux Montaigne, France

The Western Literature Association invites submissions for its upcoming panel at the international meeting of the Society for the Study of American Women Writers, July 5-8, 2017 in Bordeaux, France.

You can learn more about the conference here:

In response to the conference theme of “Border Crossings: Translation, Migration, & Gender in the Americas, the Transatlantic, & the Transpacific,” we welcome papers that consider how women writers respond to the ideological and imaginative boundaries that have shaped western American literary and cultural production. Proposed papers might address but are not limited to the following topics:

• gender, genre, and the West
negotiations of racial, ethnic, and religious difference in western women’s writing
• women writers and the geographic and chronological definitions of the West
• archival and recovery work in the field of western women’s writing
• women writers and the post-western West

E-mail a 300-word abstract and brief CV to Cathryn Halverson ( by May 10, 2016. While you do not need to be an SSAWW or WLA member to submit a proposal, you must be or become a member of both SSAWW and WLA in order to present as part of this panel.

Redd Center/WLA Teaching Western American Literature K-12 Educator Prize

Dear WLA colleagues,

Please encourage your K-12 colleagues to apply for the Redd Center/WLA Teaching Western American Literature K-12 Educator Prize. The purpose of the prize is to recognize creative and innovative approaches to teaching and to enhance discussions of pedagogy at the WLA conference. Two K-12 educators will receive a stipend to attend the WLA conference in Big Sky, Montana this September and to be part of a K-12 pedagogy panel on Saturday, September 24.

Please see the link below for more information. Feel free to forward this notice to Education department colleagues at your institutions as well as to your local school districts, state and local educator groups, or K-12 professional organizations

Randi Lynn Tanglen, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of English

Director, Johnson Center for Faculty Development

and Excellence in Teaching

The EcoGothic and the American West

As an affiliated organization, the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) hosts a panel at the annual WLA conference. As you know, this year WLA will be held September 21-24 in beautiful Big Sky, Montana! The conference theme is “The Profane West.”

The subject for the ASLE panel will be “The EcoGothic and the American West.” If you are interested in presenting on this panel, please send a 150-word abstract by Friday, April 28 to See below for the panel CFP.

CFP: The EcoGothic and the American West

Over the past five years, the use of the term “ecoGothic” to describe both a type of analysis and a mode of writing has proliferated among scholars interested in environmental writing that addresses the more terrifying/horrific aspects of the natural world. To date, much of the focus has been on authors whose work has more traditional Gothic overtones, such as Mary Shelley, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Bram Stoker, and Cormac McCarthy. This panel seeks to expand the conversation about the ecoGothic, specifically with respect to the print and visual culture of the American West.

Proposals and papers might address, among other things:

Ecophobia (fear and dread of nature)
Climate change
Natural disasters
Environmental injustice
Unnatural Anomalies

Amy T. Hamilton
Associate Professor of English
Northern Michigan University

WLA 2016 (ready for proposals)

From WLA President Linda K. Karell:

Hello Lovely WLA Members,

On your marks. . .

Get set. . . .
The season for proposing your papers, panels, and roundtables for WLA 2016 is officially upon us.  Unless I have terribly mangled this (which is possible, but less likely than I had originally supposed) ConfTool awaits your submissions. And of course, so do I!
Please keep in mind a few things:
1.  Conftool is not as ornery as it seems, but it is insistent about details, and it is the only way to submit your proposal. If you’ve used it before, you should be able to log in with your earlier information.  If you’re new to the site, it will guide you through the process of creating an account.  Once you have finished your submission, you will receive a charming robotic response from ConfTool indicating your submission success.
2.  You need only submit an abstract of your paper.  For panels and roundtables, please remember that each member of the panel or roundtable must create an individual account and submission.
3.The deadline for all submissions is June 1, 2016.  That’s two weeks earlier than usual, because the conference takes place September 21-24, which also is earlier than usual.  (We don’t want you snowed in and unable to escape from Big Sky.  Although it occurs to me that you might very well want that. . . .)
3.  Please use the topics list to help indicate key ideas in your paper.  Doing so will help us organize cohesive sessions and will create endless good will on our part.
4.  Graduate students who wish to have their papers considered for the Taylor Award, creative writers wishing to be considered for the Manfred Award, and those of you vying for the inestimably valuable Willa Pilla, please note there are individual topics to check in order to alert us of your request.
5.  Final copies of papers for the Taylor and Manfred Awards are due (to me) no later than August 15 so they can be sent to the appropriate Award Committee for consideration.
6.  Registration information will be sent out (via email and on the website) later, after acceptances have been made–probably by June 15 or thereabout.
7.  Remember that all presenters MUST be a member of the Western Literature Association.  You’ll have a chance to join or renew your membership with your registration.
The conference itself is shaping up nicely. Do come.
Wishing you a wonderful spring as I look forward to welcoming you to Big Sky in the fall.
Go. . . .

P.S.  To check out the conference doings, view the CFP, or see my happy mug, go here:

CFP (ASLE Symposium)

Call for Papers

The Heart of the Gila:

Wilderness and Water in the West

Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE)

2016 Off-Year Symposium, June 8-11, 2016

Western New Mexico University

Silver City, NM

Deadline Extended to March 15, 2016

Letting our location be our guide in focusing the theme, the Gila Wilderness was established as the nation’s first wilderness area 91 years ago and continues to define our regional identity. The Gila River remains the last free-flowing river in the Southwest, but there is a current proposal in the state legislature to dam the river; local activists have been organizing to fight the proposal. Drought, compounded by climate change, has greatly affected our area, with the largest fire in New Mexico state history occurring in the Gila during 2012.  The Gila was the northernmost region of the Mogollon People a millennium ago, and our region remains very culturally diverse with its close proximity to the Mexican-U.S. border.

We invite papers, roundtables, presentations, creative work, video presentations, and discussions from a range of disciplines and academic backgrounds that explore the past present, and future of wilderness, mythology of the West, Old West, New West, water, drought, climate change, desert, wastelands, atomic testing sites, military and western space, rivers, dams, tourism, fire, forest management, native cultures, migrant cultures, borders, activism, rhetoric of place, writers of place, writers of the West and Southwest (Aldo Leopold, Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, too many to name), wilderness philosophy, and diversity in the West. We invite participants to interpret the theme broadly. We especially welcome creative writers, activists, graduate students, and academics working in the humanities and beyond to consider submitting to the symposium.

Symposium sessions will be 90-minutes long. Both scholarly and creative submissions are welcome. Pre-formed panels are encouraged.

  • proposals for pre-formed panels must include at least four presentations (papers, readings, provocations, responses, etc.), 15 minutes-max each, plus a chair; panel organizers must submit the proposal on behalf of all panelists (500 word abstract for the panel outlining topic, format, participants’ roles; 300 word abstract for each contribution as relevant to the format; all contact information)
  • proposals for panels may also include roundtables (five or six 10 minute-max presentations plus discussion)
  • individual paper/reading/performance submissions are for 15 minute presentations; 300 word abstracts should describe both form and content and include all contact information

Please submit your proposal by March 15, 2016 on-line at We will notify you of its final status by March 21, 2016.

 For questions about submissions, the program, the symposium site, or field trips, please contact the symposium organizer Dr. Michaelann Nelson at

Plenary Speakers

Our list of invited speakers includes writers and scholars that are inspired by the people, culture, and landscape of our region in the Southwest.

  • David Gessner is the author of nine books, including All the Wild That Remains: Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner and the American West, as well as, My Green Manifesto, and The Tarball Chronicles, which won the 2012 Reed Award for Best Book on the Southern Environment and ASLE’s award for best book of creative writing in 2011 and 2012.
  • Sharman Russell, author of Diary of a Citizen Scientist: Chasing Tiger Beetles and Other New Ways of Engaging the World (WILLA Award Winner), as well as a dozen other books, writes primarily about nature and the southwest. She makes her home in the Gila.
  • Dave Foreman, founder of the direct action environmental group EarthFirst!, has written several books, including Confessions of an Eco-Warrior and Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching. He is currently the director of the Rewilding Institute, a think tank dedicated to promoting conservation and species extinction.
  • Lucy Tapahonso, Navajo Nation Poet Laureate, and author of several books of poetry, including The Women are Singing and Blue Horses Rush In. Her poetry is inspired by the idea that the feminine is a source of balance and power in the world.
  • Priscilla Ybarra, author of The Good Life: Mexican American Writing and the Environment. Dr. Ybarra’s work investigates Mexican American literature and environmental issues. She is a professor of English at the University of North Texas.
  • Phillip Connors, author of Fire Season: Field Notes From a Wilderness Lookout (National Outdoor Book Award, Sigurd Olsen Nature Writing Award), has spent the last decade as a fire lookout in the Gila National Forest. He previously was an editor at the Wall Street Journal.

Travel Awards

We will offer ten awards of $250 each to graduate students and independent scholars to help defray the cost of attending the symposium. Information on how to apply can be found on the website.

Symposium Location

Western New Mexico University is a diverse, public, regional university with about 3,500 students. Silver City is located in southwestern New Mexico at 6,000 feet elevation. It is the gateway to the Gila National Wilderness Area, the United States’ first wilderness area, as well as Gila Cliff Dwelling National Monument. It is known for its vibrant art community, locavore food scene, and all-around funky downtown. It has been recently named one of the top 20 small towns to visit by Smithsonian Magazine.

CFP: Teaching Western American Literature

CFP: Teaching Western American Literature

We invite submissions for a proposed collection of essays on teaching western American literature. If, as scholars and teachers of Western literatures and cultures, we regularly share our research, we perhaps do not as often get the chance to share new and innovative strategies for teaching courses or individual works in Western studies. Our volume seeks to fill this gap by offering a range of essays on teaching Western literatures and cultures that will appeal to specialists and non-specialists, faculty and graduate students, and experienced and inexperienced instructors alike. We are particularly interested in critically, historically, and theoretically informed essays that address practical aspects of course, assignment, and/or curricular design and that offer pioneering (or tried-and-true) strategies and approaches to specific pedagogical issues, subfields, classroom technologies, secondary or supplementary materials, authors, and texts. We also welcome essays that offer strategies for bringing Western literary and cultural studies and courses into the broader disciplines of literary and cultural studies.

Possible essay topics include approaches to teaching:

• Indigenous writing of and about the west
• Pre-1900 western literature and chronological definitions of western literature
• Gender, feminism, and queer approaches to western literature
• Western literatures as counter-histories
• Borders, frontiers, and geographical definitions of the west
• Place, identity, and critical regionalism
• Westerns and the post-west
• Visual culture and images of the west
• Literature and environment
• Western Studies and Disability Studies
• Racial, ethnic, and religious difference in western literature
• The west in local, national, and global contexts
• Teaching western literature to millennial students, veterans, and first-generation college students

250-500 word proposals should be sent to the editors by May 1, 2016. For those asked to contribute to the collection, we anticipate that completed essays of approximately 20 pages (MLA formatting) will be due by Nov. 15, 2016.

Randi Tanglen
Department of English
Austin College
Sherman, TX 75090

Brady Harrison
Department of English
University of Montana
Missoula, MT 59812



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