WLA Conference 2022 (Santa Fe)

Our submission portal is now open for the 2022 WLA conference! Join us in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Oct. 19-Oct. 22, for “Palimpsests and Western Literatures: The Layered Spaces of History, Imagination, & the Future.” Apply by Jun 15 at: http://westernlit.org/wla-conference-2022/

The 56th WLA conference will take place in-person in Santa Fe, New Mexico from Wednesday, October 19th through Saturday, October 22nd. 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.

WLA Event with James Thomas Stevens

We are excited to announce the next WLA engagement event, “Trans-Indigenousness and Queer Connections: A Workshop on Mohawk Poet James Thomas Stevens.”

  • Date – Wednesday, April 27, 2022
  • Time – 7:00 (EST) | 4:00 (PST)
  • Location – Zoom

Join Chad Allen (University of Washington) and Lisa Tatonetti (Kansas State University) for a workshop on the writing of Akwesasne Mohawk poet James Thomas Stevens, who, together with his students from the American Indians Arts Institute, will be a keynote speaker at the 2022 WLA Conference in Santa Fe. The pre-conference workshop will help participants gain familiarity with Stevens’ innovative trans-national and trans-Indigenous projects and attend to the queer intersections that mark his poetics.

This event is free, and open to the general public. Feel free to invite WLA members, faculty, staff, students, and anyone who might be interested. Click here to register.

WLA Event with Denise Chávez

Please join us on Thursday, March 24th, at 4:00 PM (Mountain Time) for the WLA’s next engagement event, featuring a Plática, a conversation, with renowned author, activist, and playwright Denise Chávez. She will read and discuss her current book project, The Ghost of Esequiel Hernández, a novel exploring the dark history of the U.S.-México border with its ever-present military presence that has tragically impacted its inhabitants and their way of life. The novel is set in Redford, Texas, formerly called El Polvo/The Dust, where eighteen-year-old goat herder Esequiel Hernández was killed by a U.S. Marine in 1997. Chávez’s maternal roots are in this remote and magical corner of Far West Texas. The novel explores familial dysfunction as well as the legacy of life on the Frontera, the liminal space that is the break between these worlds. 

As founder and director of Casa Camino Real, a bookstore and gallery located in the historical Mesquite District on the Camino Real in her hometown of Las Cruces, New Mexico, Denise believes in the healing power of books to save lives. She is the author of various books including The Last of the Menu GirlsFace of An AngelA Taco Testimony: Meditations on Family, Food and Culture, and her most recent, The King and Queen of Comezón. Chávez is the recipient of the American Book Award, the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fellowship, the Hispanic Heritage Award, and the New Mexico Governor’s Award in Literature. Denise holds a BA (NMSU, 1971), MA (Trinity, 1974), and MFA (UNM, 1984), as well as an honorary doctorate from UNM (2004).

Please visit her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Casa-Camino-Real-Book-Store-Art-Gallery-345230548885989

and on Abebooks at: https://www.abebooks.com/casa-camino-real-las-cruces-nm/55655980/sf

Denise also recommends the following movies: 

The Ballad of Esequiel Hernández: https://www.pbs.org/pov/watch/ballad/

The Devil’s Swing by Alan Govenar: https://www.docarts.com/devils_swing.html

You must register for the event. You can scan the flyer’s QR code or click here.

Launch Party!

Daniel Clausen, guest editor, invites you to a Zoom meeting celebrating the release of the “California, Cli-Fi, and Climate Crisis” special double issue of Western American Literature (56.3-4). Join us for a conversation with the contributors and a virtual (BYOB, obviously) happy hour.

When: Feb 24, 2022 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

We look forward to seeing you!

CFP: Taylor Sheridan’s Wests

Call for Papers 

Taylor Sheridan’s Wests 

Writing for Deadline in a piece conceived as a “Welcome to Taylor Sheridan’s universe,” Mike  Fleming characterized the actor-turned-writer/director’s rapidly growing oeuvre as “a place  different from any other in the Hollywood landscape.” What makes Sheridan and his television  shows and movies ‘different’ is the simple fact that they are positioned in the current entertainment  landscape as west of the rest. His writing and directorial credits have coalesced around Western  spaces, lifeworlds, and characters, ranging from his breakthrough script for Sicario (2015) to the  television phenomenon that is Yellowstone (2018–), which has become a beachhead for an  evolving ecology of television content (1883 [2021–], 6666 [forthcoming], etc.). Seeking to  highlight the fastest-growing geo-cultural region in the United States, Taylor Sheridan advances  expansive views of the West that are deliberately complex, difficult, and challenging. In short, his  creative output posits that the West, with its interweavings of history and mythography, matters

Consequently, the proposed book project seeks to assemble a collection of original  contributions (6,000-8,000 words) which map and assess Taylor Sheridan’s Wests. We welcome  equally proposals for works that pursue thematic through-lines cutting across Sheridan’s growing  catalogue and for in-depth readings of individual movie and/or television titles. We invite  proposals from scholars at all stages of their careers. Possible topic areas and/or themes include  but are by no means limited to: 

★ Shedding light on the effects of the Necrocene/Capitalocene in the West ★ (Mis)representing Native American lifeworlds and sovereignty (e.g. Land Back  discourses, the pathology of settler colonialism, etc.) 

★ Excavating “flyover country” from mainstream neglect 

★ Spatial liminalities: border crossings, border spaces, liminal characters ★ Post-West(ern) poetics, revisionist discourses, the appeal and pitfalls of western nostalgia ★ Tall tales, western humor, cowboy antics 

★ Neo-pastoralism 

★ Sheridan’s Wests as New-New American Gothic? 

★ Sheridan’s “authenticity work” (e.g. livestock raising, husbandry, and horsemanship  economies, sartorial aesthetics and accoutrements of Western life, firearms, extraction  and surveillance technologies, etc.)

CFP, Taylor Sheridan’s Wests 1 

★ Ecocritical readings of Sheridan’s work (e.g. land ownership versus stewardship, human non-human interfaces, etc.) 

★ Masculinities, aging, toxic, redemptive, and otherwise 

★ Ethics of law and/or justice 

★ Violence and exploitation: abject spaces, bodies, and acts 

★ Transmedia (f)ranchising and fandom: intersections between texts, paratexts  (e.g. podcasts, aftershows, etc.), and invested audiences (e.g. Yellowstone fanfiction,  social media, etc.) 

★ Sonic Wests: soundscapes, soundtracks, etc. 

If you are interested in proposing a chapter, please email an abstract of 500–700 words to  taylorsheridanswests@gmail.com. Your abstract should outline your working thesis and briefly  sketch the theoretical/methodological framework(s) within which your chapter will be situated.  All submissions will be acknowledged. If you do not receive a confirmation of receipt within  48 hours, you may assume that your email fell prey to the vagaries of the world wide web. In that  case, please resend your abstract. Please note that we will not include previously published essays  in the collection. 

Feel free to contact us at the email address indicated above with any questions or concerns you  might have. 

Tentative roadmap 

June 15, 2022: abstract deadline 

July 31, 2022: notification of acceptance/rejection (Please note: Acceptance of your abstract does  not automatically guarantee your chapter’s inclusion in the collection.) 

December 22, 2022: first drafts due 

February 29, 2023: feedback on first drafts 

Expected publication: 2024 

Editorial team 

Paweł Pyrka (SWPS University Warsaw) 

Stefan Rabitsch (University of Graz/University of Warsaw) 

Anna Warso (SWPS University Warsaw) 

Nicolas S. Witschi (Western Michigan University)

NO FRONTIERS PlaceRun (Event)



This event is a virtual fundraising challenge and 5K. The Western Literature Association will benefit from your registering to participate in this 5K fun run/walk/hike on October 16 or 17. WLA will benefit even more greatly if you “Become a Fundraiser” and gather sponsors for your activities through the challenge period, which starts on Sept. 19.

Register by Sept. 27 to get your very excellent t-shirt. We will make various awards at the WLA award banquet so that you may achieve notoriety. The awards and other matters are more fully explained on the website.

For more information: http://www.westernlit.org/wla-fundraiser/

To sign up:  https://runsignup.com/Race/UT/Logan/NOFRONTIERSPlaceRun

The event is designed to encourage you to show off your place as you log your challenge miles and/or participate in the 5K. If we do it right, it will be fun and interactive, employing social media. While we cannot be together in geographical space, we can come together to celebrate our respective places, our enjoyment of moving across the landscape, and our support for WLA.

CFP: Emerging WRiters

Emerging Writers: Western Identities and Alternative Discourses

deadline for abstract submissions: 9 August 2021

full name / name of organization: Journal of Western American Literature (WAL)

contact email: bennionj@duq.edu, surabhib@umich.edu, waljournal@gmail.com

Guest edited by Jillian Moore and Surabhi Balachander, Graduate Representatives to the Western Literature Association

In Alt Dis: Alternative Discourses and the Academy, Patricia Bizzell suggests that composition instructors are most successful when they imbue students with the skills and tools that they need to transfer experiences in composition coursework to future classes and other contexts. Such skills and experiences are often acquired through analyzing and engaging with alternative discourses. “Academic discourses” have historically been narrowly defined. Today’s rapidly evolving social and academic climate calls on scholars of western American literature to face our own limitations–in content, scholarship, and cultural programming. Responding to more accurate representation and adapting inclusive practices is a task currently being taken up by the Western Literature Association and its members. Inviting alternative discourses into our writing and analyses allows us to not only face our own limitations, but also move beyond academia’s traditional cultural biases in order to bring more identities and lived experiences into the academic fold. One way that discourses are being disrupted is through changing technologies that challenge traditional meanings and understandings of what is “academic” by engendering new forms. In this and other ways, emerging scholars and writers are on the frontier of crafting alternative discourses.

Western American Literature: A Journal of Literary, Cultural, and Place Studies is a platform that values and appreciates scholarship that pushes established theoretical boundaries and that creates new frameworks with which to examine the Western American literary imagination and culture.  Building on Bizzell’s arguments and the discussions in Alt Dis, we invite emerging writers to submit work that either participates in redefining what is academic discourse or analyzes forms of discourses materializing in today’s scholarship. This guest-edited issue of WAL: Emerging Writers: Western Identities and Alternative Discourses aims to account for the rich and diverse alt discourses with which emerging scholars and writers are engaging, both on a personal level and within their academic classrooms. Emerging scholars and writers include graduate students, faculty who are pre-tenure or not on the tenure-track, scholars outside of the academy, and others who face precarity within the academic system. We welcome traditional papers or creative or hybrid works.

Themes and possible topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Western discourses
  • Reimagining the West
  • Job market precarity, alt-ac, or ac-adjacent
  • Adjunct and non-tenure track faculty experiences
  • Pedagogy and andragogy (widely understood)
  • Identity, race, gender, and/or sexuality, in literary works or in the classroom
  • Digital humanities
  • Popular culture
  • Material culture
  • Correspondence between public intellectuals and the academy

We invite proposals of up to 250 words for scholarly essays or creative works with a strong focus on identity, academic discourses, in relation to one or several of the above topics (suggestions for additional ones are welcome). The deadline for submission of proposals (MLA Style) is 9 August 2021. Proposals should include a short bio note. If a proposal is accepted, manuscripts of 10-12 pages will be due 15 November 2021. Please submit your work to the linked Google Form.

Publication date: Summer 2022

The tulsa Race Massacre at 100

The Tulsa Race Massacre at 100: Creative Writers Reflect on Its Impact, Legacy, and Lessons  

Fiction writer Rilla Askew and poet Quaraysh Ali Lansana in conversation with Kalenda Eaton, University of Oklahoma 

Date: Monday, May 17, 2021 at 7 pm ET (6pm CT, 5pm MT, 4pm PT)

2021 marks the 100-year anniversary of the destruction of the famed “Black Wall Street” and neighboring community in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The events of a white mob who burned, looted, and terrorized black citizens is widely known as “The Tulsa Race Massacre.”

Novelist Rilla Askew (Fire in Beulah) and Poet Quraysh Ali Lansana (The Breakbeat Poets) consider what it means for writers and artists to document the history of racist violence in the west and imagine the possibility of a different future. 

Novelist Rilla AskewRilla Askew Poet Quraysh Ali LansanaQuraysh Ali Lansana

Coordinator: Kalenda Eaton, University of Oklahoma

Participation is FREE to everyone. WLA membership is not required. But you must be registered by midnight the night before the event in order to receive a zoom link to participate in this webinar.

Register here: https://tinyurl.com/wlablackwallstreet

Seeking Nominations

Don D. Walker Prize 

On behalf of the Don D. Walker Prize Committee and the Western Literature Association, I am writing to request nominations for this year’s prize. Established in 1978, the Don D. Walker Prize is awarded each year for the previous year’s best scholarly essay published in western American literary studies. “Western” in this context is defined broadly and refers to all of North America that historically or critically has been considered “West,” as well as to comparative literary studies of the American West that cross regional or national boundaries. The award recipient will receive a framed certificate and a small honorarium.

As Chair of the Prize committee, I would be happy to receive nominations of up to three essays by June 1, 2021 for publications appearing in the calendar year 2020. Please submit the article(s) you wish to nominate (preferably by electronic attachment) to susan.kollin@montana.edu

In the event of print submission, please send 5 copies to:

Prof. Susan Kollin
Department of English
Montana State University
2-176 Wilson Hall
Bozeman, MT 59717

Nominated essays will be screened by the committee, which will select the recipient of this year’s award before the end of the summer. Please don’t hesitate to email me if you have questions or would like further information about the Prize.

Last year’s Don D. Walker Prize was awarded to Dr. Emily Lutenski for her essay, “Dickens Disappeared: Black Los Angeles and the Borderlands of Racial Memory,” published in a special issue on “New Directions in Black Western Studies” in American Studies
Best wishes,
Susan Kollin
Chair, Don D. Walker Prize Committee

WLA Virtual Engagement

WEBINAR: The Politics of Public Lands
in the Contemporary US West

Date: Saturday, April 17, 2021
Start time: 3:00 pm EST
From Standing Rock to Bears Ears, from Malheur to Nüümü Poyo, the politics of public lands in the US West remains contentious, divisive, and, occasionally, promising. This webinar, based on a special issue of Western American Literature, will examine issues of public lands from the perspective of literary studies, cultural studies, and settler colonial theory.

Moderator: Jennifer Ladino, Special Issue Editor, University of Idaho

 (and contributors to the special issue):
April Anson, San Diego State University
Stephanie LeMenager, University of Oregon
Meagan Meylor, University of Southern California
Luke Morgan, Texas Tech University
Ashley Reis, University of North Texas
Marsha Weisiger, University of Oregon 
Participation is FREE to everyone. WLA membership is not required.
Please register here: https://tinyurl.com/wlapubliclands

The entire special issue (WAL 54.1/spring 2019) can be accessed at Project Muse.

This is the first of four engagement events in lieu of a conference in 2021. For more information, please check our website: http://www.westernlit.org/virtual-events-2021/

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