WLA in 2015 Conference

We are happy to see conference paper and panel proposals beginning to stream in for the Western Literature Association’s 50th annual meeting, 14-17 October 2015 in Reno, Nevada.

The proposal deadline is 15 June 2015 (click for link to CFP).

In response to several queries, your co-presidents want to explain the “ConfTool” management system and our reason for once again adopting this software package that some members have viewed as an unnecessarily cumbersome change to the old system of emailing abstracts. (It may be worth remembering that, 20 years ago, requiring email submissions was also viewed as an imposition!)

We, along with several past presidents and their teams, believe ConfTool to be a worthwhile bargain. It trades off a few extra minutes of each member’s time to create an account and fill in a few fields in exchange for saving conference organizers untold and unwelcome hours reformatting and even retyping submissions that are sometimes incomplete or inconsistent, and consolidating them into a draft program with many subsequent revisions. It automates the persistent problem of reconciling conference registration and WLA membership status with proposals. In sum, it distributes these minor administrative tasks among the membership, to free the organizers for the more substantial jobs associated with conference preparation.

  • For preformed panels, the system requires each panelist to submit an individual proposal, keyed to the panel title. So, for example, if an organizer creates a panel, say, “Animals and Asterisks: Decentering Biohegemonic Transubstantialities” each of the panelists have to submit (after creating an account) their own individual contribution (by clicking “Preformed Panel”) with the title of the panel and then the title of their individual contribution preceded by the panel title, for example, “Animals and Asterisks: Decentering Biohegemonic Transubstantialities” / “Where is the Senator for the Salmon? Gary Snyder’s Pescopolitics”
  • If the panelist does not have a separate title for an individual contribution, she or he can just enter “Animals and Asterisks: Decentering Biohegemonic Transubstantialities” / Panelist [or, if appropriate, “Moderator” or “Organizer”]
  • While this feature of ConfTool has perhaps generated the most critical attention, it ensures that all panelists are on board with the proposal and that we can quickly and efficiently communicate with them regarding schedule changes, A-V needs, and the like.
  • So, we encourage you to log into ConfTool at https://www.conftool.pro/wla-conference-2015/ and submit your proposals. It’s going to be a great time in Reno, the “Biggest Little City” of the Intermountain West!

    Questions? Contact us at WLAConference2015@westernlit.org

    Susan Bernardin and David Fenimore

So, we encourage you to log into ConfTool at https://www.conftool.pro/wla-conference-2015/ and submit your proposals. It’s going to be a great time in Reno, the “Biggest Little City” of the Intermountain West!

“American Sniper” as Western

WLA Conference 2015

Call for papers

50th Annual Conference of the

Western Literature Association

“Visual Culture of the Urban West”

Reno, Nevada: October 14-17, 2015 

The 50th annual conference of the Western Literature Association takes place at Harrah’s Reno. We will gather there in “The Biggest Little City” on the western edge of the Great Basin, at the intersection of Washoe and Paiute tribal homelands, where the transcontinental emigrant trail and railroad line meet the mighty Sierra Nevada, 35 highway miles from North Lake Tahoe. Riding the edge of old and new, at the interface of urban and wild, of indigeneity and transience, Reno is an apt location for our semi-centennial: an occasion to consider our histories, but more so, the next 50 years of western American literary and cultural studies. In that spirit, our diverse featured speakers include Native American performance artist Arigon Starr, writer and activist Rebecca Solnit, novelist and musician Willy Vlautin, and a collective tribute to Robert Laxalt and the transatlantic tradition of Basque-American writing.

In addition to proposals on any aspects of the literature and culture of the North American West, we especially encourage innovative proposals on the following:

• Visual culture, film, performance
• Environmental art, politics, justice, literatures
• Indigenous Wests, writers, filmmakers, artists
• Basque-American writers
• Latino/a Studies in Western places
• Twain and Tahoe
• Gendered spaces in the West
• Emigrant and mining narratives
• The recreational West: tourism, mountaineering, river-running

Reno is easily reached by direct flights from many major hubs, soon to include New York City and London! Amtrak’s California Zephyr stops daily at the depot a few steps from our conference hotel, where room rates will run $99/night Friday and Saturday, and $59 other nights, with many complimentary amenities including wifi. See www.harrahsreno.com for more information.

All participants must be members of the Western Literature Association.

Contact us with questions about the conference at WLAConference2015@westernlit.orgProposal deadline: June 15, 2015. 

Proposals for panels and roundtable discussions should include an abstract for each paper or presentation.


Download the pdf version of this call for papers here here.

Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize


Each year the University of Nebraska’s Center for Great Plains Studies presents a prize for the previous year’s best book on the Great Plains.

This year, the prize has been renamed as the Stubbendieck Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize and the cash award increased to $10,000.


Publishers or authors may make nominations; each publisher may submit up to five titles. Only first-edition, full-length nonfiction books are eligible.

Books must be copyrighted in 2014 and submitted no later than Jan. 23, 2015.

Send five copies of each title to:


Center for Great Plains Studies

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

1155 Q Street

Lincoln, NE 68588-0214


A winner will be selected in May 2015.

View our submission guidelines

Thinking Continental (CFP)


Thinking Continental:
Surveying, Exploring, and Inhabiting Macro Space
New scholarly collection

Editors: Susan Naramore Maher, Tom Lynch, Drucilla Wall, and O. Alan Weltzien

Indigenous cultures have, for millennia, produced a rich oral and written literature of place, one that often implies intimate connections across particular landscapes. Globally, rich traditions of environmental writing illuminate particular places. In these works, the local and the global intersect in illuminating, often poetic ways. Much ecological writing celebrates the localized place, often negotiated subjectively in what Lawrence Buell has called “the Thoreauvian pilgrimage.” On the other hand, concepts like the “butterfly effect” remind us that the localized place can have a global impact, that the microplace and macrospace intersect. And, as Ursula Heise notes, the concept of the “local” is subjective, referring even to our local group of galaxies. Her observation suggests that our notion of “nature” is too limited, typically referring only to planet Earth, when in fact nature encompasses the entire cosmos.

Thinking Continental, a volume edited by a prominent quartet of scholars and writers, seeks submissions for a collection of interdisciplinary essays and creative works that will break new ground in engaging the complexities of place, including challenges to the accepted and often unproductive perceived boundaries between the human and non-human; the concept of micro and macro space in the mapped world; and other topics that explore the movement of meaning connected to the many layers of place and being.
The collection will look at how to define these intersections. With contributions from scientists, social scientists, humanities scholars, and creative writers, Thinking Continental ranges over many questions and integrates international perspectives.

Among the salient questions that this collection will ask are: How does one envision an ecological macropoetics? How do old and new voices among storytellers, poets, and essayists chronicle and celebrate the vital connections between micro- and macrospace? How do they infuse the local with the global, the global with the local? How might geospatial analysis and digital humanities aim important new lenses onto global realities? How do deep time pathways—DNA, geological sciences, astrophysics—guide us toward a better long view of lived space? How can globally focused narrative remain personal and intimate? How might thinking continental advance bioregional agenda or address pressing issues like climate change, deforestation, industrial agriculture, species decline, heedless growth?

With a projected publication date of 2017, Thinking Continental will collect interdisciplinary voices and illuminate the multiple ways into biomes, continents, and global history.

Information for Contributors

Length of Abstract: 1-3 pages
Deadline for submission: January 15, 2015
A prospectus with accepted abstracts will be submitted to a small number of academic presses by March 1, 2015. The editors are experienced editors and scholars, whose publications and reputations are well established. We are confident in the book’s concept and its marketability. Three presses are at this point interested in the proposal.
Send Abstracts and queries via email to:
Dr Susan Naramore Maher at smaher@d.umn.edu
Or fax to:
Dean Susan Naramore Maher, College of Liberal Arts, 218-726-6386
Or mail to:
Dr. Susan Naramore Maher, College of Liberal Arts, 1208 Kirby Drive, Duluth, MN 55803

WLA at Society for the Study of American Women Writers (CFP)

CFP: WLA Panel at SSAWW Conference
Deadline: January 20, 2015

The Western Literature Association invites submissions for its upcoming panel at the triennial meeting of the Society for the Study of American Women Writers, November 4-8, 2015 in Philadelphia.

In response to the SSAWW conference theme of “Liminal Spaces, Hybrid Lives,” 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 Randi Tanglen (rtanglen@austincollege.edu) by January 20, 2015. 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.


#Westernlit2014 (the conference in Tweets)

Thanks to everyone for a great WLA conference. See you in Reno!

Very glad to have WLA in my life. was another good one.


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