15/06/2018 – CFP: Western Literature Association Conference 2018

2018 Western Literature Association Conference

Indigenous Hubs, Gateway Cities, Border States

The 2018 annual conference of the Western Literature Association will take place October 24-27 at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel in StLouis, Missouri. “Indigenous Hubs, Gateway Cities, Border States” is derived from this location. This region, at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, has been urban for thousands of years. Cahokia, known for its impressive earthen mounds, is directly across the river from today’s StLouis, and once housed the largest pre-Columbian civilization north of Mexico, a hub for trade, communication, and transportation throughout indigenous North America. Long before StLouis was known as the “Gateway to the West,” it was nicknamed “Mound City.”

StLouis is also a borderland, shaped by French, Spanish, and U.S. contact and conquest. With Missouri’s 1821 entry into the nation as a slave state, StLouis became envisioned as a gateway to western freedom even while it maintained southern bondage. During the Exoduster movement, StLouis indeed became a gateway to freedom for many African Americans migrating away from postbellum southern oppression. Today StLouis continues to serve as a microcosm of the United States’s racial histories, and of both stubborn divisions and promising coalitions across lines of race, class, region, and nation. “Indigenous Hubs, Gateway Cities, Border States” is meant to evoke these confluences and crosscurrents.


Proposals on any aspect of the literatures of the North American West are welcomed, but especially encourage panels and papers that explore the following topics:

StLouis (or other western places) as Indigenous Hubs, Gateways, or Borderlands

Native American and Indigenous Literature and Culture

The African American West

Jazz and Blues and the American West

The Art and Literature of Black Lives Matter

StLouis Freedom Suits

The Work of Distinguished Achievement Award Winner Percival Everett

The Critical Legacy of Distinguished Achievement Award Winner José E. Limón


The deadline for submissions is June 15, 2018. Please submit questions to Michael K. Johnson or Emily Lutenski atWLAConference2018@westernlit.org.


For more information, see http://www.westernlit.org/wla-conference-2018/.

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