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FW: CFP: Theft and Stealing in Southern Literature (10/15/05; SSSL, 3/30/06-4/2/06)

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  • Amos J Wright
    Fyi..ajwright@uab.edu     ... From: Melanie Benson To: cfp@english.upenn.edu Sent: Thu, 15 Sep 2005 15:01:16 -0400 Subject: CFP: Theft and
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 22, 2005
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Melanie Benson <mrb33@...>
      To: cfp@...
      Sent: Thu, 15 Sep 2005 15:01:16 -0400
      Subject: CFP: Theft and Stealing in Southern Literature (10/15/05; SSSL,

      The Society for the Study of Southern Literature (SSSL) has announced
      as the topic for its 2006 conference (March 30-April 2, 2006,
      Birmingham, AL) "Labor, Literature, and the U.S. South." I am
      seeking abstracts for a proposed panel on "Theft and Stealing in
      Southern Literature."

      As recent, nationally broadcast images from the devastated Gulf Coast
      region have reminded us, privation coupled with natural/national
      disaster often drives people to commit otherwise "immoral" acts like
      looting. To what extent can stealing be understood as a natural
      reaction to conditions of desperation, need, loss, or destitution
      (whether by the Hand of God or the (Under)Hand of American
      Government)? Can such acts represent gestures of retribution,
      attempts to "get back" what has been unfairly taken or withheld (as
      in chattel slavery or contemporary capitalism)? How are such acts
      constituted, compelled, and judged in southern contexts, both
      contemporary and historical? Why (for instance) were black
      southerners recently cast by the media as greedy pilferers while
      their white counterparts were assumed to be "finding" goods they
      desperately needed and deserved? How has southern literature
      attempted to represent, theorize, and challenge the ideologies of
      "wanting" and "stealing," "desire" and "gratification," "loss" and

      This panel seeks to explore the many instances, motivations, and
      implications of theft in southern literature. Interdisciplinary
      approaches are encouraged, as are papers that engage the particular
      labor, racial, and domestic histories that give rise to ideas about
      and/or acts of theft in the South. Possible topics/approaches may
      include (but are not limited to):

      --slavery as theft
      --slaves who steal; slaves who are stolen/steal themselves out of
      --sharecropping/tenant-farming; exploitation of labor
      --industry; mass production; the worker's soul; alienation
      --dishonest bookkeeping; predatory lending (past and present)
      --export economy; economic colonialism/global dependency
      --domestic servitude/marriage as theft of woman's identity
      --rape/sexual violation
      --false accusations of rape; lynchings
      --instances of larceny in southern literature, film, or visual arts
      --southern penal system; crimes and justifications
      --urban poverty and desperation; the ghetto
      --looting and rioting
      --cultural appropriation (black musical forms; minstrel shows)
      --theft of Native American lands; Indian Removal; gaming industry and
      --motor vehicle theft (a category in which the South leads the nation)
      --buying/stealing votes during Reconstruction; election-stealing and
      poll taxes in 2005

      Send 250-300 word abstracts (as Microsoft Word attachments) to
      Melanie Benson at <mailto:mrb33@...>mrb33@... by October 15,
      2005. Electronic submissions are strongly preferred, but hard copies
      can also be mailed to:
      Melanie Benson
      Penn State Worthington Scranton
      Box 47
      120 Ridge View Drive
      Dunmore, PA 18512

      From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
      Full Information at
      or write Jennifer Higginbotham: higginbj@...
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