Faulkner and the Native South, July 17-21, 2016
From his earliest stories to his late novels, William Faulkner returned repeatedly to the Native American origins and histories of his imaginary landscape, Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi. Faulkner’s fictional representations include the pre-modern tribal past, first contact with European settlers, southern systems of slavery (including native slavery), and the trauma of removal that Choctaws and Chickasaws experienced.
When Native American Studies began to achieve recognition in the 1970s, scholars began to investigate Faulkner’s fictional constructions of “Indians.” Questions of authenticity, stereotyping, local history, and cultural knowledge—questions that remain relevant—were at the forefront of these investigations. More recently, scholars in a variety of disciplines including history, literature, anthropology, and cultural studies are undertaking a “reconstruction” of the Native South, a landscape both imagined and real, regional and global. This new entwining of Native and Southern Studies has shifted the discussion in freshly productive directions: what roles does the U.S. South, and Faulkner’s work more specifically, play in the Native American imagination? What relations of influence or confluence exist between Faulkner and Native American writers?
What new lines of aesthetic, thematic, or political affiliation emerge between Native Studies and Southern Studies, and how do Faulkner’s writings help illuminate, clarify, or complicate these connections? How does the concept of a “Native South” break with the bi-racial culture myth on which so much scholarship on southern literature (including Faulkner scholarship) is based? What other ideological interventions does the notion of a Native South produce and provoke, and how might these interventions reshape an understanding of Faulkner’s work? What tropes, themes, narrative techniques, plot structures, figurations of character, or genre features become newly or differently visible upon comparing Faulkner and native Southern writers? How do Native American critical frameworks open up new interpretive directions in Faulkner Studies? What can we learn from Faulkner’s work about the southern regional space and its complex relationship to native tribal identities and landscapes—or how might we take a fuller understanding of this relationship back to Faulkner’s work?
We especially encourage full panel proposals for 75-minute conference sessions. Such proposals should include a one-page overview of the session topic or theme, followed by two-page abstracts for each of the panel papers to be included. We also welcome individually submitted two-page abstracts for 20-minute panel papers. Panel papers consist of approximately 2,500 words and will be considered by the conference program committee for possible expansion and inclusion in the conference volume published by the University Press of Mississippi.
Session proposals and panel paper abstracts must be submitted by January 31, 2016, preferably through e-mail attachment. All manuscripts, proposals, abstracts, and inquiries should be addressed to Jay Watson, Department of English, The University of Mississippi, P.O. Box 1848, University, MS 38677-1848. E-mail: email@example.com. Decisions for all submissions will be made by March 15, 2016.