Calls for Papers

Modern Language Association Convention, January 4-7, 2018, New York, NY

William Faulkner’s New York
The William Faulkner Society will take advantage of the convention location to hold a guaranteed session on the significance of New York City in William Faulkner’s life and work. Faulkner’s self-fashioning as a country mouse from the Mississippi hills belied his periodic turns as a city slicker in New York and other cosmopolitan locales. Faulkner maintained close ties to editors and friends in the city and had a variety of encounters with the literati and other bohemian circles. New York also makes appearances in Faulkner’s fiction—in some instances as an actual setting or destination, in others as a remote but powerful source of cultural and economic influence. From Jason Compson’s stock market debacle in The Sound and the Fury to Linda Snopes Kohl’s radical time as a New Yorker in The Mansion, the presence of the city is felt in Faulkner’s fictional domain. For all of these reasons and more, William Faulkner’s New York is a destination well worth revisiting and exploring. Send a 300-word abstract and brief bio by March 12, 2017, to Ted Atkinson ( 

American Literature Association Conference, May 25-28, 2017, Boston, MA

Reading Faulkner in the Age of Trump(ism)
The past year and a half has seen the rise of the anti-Progressive, anti-establishment, and pro-authoritarian movement embodied in the person of Donald J. Trump. Many have speculated that even if Trump had not won the presidential election, the movement known as “Trumpism” would continue to thrive, but with his election this movement is now fixed in history as deeply connected with its champion. Although the duration and full impact of this movement remain to be seen, it seems appropriate and important to begin discussing the questions the age of Trump brings and what exactly is the relation of literature and literary criticism to it. This panel invites papers that consider the role of Faulkner scholarship in the age of Trump(ism). Does Faulkner’s writing shed light on the dynamics of the current political and cultural moment? How does this moment reorient or reintroduce critical lines of inquiry? Are the responsibilities, techniques, and/or positions of Faulkner scholars altered? Please send 250-word abstracts for papers that address these and other questions to Ted Atkinson at by January 9, 2017.

Faulkner and the Position of the Public Intellectual
The trajectory of William Faulkner’s career involved a post-Nobel rise in reputation that secured his status as a public intellectual. Faulkner’s statements on racial injustice, civil rights, totalitarianism, and the threat of nuclear war, among other issues, evinced a willingness to spend some of the cultural capital he had earned from literary achievements on meaningful engagement with the pressing issues of the day and the broader concerns of human inquiry. What might we gain from revisiting or revising what it means to think of Faulkner as a public intellectual? How does the Faulkner on the page speak to the figure who appeared on the public stage—or vice versa? How do we situate Faulkner in relation to other figures who have assumed the mantle of public intellectual? What can Faulkner’s experience tell us now as intellectuals, especially in the humanities, face diminished influence in the public sphere? The plan for this session is to consider these and other related questions in the format of a roundtable discussion. Please send 250-word proposals for ten-minute presentations to Ted Atkinson at by January 9, 2017.

Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference

Faulkner and Slavery, July 22-26, 201

During his apprenticeship and early years as a published writer, William Faulkner evinced little serious interest in the issue of slavery or in the lives of the enslaved: their experiences, words, deeds, interiority, personal relationships, or historical legacies.  This is perhaps surprising, given the fact of slaveholding, and the likelihood of sexual liaisons between enslavers and the enslaved, in Faulkner’s family history.  After 1930, however, the year he moved his family into an antebellum mansion built by a slaveholding Mississippi planter, Faulkner turned repeatedly to the subject of slavery over the next two decades or so of his writing career.

The forty-fifth annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha conference will take up as its guiding concern the question, “What did slavery mean in the life, ancestry, environment, imagination, and career of William Faulkner?”  Facets of this question worth exploring may include but are no means limited to:

--histories of slavery in/and the Falkner and/or Butler families of Mississippi
--Mississippi slavery and the history of the Robert Sheegog home in Oxford (later Rowan Oak)
--other histories of slavery in Oxford, Lafayette County, and north Mississippi, or at the University of Mississippi, as contexts for Faulkner’s writings or as depicted in his work
--the figure of the enslaved in Faulkner’s writings:  man, woman, child, the elderly, field laborer, domestic laborer, sexual property, fugitive, “saltwater slave” (first-generation African); the intersectionality of slave identities; etc.
--the “world the slaves made” in Faulkner’s work:  psychology, spirituality, expressivity and expression, affect, sexuality, kinship arrangements and family life, aesthetics and cultural practices, gender roles, childhood, economic activity, forms of resistance to enslavement
--Faulkner’s accounts of the master-slave relationship
--the figure of the enslaver in Faulkner:  men, women, the elderly, children from the slaveholding class; small holders versus large ones; patterns of settlement or migration; etc.
--institutions of slavery:  representations or historical legacies of the Atlantic slave trade, the Middle Passage, the slave market, the slave plantation, plaçage, the whip (or other institutions of slave discipline/punishment), etc.
--the political economy of slavery in Faulkner
--Faulkner’s fiction in/against the history of slavery as traced by Lawrence Levine, Eugene Genovese, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Orlando Patterson, David Brion Davis, Edmund Morgan, Walter Johnson, C. L. R. James, Eric Williams, Paul Gilroy, or other leading scholars of the subject
--comparative histories or geographies of slavery in Faulkner
--Faulkner’s relationship to slave narrative or other genres from the literary history of New World slavery
--comparative analyses of slavery/the enslaved in Faulkner and other writers or artists:  southern, American, hemispheric, global, twentieth-century, “modernist,” etc.
--cultural legacies of slavery in Faulkner’s fictions of postslavery
--the racial politics of white-authored representations of African American enslavement

The program committee especially encourages 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 1-2-page abstracts for 15-20-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, 2018, 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: Decisions for all submissions will be made by March 15, 2018.

William Faulkner Society Scholarships

The John W. Hunt Memorial Scholarship and the Faulkner Journal Scholarship

The William Faulkner Society offers scholarships for as many as two graduate students to attend the annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference in Oxford, Mississippi. These awards are funded by generous donations in memory of Faulkner scholar John W. Hunt, author of William Faulkner: Art in Theological Tension, by the Faulkner Journal, and by annual dues from members of the Society. The scholarships cover the cost of conference registration, with the possibility of additional funding depending on available resources.

Graduate students may apply directly for the Huntl Scholarships or be nominated by a faculty member. Each application should include: a letter from the student explaining how the student's work can be enhanced by attending the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha conference; a current curriculum vitae; and at least one letter of recommendation from a faculty member familiar with the student's work--a letter of nomination satisfies this requirement. Send applications to Ted Atkinson, President, William Faulkner Society, by email ( or by mail: P.O. Box 5272, Mississippi State, MS, 39762. The application deadline is April 17.