Spring 2010 Newsletter
Letter from the President
Dear WFS members,
I hope this message finds you in a cool and comfortable place, productively immersed in Faulkner matters. Since the last WFS newsletter in November, there have been a number of Society events and other developments worth your attention. So let’s get right to it.
MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL DRIVE
This summer, as he has worked to update and reorganize our membership rolls, Ted Atkinson, our Secretary-Treasurer, has discovered that a significant number of memberships have lapsed. Because there is currently no process in place for notifying members when this happens, and because we continue to send out the newsletter and other official WFS correspondence to everyone on the membership list, many of you may believe that your membership is paid up when it has in fact expired. To address this problem, and with the added goal of increasing Society revenue, we are launching a WFS membership “renewal drive” in the months ahead.
Here’s how the drive will work. Over the remainder of the summer, Ted will be contacting lapsed members with an email notice that will include a gentle reminder (or think of it as an invitation) to renew, an embedded link to PayPal for those who prefer to use a credit card, and a ground address for those who would rather renew by sending in a check. As these renewals come in, Ted will be busy rearranging the membership list chronologically (by date of renewal) rather than alphabetically, which will make it possible for us to notify you automatically in the future when your membership is on the verge of expiring.
In the meantime, let me invite all of you to help out with this effort by encouraging friends and colleagues to renew their memberships, or to join our organization, by visiting the Membership page of the WFS website at http://faulknersociety.com/membership.htm
RECENT AND UPCOMING CONFERENCE ACTIVITY
Friday, May 28, was WFS Day at this year’s American Literature Association conference in San Francisco, with a pair of Society-sponsored panels and the annual business meeting among the day’s events. At the morning’s session on “Faulkner and the Uses of Philosophy,” roughly two dozen audience members were treated to a trio of fine papers: Joost Burgers’ account of anti-Semitic conspiracy theory as a modernist philosophy in Faulkner, Proust, Musil, and other twentieth-century writers; James Harker’s provocative intervention in the long debate concerning Faulkner’s intellectual debts to Henri Bergson; and Sharon Desmond Paradiso’s deft applications of Derrida to illuminate “The Necessary Hostipitality of Light in August.” After lunch, an equally well-attended panel on “Legacies of Encounter in Faulkner” featured Sandra Cox’s ethnographically informed analysis of “the semiotics of vanishing” in Faulkner’s Indian stories; Scott Moore’s musings on “bootlegging alienation” in Light in August; and Gary Rees’s postcolonial reflections on the role of Africa in A Fable. (For the minutes from the business meeting, see below. If the minutes seem a little spotty, please forgive me. As I am now all too aware, it can be difficult taking minutes for a meeting when you are also attempting to run it.)
We are also looking forward with real excitement to our two WFS panels at MLA 2011 in Los Angeles. Some of you may not be aware that, beginning in 2011, MLA allied organizations such as WFS are no longer guaranteed two sessions at the annual convention. Instead, we are guaranteed a single session, with the opportunity to propose a second, nonguaranteed session to the convention program committee. Session 117, our guaranteed session for 2011 is “The Faulkner-Oprah File,” a roundtable marking the five-year anniversary of the 2005 “Summer of Faulkner” sponsored by Oprah’s Book Club. Session co-chairs Jaime Harker (U of Mississippi) and Cecila Farr (St. Catherine’s Women’s C) will be joined by a pair of scholars who served as online lecturers and consultants for the “Summer of Faulkner” project, Thadious Davis (U of Pennsylvania) and Robert Hamblin (S.E. Missouri SU), to discuss Faulkner’s place in contemporary print culture and the challenges and rewards of exploring his works with nonacademic readerships. According to the latest convention program draft, the panel is scheduled for Thursday, January 6, 2011, from 3:30-4:45 p.m. in Diamond Salon 2 at the J. W. Marriott.
WFS also submitted a successful proposal for a nonguaranteed session, “Imagining the Animal in Faulkner,” that aims to capitalize on the increasing interest in animal studies scholarship evidenced by the recent special issue of PMLA. The panel, session 563, will feature papers by Kristin Fujie of Ripon C (“‘THE book of which those others were but foals’: The Personal, the Aesthetic, and the Mammalian in Flags in the Dust”), Sandra K. Stanley of California SU, Northridge (“The Buzzard Reality of As I Lay Dying”), and Bart H. Welling of the U of North Florida (“Lion in the Garden: Paradox and the Question of the Posthuman in Go Down, Moses”). This session is currently scheduled for Saturday, January 8, 2011, from 1:45-3:00 p.m. in Platinum Salon I, J. W. Marriott. For abstracts of the session papers, visit http://faulknersociety.com/panels.htm after 15 December 2010.
The Board has additionally embarked on some longer-range conference planning for upcoming years. In 2011, WFS will join the Willa Cather Foundation in devoting one of its allotted ALA sessions to a mini-symposium on comparative approaches to the two authors. The plan is for symposium sessions to be scheduled consecutively in the same room, allowing the co-organizers to showcase the work of a half-dozen or more scholars on the topic. If successful, this joint project could open the way for collaborations with other literary societies in the future, at ALA or elsewhere. A call for papers will be circulated in the fall, but in the meantime, I’d also like to invite suggestions from the members about scholars we might want to encourage to submit a paper proposal for this session. Email me at email@example.com if you have any recommendations.
For MLA 2012 in Seattle, WFS has invited a pair of scholars from the University of Virginia, Steven Railton and Stephen Knepper, to organize a roundtable on Faulkner and digital humanities. The Board is still bouncing around ideas for a second 2012 session. Recent suggestions include:
--Faulkner and consumer culture
--Foodways in Faulkner
--Travel in Faulkner
--Faulkner’s work and Faulkner studies in China
Again, please feel free to contact me by email if you have other suggestions.
Finally, with an eye toward extending the WFS “brand name” beyond our annual presence at ALA and MLA, the Board plans to develop a session proposal for the 2012 meeting of the Society for the Study of Southern Literature (SSSL). We are approaching the planned session as a pilot project, with the question of a continuing WFS presence at SSSL, a biennial conference, to be taken up by Deborah Clarke and her new Board when she becomes WFS President in 2012.
2010 HUNT SCHOLAR
The Society is pleased to support the work of graduate students pursuing research on William Faulkner through the John W. Hunt Scholarships. These awards, which help fund travel to the annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference at the U of Mississippi, are co-sponsored by the WFS and The Faulkner Journal and are accompanied by a waiver of the conference registration fee. This year the Society has chosen an international student, Stefan Solomon of the U of New South Wales, as its 2010 Hunt Scholar. Stefan will present his panel paper, "A Man Alone . . .": Faulkner's Characters on Page and Screen," at the “Faulkner and Film” conference in Oxford next week.
Please keep the Hunt Scholarships in mind as an opportunity for talented graduate students working on Faulkner-related projects under your direction or that of your colleagues, and encourage your colleagues to nominate deserving students for the award. Instructions for nominating students can currently be found near the bottom of the WFS homepage. The application deadline for the next round of Hunt Scholarships will be March 15, 2011.
2011 FAULKNER AND YOKNAPATAWPHA CONFERENCE
The conference theme for Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha 2011 will be “Faulkner’s Geographies.” The call for papers will invite submissions in the form of 45-50-minute plenary papers, abstracts for 20-minute panel presentations, and additional proposals for panel papers on the broader subject of “Southern Literary Geographies.” The CFP should be posted to the WFS website within the next few weeks, where it can be accessed on the index page.
NORMAN MAILER CENTER TRAVEL STUDY PROGRAM
In June the Board approved a request from the Norman Mailer Center and Writers Colony for WFS “association” with the Mailer Center’s 2010-2011 Travel Study program. The program will send American scholars to several Chinese universities later this year to lecture on major U.S. writers (including Faulkner), and will bring a group of emerging writers and artists from China and India to the U.S. in September 2011 for a “literary journey” to prominent sites in American literary culture, including Faulkner’s Oxford. No financial commitment is called for on WFS’s part, only permission to use our name in NMC material advertising the Travel Study program, in exchange for which NMC will feature a link to the WFS website on its site.
In addition, the Board has been asked to identify Faulkner scholars who might be interested in participating in the Chinese or U.S. legs of the NMC Travel Study program. I will be happy to pass along to the program director the name of any WFS member who contacts me to express interest in participating.
* * *
The minutes from the business meeting follow. Best wishes for the coming months, and please continue to include the William Faulkner Society and its sponsored activities in your scholarly plans. The coming year looks to be another fruitful one in the field of Faulkner studies.
MINUTES FROM THE WFS BUSINESS MEETING AT ALA 2010
The meeting took place at the Hyatt Embarcadero, San Francisco, on Friday, May 28, 2010. It was called to order at 3:30 p.m. WFS President Jay Watson, Vice President Deborah Clarke, Webmaster David Davis, and around ten other members and other interested parties were in attendance.
Jay opened the meeting by presenting a report on Society finances from Secretary-Treasurer Ted Atkinson:
The membership list contains contact information for 166 people. However, only 41 of those members are current in their dues. For 64 members, there is no record of when they last paid dues. The high number of returned emails when we sent the MLA and ALA CFPs suggests that we have outdated contact information for a significant number of members. There is likely correlation between the lapsed memberships and the outdated contact information. In short, we have a serious issue to address regarding membership. We need to encourage lapsed members to return to the fold, as it were, and try to obtain updated contact information for as many people as possible. The secretary-treasurer and the president have discussed the possibility of holding a membership drive. Perhaps the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha conference this summer would be a good place to start the effort to attract new members.
The information above came to light during initial efforts to reorganize the membership list. The plan is to create an Excel spreadsheet that will organize members by the date of membership expiration. Using this list, the S-T can send emails each month to let members know that their memberships are about to expire. While creating a new version of the list will be labor intensive, the added task of sending notifications to members once the new list is completed should not be onerous. Also, it should improve the rate of members who remain current in their dues.
The current balance of the WFS account is $2316.39. The major expenditure for last year was $500 awarded to the Hunt Scholarship recipient to attend the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha conference. The major expenditure for this year will be $700 awarded to Stefan Solomon, the recipient of this year’s Hunt Scholarship. The increase in funding is due to the fact that Stefan will be traveling to the conference from Sydney, Australia. The Faulkner Journal has contributed $500 toward the scholarship, making the award this year $1,200.
Jay then moved on to an update on WFS-sponsored sessions for MLA 2011 in Los Angeles. “Imagining the Animal in Faulkner” (nonguaranteed session, approved) will feature papers by Kristin Fujie, U California, Berkeley (“‘THE book of which those others were but foals’: The Personal, the Aesthetic, and the Mammalian in Flags in the Dust”), Sandra K. Stanley, California SU, Northridge (“The Buzzard Reality of As I Lay Dying”), and Bart H. Welling, U of North Florida (“Lion in the Garden: Paradox and the Question of the Posthuman in Faulkner’s Go Down, Moses”). “The Faulkner-Oprah File: A Roundtable on ‘The Summer of Faulkner’” (guaranteed session), will feature remarks by Robert Hamblin (Southeast Missouri SU), Thadious Davis, (U of Pennsylvania), Jaime Harker (U of Mississippi), and Cecilia Farr (St. Catherine’s Women’s C, St. Paul, MN).
The next item of business was an ALA 2011 preview: the WFS Board has been consulting with John Swift (Willa Cather Foundation) and Alfred Bendixon (ALA conference director) about a collaborative effort on Cather and Faulkner consisting of multiple sessions formatted consecutively as a “mini-symposium.” WFS would devote one of its guaranteed sessions to the event and WCF would do the same, with the possibility of ALA kicking in a third session “gratis” if the quality of the submissions is strong. The prospects look good and may be a hint of future ALA collaborations to come between WFS and other author or literary societies. Some suggestions from the floor about possible topics for future collaborations: Faulkner and Morrison (with the Morrison Society), Faulkner and Hemingway (with the Hemingway Society), Faulkner and Women Writers (with the Society for American Women Authors, currently chaired by WFS Vice-President Deborah Clarke).
Other possible ALA session topics suggested from the floor:
--Teaching Faulkner (or, more specifically, Teaching As I Lay Dying, in conjunction with the MLA volume in the works)
--Faulkner and Sports
--Labor and Identity (or Labor and Characterization) in Faulkner
Next up was an MLA 2012 update. WFS has asked Steven Railton and Stephen Knepper, both of the U of Virginia, to organize and chair a roundtable on Faulkner and digital humanities (“Digital Faulkner”?). It hasn’t yet been decided whether the speakers will be by invitation only or whether there will be a CFP later this year.
Jay then went on to solicit feedback from the membership about an issue the Board has been debating: the possibility of expanding WFS conference “presence” beyond ALA and MLA. The upside: increasing visibility for the Society. The downside: concerns about diluting the WFS “brand name” and about “proposal fatigue” among the Board members as a result of running additional CFPs each year. To date the Board’s discussions have focused on SSSL (Society for the Study of Southern Literature, which meets in even-numbered years), and MSA (Modernist Studies Association, which meets annually). We are leaning toward a “pilot” program consisting of session proposals for MSA 2011 and SSSL 2012, with the plan being to let Deborah and her Board review the results when she takes over as President in 2012 and make a recommendation to the membership at a subsequent business meeting about whether future involvement with these conferences is warranted. In the meantime, the Board will continue to be open to ad hoc affiliations with panels at the regional MLAs, as at SAMLA last November, where WFS lent its name to a panel on “The Scrutiny of the Public Eye in the Work of William Faulkner” but was not involved in jurying the CFP.
Several members expressed concern from the floor that putting together MSA session proposals might not be a productive use of the Board’s time, given the fact that MSA explicitly discourages single-author sessions on its conference website. Other conferences suggested as possible WFS “destinations” included the annual ALA symposium on American Fiction in Savannah, the International American Studies Association conference (held in odd-numbered years and slated for Brazil in 2011), and conferences oriented specifically toward the teaching of literature.
Finally, Jay asked whether anyone present was familiar with the activities or general reputation of the Norman Mailer Center and Writers Colony in Provincetown. The Society has been approached by NMCWC about supporting its inaugural Travel Study program in 2010-2011, which will promote cultural exchange with Asian writers and scholars in the field of American literary studies. No monetary commitment is being requested; rather, NMCWC is asking for three things: (1) permission to list WFS alongside the Steinbeck, Hemingway, Wharton, and other societies as an organizational co-sponsor of the Travel Study program (in exchange NMCWC will put up a link to the WFS website on its site); (2) for the names of several Faulkner scholars who could be contacted about participating in the summer 2011 “Literary Journey” program that will bring Asian writers and scholars to the U.S., including Oxford, Mississippi; and (3) for the names of scholars who could be invited to participate in a planned 10-14-day trip to China in November 2010 to lecture on Faulkner’s work at several universities there.
General consensus ran in favor of supporting this program. John Duvall noted from the floor that he had recently inspected the NMCWC website and from all appearances the organization appeared to be generously funded. Jay promised to take this input back to the Board in June.
The meeting was adjourned at around 4:20 p.m.
Fall 2009 Newsletter
Letter from the President
Dear WFS members,
It’s a pleasure, as one of my inaugural acts as your new president, to bring you up to date about WFS-related activities since the spring newsletter. These activities include the election of a new slate of WFS officers for 2009-2012, our two sessions and annual business meeting at the American Literature Association conference in May, our co-sponsorship of four outstanding graduate students as John W. Hunt Scholars at the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha conference in July, our offer of WFS affiliation to an upcoming panel on Faulkner at the South Atlantic MLA conference in Atlanta this November, and initial planning and discussion for next year’s ALA and MLA panels.
I’m delighted to introduce the new officers you elected in April to join me on the WFS Board. Our new Vice President is Deborah Clarke of Arizona State University. Our incoming Secretary-Treasurer is Ted Atkinson, whom we should also congratulate on joining the faculty of Mississippi State University this fall. (Ted provides a brief report on the Society’s membership and finances below.) Our Representatives at Large are Leigh Anne Duck of the University of Memphis and Taylor Hagood of Florida Atlantic University, and they are rather literally at large this fall term, as Leigh Anne is teaching abroad in Copenhagen and Taylor in Munich. I’m looking forward very much to working with such an energetic and capable group of officers.
Announcing the new Board also gives me the opportunity to thank our outgoing officers for their generous service and able leadership over the past three years. I’m sure you’ll all agree that the Faulkner Society owes Jack Matthews, our outgoing President; Peter Lurie, our outgoing Secretary-Treasurer; and At-Large officers John Duvall and Doreen Fowler a special debt of gratitude for a diverse series of outstanding panels and sessions at our annual conferences and for the many other ways in which their input has guided and invigorated the Society. In addition I owe a personal debt of thanks to Jack for his mentorship throughout my term as Vice-President. It has been a pleasure learning the WFS ropes from him!
One of Jack’s final acts as President was to help prepare the materials (and supply institutional memory) for our MLA seven-year review as an Allied Organization. Many long-time members no doubt recall that the road to Allied status, which was not awarded until 2002, was a long and contentious one, so it was gratifying to be able to document for the Program Committee our thriving membership numbers and many diverse activities in support of Faulkner scholarship over recent years. As of this mid-October writing, I can report that the Committee has forwarded a recommendation for renewal of our Allied status to the Executive Council, whose favorable decision we expect in November.
On to scholarly matters. Once again in 2009 the Society sponsored two Faulkner sessions at the American Literature Association conference in Boston. Each session drew an audience of around 30 attendees and was followed by a spirited Q&A period and appreciative discussion that spilled out of the salon into the reception area outside. An open-topic session chaired by Jay Watson brought together Benjamin D. Hagen’s fresh take on Faulknerian temporality in The Sound and the Fury, Heather Holcombe’s analysis of embodied female subjectivity and the modern discourse of reproductive rights in As I Lay Dying, and Peter Lurie’s work on cinema spectatorship as a mode of raced, classed subject formation among Yoknapatawpha’s white citizens. The following day Peter served as chair and session organizer for our other panel, “Faulkner and the Metropolis,” where audience members were treated to Anne Hirsch Moffitt’s account of the modern city as an encroaching specter haunting the imagination of rural characters and communities in Go Down, Moses, Cheryl Lester’s excavations of a black metropolitan sensibility at work in Sanctuary, and Barbara Ladd’s paper on the national, imperial, and colonial elements of Faulkner’s portrait of Paris in A Fable.
I should note that Peter Lurie is now at work expanding the “Faulkner in the Metropolis” session into a special issue of The Faulkner Journal. A call for papers has been posted to the index page of the WFS website at http://faulknersociety.com
Minutes from the WFS business meeting at ALA follow the Secretary-Treasurer’s report below. While we are on the subject of these meetings, I should point out that current MLA policy concerning business meetings at the annual convention makes it increasingly difficult to schedule and run such meetings there. As an Allied Organization, we are allotted two session slots at MLA, one of which we may opt to use for a business meeting, which of course would mean giving up an academic panel. We’ll see if the scheduling is handled any differently when the convention moves to January in 2011, but for now the WFS continues to opt against sacrificing a scholarly session for an administrative one. There was as a result no WFS business meeting at MLA 2008 in San Francisco, and I do not at present plan to hold one at MLA 2009 in Philadelphia.
We look forward with great anticipation to our two MLA sessions this December. Session 391, “Faulkner in the 1950s,” will feature presentations by Caroline Miles (U of Texas-Pan American), Joseph Urgo (Hamilton C), and Michael Zeitlin (U of British Columbia). Session organizer Katie Kodat (Hamilton C) will serve as moderator for the panel, which is scheduled for Tuesday, December 29, from 10:15-11:30 a.m. in Grand Ballroom Salon J, Philadelphia Marriott. Session 699, “Faulkner and the Environment,” includes papers by Stefan Solomon (U of New South Wales), Michael Beilfuss (Texas A&M), and Bart Welling (U of North Florida) and will be chaired by Jay Watson. The panel is slated for Wednesday, December 30, from 12:00-1:15 p.m. in Grand Ballroom Salon I at the Marriott. Please mark your calendars and join us for what promises to be an illuminating pair of sessions.
Between now and December, let me also advise those of you who will be attending the South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA) conference in Atlanta (November 6-8) that the conference schedule includes a Faulkner session being presented in affiliation with the WFS. “The Scrutiny of the Public Eye in the Work of William Faulkner,” organized and chaired by Victoria Bryan, a graduate student at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, will feature papers by Randall Wilhelm (U of Tennessee, Knoxville), Rachel Walsh (SUNY Stony Brook), and Major Scott Chancellor (U of Mississippi). As of this writing, the final program copy is not yet up on the SAMLA convention website, but the tentative schedule lists the panel as session #125, Saturday, November 7, from 2:45-4:15 p.m. in Georgia Ballroom East of the Renaissance Atlanta Hotel Downtown. Kudos to Victoria for her initiative in putting together this panel and approaching the WFS Board with a request to extend affiliation to the session.
Our association with this panel raises the issue of whether the WFS should consider extending its institutional presence beyond MLA and ALA to smaller or regional conferences (such as SAMLA, SCMLA, SSSL) by organizing and sponsoring regular Faulkner sessions there. This is a question that the Board plans to take up this spring, after reviewing the quality and quantity of submissions for next year’s national conference sessions. We will to report on our deliberations at the May business meeting at ALA and discuss how to proceed from there. In the meantime, we welcome your input on the matter.
The Society continues to take pride in supporting the work of graduate students pursuing research on William Faulkner through the John W. Hunt Scholarships. These awards, which support travel to the annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference at the U of Mississippi, are co-sponsored by the WFS and The Faulkner Journal, and, thanks to the largesse of F&Y Conference Director Don Kartiganer, they are accompanied by a waiver of the conference registration fee. This year, after reviewing an unusually strong set of applications, the WFS was pleased to name four students—an unprecedented number—as recipients of the Hunt Scholarship: Joanna Davis-McElligatt of the University of Iowa, Steven Knepper of the University of Virginia, Anne Moffitt of Princeton University (and of the “Faulkner and the Metropolis” panel), and Rachel Walsh of SUNY Stony Brook. These young scholars were recognized at the opening night festivities and conducted themselves with enthusiasm and professionalism throughout the conference week, making their presence felt at the plenary sessions (Rachel was in fact a panelist at one of these sessions) and at the less strictly scholarly events. Having had the good fortune to meet all four awardees, I can vouch for the fact that the Society’s investment in their Faulkner conference experience was a sound one.
As we move ahead with the year, then, please keep the Hunt Scholarships in mind as a possibility for talented graduate students working on Faulkner-related projects, and encourage your colleagues to nominate deserving students for the award. Instructions for nominating students can currently be found at the bottom of the WFS homepage. The application deadline is March 15, 2010.
A few brief notes and requests before closing. The conference theme for Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha 2010 is “Faulkner and Film.” A call for papers has been posted to the WFS website, where it can be accessed on the index page.
The Board is currently brainstorming about topics for WFS sessions at ALA 2010 in San Diego and MLA 2011 (January) in Los Angeles. Some possibilities currently under discussion, which I will for the most part leave unannotated in the hope of keeping them suggestive: Digital Faulkner; Faulkner and Print Culture; Faulkner’s Lives (don’t ask me what it means, but everyone on the Board found the idea deliciously cryptic); “Slow Faulkner”; Philosophical Approaches to Faulkner; comparative sessions with Faulkner and other authors (Marquez? Cather? Morrison?); critical assessments of recent Faulkner scholarship; Faulkner and Consumerism; Industrialization and Technology in Faulkner. We invite you to send us your preferences or other ideas for either or both conferences. Feel free to contact me or any of the other WFS officers with suggestions; our contact information is available on the WFS website. Once the Board formalizes the calls for papers, we’ll post them to the website and send out a notification. The deadline for ALA paper or session proposals is January 15, 2010, and for MLA papers or sessions is March 1, 2010. In both cases proposals should be directed electronically to me.
Finally, if you need to renew your membership for the coming year, or if you need to find out when your membership is due to expire, contact Ted Atkinson.
Best wishes for the months, and the conferences, ahead. It should be an exciting year for Faulkner studies!
Secretary-Treasurer's Report, Fall 2009
First, I want to thank Peter Lurie for his patience during my transition to the post of Secretary-Treasurer. He graciously agreed to continue taking care of business this past summer until I was able to move from Augusta to Starkville to assume my new position at Mississippi State University. Peter, and I struggled mightily with PayPal during the transition, resulting in a brief removal of the PayPal option from the WFS website. I am pleased to report that the option is now in place again and fully operational.
The Society roster currently lists 252 members, although several of those need to pay dues to make their membership status current. I am in the process of converting the membership list from MS Word to MS Excel and making a version of the list that arranges entries by membership expiration date. This reconfigured list will enable me to send notices on a monthly basis to those whose memberships will soon lapse. My hope is that this new system will improve the rate of membership renewal.
The WFS account balance is now $1,385.13, with the only recent activity being income from membership dues and disbursements to The Faulkner Journal for members who pay for subscriptions when submitting their dues.
Minutes from the ALA Business Meeting
Faulkner Society Business Meeting: American Literature Association Conference May 22, 2009- Boston, MA
The meeting took place in the Copley Place Westin Hotel.
Outgoing President John Matthews made a few remarks to start the meeting before handing matters over to Jay Watson, incoming WFS President, including the following:
He mentioned the Society having had six applicants for Hunt fellowships to attend the 2009 Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha conference from the following universities: Stonybrook (NY), University of Iowa, Princeton, University of Kansa and and UVA. He then described the process of settling on the number of fellowships and indicated that the Society offered 4 scholarships. These amounted to payments of $350 and a waiver of the Faulkner Conference fee.
He then asked for a brief report from the outgoing Treasurer-Secretary, Peter Lurie.
Peter indicated the approximate membership number of WFS and the roughly $1200 currently in the WFS checking account. He noted that this was a smaller amount than in past years due to the increased number of Hunt fellows and the higher stipend amounts that went to them.
Peter suggested that the Society approach The Faulkner Journal to change the setup for payments for journal subscriptions, asking if we could not combine those payments with dues payments to the WFS.
Jack concluded his comments by acknowledging the work of the other outgoing officers of the WFS and thanking them for their service. He included mention of the very helpful work done by current and ongoing “Webmaster,” David A. Davis.
Jay then began the running of the meeting. He asked that we all put out a reminder to nominate students for Hunt fellowships in future years. He reminded everyone that the annual deadline for applications is March 1 and described the application requirements: a letter of application from student, CV, and letter of support from advisor. He repeated the Society’s commitment to encouraging and attracting good, suitable students/applicants.
Jay then listed the MLA 09 panels: “Faulkner in the 1950s” (chaired by Katie Kodat, with papers by Joseph Urgo, Caroline Miles, and Mike Zeitlin) and “Faulkner and the Environment” (listed panelists).
Jay referred to the upcoming F&Y Conference: July 19-23 and let everyone know that Don Kartiganer will give a paper as “swan song” or send off before his retirement. He suggested that the 2010 F& Y conference topic could likely be “Faulkner and Film.”
He asked for suggestions for possible panel topics for next year’s ALA and MLA:
Tom McHaney suggested “Faulkner and Philosophy”
Cheryl Lester raised the idea of “Digital Faulkner” and pointed to the attending legal issues surrounding digital publishing. Suggested that this could be either a panel topic and/or a relevant question for scholars about new ways to publish Faulkner as well as work about him.
Tom pointed to the Concordances as likely digital material; he said he’d talked with Noel Polk and referred to the “punch cards” which are still available from University of (Southern?) Mississippi. Jack mentioned that we should approach Random House and ask them about what copyright issues there are. Barbara Ladd offered that for the 19th C, everything is out of copyright.
Barbara then added: we should think about new formats for publishing The Faulkner Journal, including only publishing it on line. Suggested that it would be easier to do than we might expect. Mentioned the “Nons” (?) project at UVa….
Jack said he’d talked with an editor at Blackwell about “bundling” the FJ with 5 other journals as a subscription package for university libraries, possibly for individuals.
Jay suggested a panel on “Faulkner and Print Culture/The History of the Book,” referred to a potential synergy with people doing work on digital publishing. Asked for general input about people who may be in involved.
Barbara: what about panel topics that combine WF with other writers (F & Marquez; F & Morrison). Jay followed up, suggesting we could treat the matter as something like an alternaing “home court,” going back & forth between sponsoring dual-author panels with the other author society(s).
Pearl McHaney asked to follow this option with a more focused idea, e.g., “F & Marquez & Rape,” suggesting that orienting topical panels in this way would help avoid so devolving into discussions of influence, etc.
Tom: let’s get in touch with international colleagues, ask about international influences on Faulkner or other work on him happening overseas.
Barbara: let’s go after more recent authors; invite them to give a panel, roundtable.
Peter suggested that the “book response” version of the Dec. 08 MLA panel with Eric Lott responding to Katie’s Henninger’s book; Judith Miller weighing in on Leigh Ann Duck’s book, etc., worked very well.
Jay: the roundtable (again) has been great; Barbara said that the “slow reading” Faulkner panel approaches have been popular.
Peter raised the issue of WFS officer elections (or the lack of outside nominations). He asked if we want to invigorate that process or try to avoid uncontested elections.
Peter: How’s the current listserv, Society discussion page doing? Jack and Barbara both answered that they did not find the WF listserv a very valuable forum.
The meeting was adjourned.
Spring 2009 Newsletter
Election of New Officers
This spring the WFS will hold its regular elections of new officers. Positions to be filled with three-year terms are Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer, and two Members-at-Large. Our by-laws stipulate that the vacated presidency is to be filled by the current vice president at the conclusion of their terms. In this case Jay Watson will begin his term as President in May, 2009, with the other slate of new officers. Please send nominations (whether of yourself or another Society member) to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) by April 1, 2009. You should include a brief statement describing the nominee’s interest in the Society and qualifications for office. Members will be mailed an electronic ballot around April 15, and will have two weeks to return their votes.
John W. Hunt Scholarships to Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference 2009
As in the past, the WFS will sponsor one or two doctoral level graduate students to attend the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference in Oxford, MS this summer. Nominees should send a letter of application, including a brief description of their dissertation project, and a letter of support from a faculty supervisor, to DELETED EXTRA “TO” John T. Matthews, President, The Faulkner Society, Boston University, Department of English, 236 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215 or to email@example.com. Electronic submissions preferred. Deadline: March 31.
Fall 2008 Newsletter
Letter from the President
If you can take a few minutes from perching on the ledge, while stealing peeks back into the room at the current TV poll numbers, I have a few modest distractions to offer you about the activities of the Faulkner Society over recent months.
In May we sponsored two lively and extremely well-attended sessions at the American Literature Association conference in San Francisco. A round-table on teaching Faulkner in new contexts featured talks by Melanie Benson, Deborah Clarke, Caroline Garnier, Valerie Loichot, and Terrell Tebbets on a wide variety of approaches to studying Faulkner’s writing—in the contexts of native American culture, modernism and gender, African American literature, Caribbean writers, and contemporary Southern fiction. A second panel gave us papers on historicizing race in Faulkner, with presentations by Joanna Davis-McElligatt on immigration law and Light in August, and by David Ball on the racial dimension of early advertising culture as reflected in the mention of stove polish in Absalom, Absalom! Both sessions drew in excess of fifty audience members—rooms were filled to capacity, and both concluded with vigorous and sustained conversations. Abstracts for some of these papers may be found on the WFS website (http://faulknersociety.com/).
Minutes of the business meeting at ALA appear below.
We look forward to two superb sessions at MLA this year: a round-table (with short presentations by each participant) addressing new scholarship under the rubric “Why Faulkner Now?” The panelists will be Hosam Aboul-Ela, Deborah Cohn, Richard Godden, Barbara Ladd, and Harilaos Stecopoulos. A second session will address Faulkner and modernist studies, with papers by Florence Dore, Jolene Hubbs, and Judith Sensibar. Details of the MLA schedule appear below.
We invite you to propose topics for the calls for papers we will be posting shortly to organize Society sessions at ALA in Boston 2009 and MLA in Philadelphia 2009. Please send ideas to me or any of the officers.
The Faulkner Society will also be electing new officers this spring. Current Vice President Jay Watson will begin his three-year term as President in May, 2009 (the vice president succeeding to president, as stipulated in our by-laws). But all other new officers will be elected, and we’ll be inviting nominations (self- and otherwise) during a period early in the new year. Election procedures will be described then. We encourage anyone interested in participating in Society affairs to contact us as early as you’d like.
We’ll send around notice of the calls for papers later in the fall, and tell you where they’ve been posted (including our website).
Jay Watson reports that next year’s topic for the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference in Oxford will be “Faulkner and Mystery.”
If you haven’t renewed you membership for this year (or for a multiple year membership of your choice), please contact Peter Lurie.
All best wishes,
Summary of Business Meeting at ALA (May 22, 2008)
About fifteen members and interested colleagues gathered for the Society business meeting at ALA this past spring. The meeting was convened by John Matthews (President), and began by reviewing the status of the Society’s finances. (See the separate up-to-date treasurer’s report elsewhere in this newsletter.) The new Pay Pal system for direct electronic payment of dues works well. Funds continue to allow funding for the Hunt Scholarship program to the annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference. This year there were three well qualified nominees, all of whom received travel awards to attend: Matthew Vaughn, a doctoral student at the University of Tulsa writing a dissertation under James Watson’s direction; Sarah Mahurin, a doctoral student at Yale working with Robert Stepto and Wai-Chee Dimock, and Elizabeth Cornell, who is writing a dissertation at Fordham with Maria Farland. The Hunt Scholars were awarded additional waivers of conference fees by the Yoknapatawpha Conference, and the Society expressed its gratitude to Donald Kartiganer, its director, for the Conference’s generosity.
Discussion of possible topics for upcoming Society panels at ALA and MLA in 2009 generated the following suggestions for subjects and contexts to explore in Faulkner’s writing: environmental studies; international writers; contemporary writers; ethics; faith or religion; humor; the 1950s; the state of the union.
An announcement about our election year for new officers of the Society was made. We’ll be electing new officers in all but the President’s capacity (the Vice President succeeding to a three-year term as President): Vice President; Secretary-Treasurer; and two new members-at-large.
A representative from Wiley-Blackwell Publishing made a brief presentation about a new packaged series of scholarly journals being developed. She was interested in the prospects of recruiting The Faulkner Journal to the list.
Secretary-Treasurer’s Report, Fall 2008
As of September 2008, the Society has approximately 330 members. Some of these members’ dues are in arrears, but most are current, and many include subscriptions to the Faulkner Journal, with whom the Society coordinates subscriber and members’ payments.
The Society’s checking account has a balance of $1,819.50. This reflects the disbursement of $900 to award three Hunt fellowships at the annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference in Oxford, Mississippi in July. The recipients of these fellowships received a waiver of the conference fee in addition to a $300 stipend each, to be used for travel to the conference. All three recipients are graduate students who have shown a commitment to serious scholarly engagement with Faulkner studies: Elizabeth Cornell, Fordham University; Sarah Mahurin, Yale University; and Matthew Vaughn, University of Tulsa.
Society members continue to make use of the on-line Pay-pal system via the Society’s website. This has facilitated the deposits and transfer of members’ dues and, we hope, expedited our correspondence with new and renewing members. We are continuing to work on further enhancing our web-based system of coordinating memberships and Faulkner Journal subscriptions.
The ALA meeting took place on May 25th, 2007, at the Copley Westin Hotel in Boston, MA.
Jack Matthews, Society President, began the meeting by asking those attending to introduce themselves. He then announced upcoming MLA papers for the conference in Chicago. He also announced that the WFS website was establishing an independent domain, and would no longer be housed at the U of Mississippi. David Davis set up the site as a permanent, non-institutional presence, and has agreed to manage it.
A question came up about posting the Society panel papers on the website before the ALA and MLA conferences, so that people attending those panels could have a better sense of the papers. Jack suggested posting abstracts before the conference and full texts afterward. Most agreed that this seemed helpful.
A brief discussion followed about reminders to members about their dues status. I indicated that reminders about renewing membership are included in each newsletter. Jack pointed out that people generally don’t welcome multiple emails.
Discussion then turned to the John W. Hunt Memorial Scholarships, under whose name the Society sponsors graduate student awards to attend the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha conference. The prize is for students working on Faulkner and pays their conference fee and the price of one of the day tours.
A related question arose about alternative uses of WFS money, such as an annual award for the best new article on Faulkner or the best Faulkner-related book, awarded on a yearly or a three-year cycle. Mike Zeitlin indicated that The Faulkner Journal presently gives an annual award for the best article. Jack noted that other author societies do this to note the value of new work. Peter asked a general question about whether those present thought that granting such an award would be a way of encouraging new and better scholarship—or if we thought that the current state of work on Faulkner was not in need of external bolstering.
Mike Zeitlin asked about using WFS money to subsidize travel costs to conferences such as the ALA, which was seconded by Deborah Clarke. Jack wondered about the best mechanism for implementing such a fund. David Earle raised a related question about people applying for “research grants” through the Society to pay for, for example, publishing permissions and copyrights. Peter asked whether the Hunt fellowship money could also be used for other awards or support.
A brief discussion followed about raising the cost of membership dues or allowing members to contribute additional funds for the purposes of a travel pool. Most present agreed that the current $10 membership was a fair cost.
Discussion then returned to the question of the Hunt fellowship and the prospect of opening it up to undergraduates. David Evans asked about announcing it through English departments and the F&Y’s announcement generally. Jack indicated that it was listed on the Ole Miss website.
The group then covered the mechanism for listing conference panels and selecting papers. Jack reminded everyone that CFPs for ALA go out in October and CFPs for MLA go out in January. Peter mentioned the process of accepting proposals for both pre-constituted panels and stand-alone papers. Mike asked about the number of submissions for Society-sponsored panels at this year’s conferences. Jack indicated that the overall numbers of submissions for this year was slightly higher than last but that getting six strong papers per conference out of the submissions is often difficult. He pointed out that we encourage people to re-submit proposals that have interest but that may not fit a particular panel configuration.
We moved toward a close by raising possible topics for future Society panels. Among those mentioned were: Faulkner and disability studies; Faulkner and materialism (with a focus on archival studies); Faulkner and Death (a topic that Mike is working on for a panel with Chip Arnold); Faulkner and Whiteness (to follow up on the current issue of the Faulkner Journal); Faulkner and Economics.
A question arose again about connecting with other author societies and national academic societies, such as the MSA and ASA, and foreign societies such as European American Studies and British Southern Studies. Someone pointed out that the Louisville conference on narrative is now reserving panels for author societies.
The meeting closed with a brief discussion of a potential change in format for MLA presentations. Jack mentioned the prospect of more roundtable discussions, for example. Deborah Clarke proposed a roundtable on the future of single-author studies…..
The meeting was called to adjourn.
Faulkner Society MLA 2007 Business Meeting
This meeting took place on December 28th, 2007, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Chicago, Il.
In attendance: John Matthews (WFS President), Peter Lurie (Secretary-Treasurer), Barbara Ladd, Deborah Clarke, Leigh Ann Duck
Questions arose about the planning and holding of business meetings at the annual MLA and ALA conferences. Jack mentioned securing a cash bar event for the Society. This meeting was held in the Hyatt Regency bar at a very small table.
Peter reported on the current amount in the WFS checking account as roughly $3,000.
Peter asked about whether we could find a way for WFS members and renewals to pay for subscriptions to the Faulkner Journal online and directly to the FJ. Currently the Secretary-Treasurer receives payments for both WFS memberships and FJ subscriptions, then forwards the latter to the FJ.
There was general agreement that a direct method of subscribing on line to the FJ would be good. Jack asked about building membership in the Society. Deborah mentioned that a WFS cash bar would be one way to do so.
Barbara Ladd brought up the fact that the WFS Calls for Papers for Society sponsored panels are not widely circulated. She and others mentioned that UPenn’s listserve no longer circulates such information. General agreement that the Society would like more submissions from which to choose for panel participants at the ALA and MLA conferences. Jack suggested re-sending the CFPs closer to the deadline. Barbara mentioned that The Society for the Study of Southern Literature is not active [in circulating Calls], but could be more so. Someone suggested posting cfps on the University of Rennes, France Faulkner Foundation site. Peter mentioned contacting Nicole Moulinoux and Jacques Poithier in France about circulating the CFPs among scholars and groups there. Deborah suggested sending the CFPs as an attachment with the WFS newsletter. Peter mentioned coming up with a duplicate mailing list for the CFPs in addition to the WFS newsletter. This was followed by a brief discussion about other ways of extending the WFS reach for CFPs. Barbara asked about Don Kartiganer at U of Mississippi and whether he would be willing he share his mailing list for the Faulkner Conference. Peter mentioned the Society for Cinema and Media Studies listserve.
Jack mentioned that for many conferences, pre-constituted panels fared better than individual papers; all agreed. He followed with a question about new topics for upcoming panels at the 2008 MLA and ALA conferences. Below are among the topics mentioned:
Faulkner and Disability studies; Teaching WF; Faulkner and the African Diaspora;
Faulkner and Modernist Studies; Why Faulkner Now?
Jack mentioned the possibility of sharing a topic/panel with the Society for the Study of Southern Literature. Deb asked about a panel on publishing on Faulkner. F and the “new literary histories” (how is Faulkner newly theorized, conceptualized within literary history).
Jack mentioned that the Modernist Studies Association and studies of British modernism are better at talking about, say, the crisis of the liberal state and modernism—an offshoot of an earlier proposed panels topic, “Faulkner and the Nation.”
General discussion followed about how to apportion financial support for the Hunt Scholarships and whether we might want to expand the eligible pool for fellowship recipients. Jack suggested spending one more year with the grant stipulated for graduate students.
Deadlines for submissions to the WFS for ALA and MLA panels were reviewed: 1/15, ALA; 3/15 MLA
Jack mentioned the matter of posting WFS panel papers on the Society webpage and mentioned that he had encountered some difficulty getting all participants to agree to posting full papers. He followed by asking whether we should simply post the paper’s abstracts.
Barbara expressed understanding about some scholars’ reticence to essentially “publish” a paper on line.
The meeting was called to adjourn.
Letter from the President
The Society sponsored
two outstanding panels at the American Literature Association Conference
in Boston at the end of May: one an omnibus session representing new
directions in Faulkner studies, the other a panel on Pylon. Both
sessions were unusually well attended, offered lots of new ideas, and
generated excellent conversations. Full details of the sessions appear
on the “Panels” link of our website. A few of the papers have been
posted there; the rest will follow as they are ready.
The panels for MLA
also have been posted on our website; scheduling information will be
forthcoming. We’ll place our calls for papers in October in the U Penn
list-serv, with deadlines in January for ALA sessions and March for
MLA. In addition, I welcome inquiries about ideas especially for topics
you’d like to see WFS take on, for individual papers or panels, and also
for larger projects, such as collaborations with other author societies
or cognate professional organizations.
The Society’s website
has moved to its own permanent domain address: http://www.faulknersociety.com/index.htm
Our former site will
forward hits directly to the new address. I want to thank Prof. David
Davis, at Wake Forest University, for conducting this switch, and for
volunteering to manage the website for the immediate future. I also
want to thank Prof. David Evans of Dalhousie University for having set
up the original website, and to the University of Mississippi for
hosting the site over the past few years. The cost of procuring a
permanent domain was nominal. Among other advantages, the site enables
us to offer Paypal options for membership dues, a feature especially
desirable to international members. Please check out the new site and
send me your reactions!
You’ll find Prof.
Peter Lurie’s report on the business meeting elsewhere in this
newsletter. The meeting also was well attended and produced excellent
suggestions for expanded uses for some prize money and other modest
funds we’ve accumulated.
I’m pleased to
announce that this year’s winner of the John W. Hunt Memorial
Scholarship to the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference is Jennie
Joiner, a doctoral candidate in English literature at the University of
Kansas. Ms. Joiner has also been selected to present a paper on one of
the panels at this year’s conference.
Our fall newsletter
will include a formal reminder to renew your membership before the end
of the calendar year. Memberships run for the calendar year.
Multiple-year renewals make life dreamy.
All best wishes for
the remainder of your summer,
John T. Matthews
Minutes for the
Business Meeting at MLA
The MLA business
meeting of the WFS took place on Friday, December 29, 2006 at the
Marriot Philadelphia hotel.
themselves: Leigh Ann Duck; Anne Goodwyn Jones; David Davis; Robert Dale
Parker; Jay Watson (Vice President) John Duvall (member at large); Peter
Lurie (Treasurer-Secretary), Jack Matthews (President).
Jack pointed out that
because of the fact that there are two panels at MLA sponsored by the
Society, we don’t have an officially scheduled meeting time. Hence the
impromptu gathering after the first panel.
current WFS activities:
Jack reported that
WFS Newsletter had been mailed in the fall, and that its announced
changes in policies, such as the calendar for nominating Hunt
scholarship, had prompted no objections. Jack also noted that the board
had approved circulating an email-only version of the Newsletter in the
future, henceforth a change also indicated in the Fall Newsletter.
for the Spring Newsletter: Hunt scholarships for F&Y; the next year
panels at 2007 meetings of the ALA (Boston, May) and MLA (Chicago,
Jack then raised some
questions about the Hunt scholarships:
He pointed out that
last year, there was just one nominee, a beginning graduate student who
was eventually awarded the scholarship for 2006. In 2005 there were
three nominees; all were more mature students and reportedly made fuller
use of the conference. He encouraged members to consider carefully the
maturity of the graduate students we might nominate.
John Duvall suggested
that the Hunt nominations include postdoctoral candidates and adjuncts.
Jay asked: would we
have to approach the Hunt fellowship sponsors to change the category of
nominees? Several answered said that we wouldn’t have to.
Jay then offered that
Master’s level candidates were sometimes not advanced enough in their
studies to have committed fully enough to focus on Faulkner.
Jack asked if there
were other ways to use the money, such as: a prize for the best grad
student essay on Faulkner? Money for travel to MLA? Suggested that we
solicit from other Society members, other awards that they or their
institutions could sponsor.
Peter described the
current WFS membership and account. Total number of new or renewing
members was nearly 320, with several members still listed but not
necessarily current with dues payments. As of December, 2006, the WFS
account had $2,280.48. He mentioned the time-intensive process of
receiving and depositing checks as dues payments along with the
communications to the Faulkner Journal about new subscriptions.
Jack asked about
offering multi-year membership as an option.
Jay said he’s spoken
to people about the PayPal option, especially for international
members-to-be, as a way to facilitate dues payments and allow them to be
made on line.
Jack then asked if
there were anyone with particular skills of web design who might help
with adding a PayPal account to the WFS website. David Davis offered to
lend some help in this capacity. (He and Peter have since communicated
about the account and its launch date will be in early June, 2007).
Jack then raised a
new topic. He indicated that there are many people who work on
Faulkner, but who are not members. He asked about ways to sponsor
projects that range outside of single author studies.
Jay spoke about
building relationships w/other author societies: co-sponsoring
conference panels, co-authoring papers, among them, the Willa Cather
society. Members suggested talking to their officers in the interest
of increasing the range of WFS-involved scholarship. David suggested
Welty and Morrison as other possible links.
Anne Jones mentioned
that there is a Faulkner society in Japan and the Faulkner Foundation in
Rennes, France. John Duvall asked about connections with the Center for
the Study of Southern Culture at the U. of Mississippi.
Jay offered that such
connections might open up the prospect for another panel at national
conferences. John mentioned the Louisville conference on 20th C. literature. David Davis and Peter Lurie offered a similar statement
followed about other writers gathering momentum through attention at
conferences such as Toni Morrison in the 90s. Jack then asked if we
wanted to consider topics that did not restrict themselves to Faulkner.
For instance, a panel on Southern Studies/trauma studies in the South.
John Duvall responded
that The FJ could take that on.
Anne Jones and others
then talked generally about the various conferences and associations
doing work that would accommodate Faulkner: the Southern ASA meeting in
Oxford in the spring; a Blues Symposium at Ole Miss.
Leigh Ann Duck raised
a question that the Society might want to consider, which had to do with
impressions outside Faulkner studies about “Why Faulkner?” Jack
responded with a reference to Rebecca Mark’s article in the FJ: “Why we
should stop teaching Faulkner?”
Anne Jones then
mentioned that she was having talks w/Houghton-Mifflin and said that the
New Southern Studies series needs its own a publication organ. Ed
Francisco’s collection did not do as well as hoped, so H-M is tentative
about an anthology. Others mentioned that a collection of new Southern
materials that would treat Faulkner but also the Caribbean might want to
seek another press.
followed about a felt need among members for collections, conference
work on Faulkner in a hemispheric or global context, potentially in
connection with journals or special issues about the Global South. Jack
and Jay brought up connections to the Flannery O’Connor Society via a
spring conference at Georgia State.
Jack the raised a new
practical consideration by the MLA about holding the convention at a new
date such as the first Thursday after Jan. 2; he solicited responses and
suggested circulating this question among members. He also mentioned
that the MLA was perhaps going to delete evening sessions.
Others responded that
several people do attend the evening sessions. The greater concern was
the MLA scheduling related panels at the same time.
by many that a later date for the MLA convention was preferable, Anne
mentioned that the American Historical Association has its meeting in
the same period; she asked if this would pose competition for members.
Robert Dale Parker responded that it would be the publishers who would
find the concurrent schedules difficult.
about the overall value and role played by the book exhibits,
potentially in relation to the other needs of conference goers. Several
people pointed to the important role played of meeting with publishers,
Jack raised the
important question of pursuing the need for an allocated space during
the MLA conference for the WFS business meeting. Noted that we would
like to have such a space without having to give up one of the allocated
special sessions. Others mentioned ideas such as having a cash bar or
sharing a space with another author society.
Meeting finished with
discussion of possible panel topics for upcoming ALA and next year’s MLA
conferences. Jack indicated that there would be an open CFP for ’07
panels. Possible topics included Faulkner and African-American/African
history (someone mentioned Keith Cartwright’s book on this topic),
Faulkner in Haiti and the Caribbean. Jack mentioned the Society’s
effort to have the CFPs genuinely open but to also use them to promote
new work or follow up on previously considered topics. He invited
continued input for what panel topics people might suggest.
Meeting was called to
Minutes for the
Business Meeting at ALA
The ALA business
meeting of the Society took place on May 25th, 2006, at the
Copley Westin Hotel in Boston, MA.
Society President, began the meeting by asking those attending to
introduce themselves. He then announced the WFS panels selected for the
MLA conference in Chicago. He also announced that the WFS website was
establishing an independent domain, to succeed the site maintained by
the U of Mississippi. He referred to the fact that David Davis was
managing and setting up the site as a permanent, non-institutional
A question came up
about posting the Society panel papers on the website before the ALA and
MLA conferences, so that people attending those panels could have a
better sense of the papers. Jack responded, indicating that he’d prefer
to post abstracts of papers before the panel and the full text of papers
after the conferences. Most agreed that this seemed helpful.
A brief discussion
followed about the Society reminding members of their status, in which
Jack and the Treasurer-Secretary indicated that reminders about renewing
membership are included in each newsletter. Jack pointed out that
people generally don’t welcome multiple emails.
The T-S reported on
the status of the Society and its account, indicating that as of April
30th membership was approximately 240 and that the WFS
account held $2,354.88.
turned to the John W. Hunt Memorial Fund, the sponsor of a graduate
student scholarship to attend the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha
conference. The prize is for students working on Faulkner and it pays
for their conference fee and the price of one of the day tours.
A related question
was posed about alternative uses of WFS money, such as an annual award
for the best new article on Faulkner or the best Faulkner-related book,
awarded on a yearly or a three-year cycle. Mike Zeitlin indicated that Faulkner Journal gives an annual award for the best article.
Jack noted that other author societies do this to recognize the value of
new work. Peter Lurie asked a general question about whether those
present thought that granting such an award would be a way of
encouraging new and better scholarship—or if we thought that the current
state of work on Faulkner was not in need of external bolstering.
Mike Zeitlin asked
about using WFS money to subsidize travel costs to conferences such as
the ALA, which was seconded by Deborah Clarke. Jack responded by
suggesting an ALA travel fund. He then asked about the best mechanism
for implementing such a fund. David Earle raised a related question
about people applying for “research grants” through the Society to pay
for, for example, publishing permissions and copyrights. Peter asked
whether the Hunt fellowship money could also be used for other awards or
A brief discussion
followed about raising the cost of membership dues or allowing members
to contribute additional funds for the purposes of a travel pool. Most
present agreed that the current $10 membership was a fair cost.
returned to the question of the Hunt fellowship and the prospect of
opening it up to undergraduates. David Evans asked about announcing it
through English departments and the F&Y’s announcement generally. Jack
indicated that it was listed on the Ole Miss website.
The group then
covered the mechanism for listing conference panels and selecting
papers. Jack reminded everyone that CFPs for ALA and MLA go out in
October. Peter mentioned the process of accepting proposals for both
pre-constituted panels and stand-alone papers. Mike asked about the
number of submissions for Society-sponsored panels at this year’s
conferences. Jack indicated that the overall numbers of submissions for
this year was slightly higher than last but that we’re still working to
get six strong papers per conference out of the submissions. He pointed
out that we encourage people to re-submit proposals that have interest
but that may not fit a particular panel configuration.
We moved toward a
close by raising possible topics for future Society panels. Among those
mentioned were: Faulkner and disability studies; Faulkner and
materialism (with a focus on archival studies); Faulkner and Death (a
topic that Mike is working on for a panel with Chip Arnold); Faulkner
and Whiteness (to follow up on the current issue of the Faulkner
Journal); Faulkner and Economics.
A question arose
again about collaborating with other author societies and participating
in national academic societies, such as the MSA and ASA, and foreign
societies such as European American Studies and British Southern
Studies. Someone pointed out that the Louisville conference on
narrative is now reserving panels for author societies.
The meeting closed
with a brief discussion of a potential change in format for MLA
presentations. Jack mentioned the prospect of more roundtable
discussions, for example. Deborah Clarke proposed a roundtable on the
future of single-author studies…..
The meeting was
called to adjourn.
Letter from the President
It’s my pleasure to
write to you as the recently installed president of the society, as well
as on behalf of my fellow new officers: Jay Watson, Vice President;
Peter Lurie, Secretary-Treasurer; and Doreen Fowler and John Duvall,
Members-at-Large. We anticipate a lively three years serving the
I want to begin by
thanking the outgoing officers for their conscientious work over their
terms: Anne Goodwyn Jones, President; Catherine Gunther Kodat,
Secretary-Treasurer; and Evelyn Jaffe Schreiber and Donald Kartiganer,
Elsewhere in this
newsletter you will find the minutes of our last business meeting, held
at the ALA Conference in San Francisco in May. Since then, the board of
officers has assembled a list of tasks we’d like to address as we begin
our terms. Some of these ideas are elaborated below in connection with
the individual items of Society business that they involve. We welcome
your comments, questions, suggestions of other issues the Society might
take up, and, especially, offers of help in any of the initiatives we
You’ll also find a
calendar of deadlines and other important dates below. Please let me
know if there are others we should incorporate.
At the members’
business meeting at ALA, those present discussed possible topics for
forthcoming conference sessions. The board proposes that this year we
issue calls for papers and panels for ALA and MLA in 2007 inviting
submissions on unrestricted topics. Please see details below.
Don’t hesitate to
contact me about these or any other Society matters at firstname.lastname@example.org.
John T. Matthews
Minutes: ALA Conference, Spring 2006
Business meeting of
William Faulkner Society at the American Literature Association held
Saturday, May 27, at 2 p.m., at the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero in San
president Anne Goodwyn Jones; outgoing secretary-treasurer Katie Kodat;
incoming president Jack Matthews; incoming member-at-large Doreen
Fowler; also Deborah Clarke; Millie Kidd; Marty Kreiswirth; Barbara
The meeting began
with Anne Goodwyn Jones announcing the new WFS officers: Jack as
president, Jay Watson as vice-president; Peter Lurie as
secretary-treasurer; Doreen Fowler and John Duvall as members-at-large.
Anne expressed her thanks to her outgoing board members; Jack in his
turn thanked Anne and Katie for their work for the society.
Jack turned to the
issue of WFS panels for ALA and MLA 2007, noting that at this year's MLA
the society would sponsor two panels: one called "Faulkner Under
Representation" and the other, organized by David Davis, called
"Regionalism and Modernism."
The ALA business
meeting traditionally has been the place where society members begin
brainstorming topics for future convention panels, and this year
continued that tradition. Doreen wondered if we could consider the idea
of issuing an open call. Katie noted the society has done something
like that in the past, and Jack concurred, saying that we have issued
"flexible calls" that propose topics but invite papers on any topic
related to Faulkner. Marty observed that in practice even panels with
topics are often fairly loosely organized. Jack noted that it seemed
MLA panels were more tightly tailored than those at ALA.
suggested an "emerging scholars" panel that would feature new voices in
Faulkner scholarship. Doreen suggested a "multicultural Faulkner"
panel; Barbara suggested a panel that would read Faulkner through
African American history. Deborah noted the past success of the
"teaching Faulkner" panels and suggested that we might want to consider
them as a semi-regular feature at ALA, along the lines of the "Slow
Reading" panel. She observed that the "teaching" panels generally
seemed more accepted at ALA than MLA. Doreen wondered why we wouldn't
want to propose a "teaching Faulkner" panel for MLA; Anne replied that
her sense of MLA was that it was a venue for "cutting edge"
scholarship. Katie noted that recent editions of the ADE's Profession on English and the future of the humanities seem to
indicate that the MLA might be becoming more interested in teaching
issues as part of its overall growing concern about the state of the
profession; Jack noted the recent MLA member survey on the convention
that likewise seemed to indicate that the society is considering major
changes in the organization of the annual meeting, including the
addition of special topic "mini-conferences" within the convention.
Several more topics
for panels were suggested: Faulkner and women writers; the idea of hope
in Faulkner's fiction; Faulkner and domestic space; Faulkner and food;
Faulkner and translation; Faulkner and the gay world; Faulkner and
consumer culture; Faulkner and film; Faulkner as cultural artifact.
Katie presented the
treasurer's report: the balance in the society's account as of May 4 was
Jack reminded those
at the meeting of the deadline for nomination of students for the
society's Hunt scholarship to the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha
conference. Because The Faulkner Journal had made an extra-large
payment to this fund to cover 2004's scholarship winner, they made no
contribution last year. Jack said he would get in touch with Dawn
Trouard to see about the journal's contribution for this year's
considerable discussion about the issue of how to handle members whose
dues payments were in arrears. Katie indicated that currently the
treasurer/secretary sends a general reminder for dues payments with the
fall newsletter. There was some discussion as to whether a more
targeted reminder was in order, with a letter going out over the
president's signature only to those members in arrears. Barbara
suggested that such a letter should indicate the benefits of WFS
membership. This led to a discussion of ways to further develop those
benefits. Suggestions included the creation of a password-protected
part of the WFS website that would contain conference papers, the
newsletter, and the membership list. All agreed that members should be
encouraged to renew their memberships in multiple year increments.
Jack suggested that
it was probably time for the society to move to an electronic-only mode
of circulating the newsletter. Katie agreed and noted that currently a
little fewer than 50 members have not supplied an e-mail address.
Perhaps the next issue of the newsletter should go out by post to those
members with a notice that this will be the last newsletter distributed
in hard copy, and urging those members to supply us with an e-mail
The WFS website is
currently housed at the University of Mississippi (along with Jay
Watson, the new vice-president). Jack reported that he has already been
in touch with the IT people at OleMiss and been given access to the
site. Anne asked whether we wanted to investigate the possibility of
setting up a chatroom or a listserv. Katie noted that the Narrative
listserv currently has a good deal of difficulty keeping out cranks and
spammers. Anne noted the excellent standard set by the listservs
overseen by H-Net at Michigan State University.
The meeting was
adjourned shortly after 3 p.m.
Minutes prepared by
Catherine Gunther Kodat, former Secretary-Treasurer
Events, Deadlines, and Notification Dates
January 1: Calendar
year membership dues
January 15: Deadline
for submission to WFS of proposals for American Literature Association
March 1: Deadline for
submission to WFS of proposals for Modern Language Association sessions
March 15: Deadline
for Hunt/Faulkner Journal nominations for scholarships to Faulkner &
Notification of Hunt scholars
Early April: Spring
April 1: MLA deadline
for program copy for affiliate organizations
April 7: MLA deadline
for panel participants to join MLA
May 24-27: ALA
Conference (2 panels, scheduled business meeting)
July 27-30: Faulkner
& Yoknapatawpha Conference
October: Calls for
Papers posted U Penn website, ALA website
December 27-30: MLA
Conference (2 sessions, non-program business meeting)