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The Toni Morrison Society invites submission of discussion topics and paper presentations to our 2018 Roundtable Discussion and Panel at the American Literature Association Annual Conference.

Please send presentation or panel topic abstracts for consideration not later than 5:00pm on Wednesday, January 10th, 2018.

Abstracts should be sent via email to Furaha Norton, Vice President of the Toni Morrison Society, at furahanorton@gmail.com.

Roundtable Discussion: Toni Morrison: The Work of a Public Intellectual and the Work of Public History

With the 2017 publication of The Origin of Others Toni Morrison once again powerfully and inimitably intervenes in a crucial debate of our time. This roundtable discussion invites presentations which consider Morrison’s articulation of the metaphorical, romantic, utilitarian, and political configurations and uses of race and otherness in her latest nonfiction as well as earlier works such as Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination. The roundtable also invites consideration of how identities intersect with spatiality and geography in a diasporic context, as well as consideration of how Morrison’s work has crossed the boundaries of the literary world to directly influence public history, space, and urgent and timely questions of public monuments and collective historical memory.

A note about the roundtable format: The Roundtable Discussion will ideally have more than 4 participants. Roundtable presentations are normally eight (8) minutes or less in length.

Panel: Articulating Otherness: Morrison, Baldwin, Coates

This panel welcomes paper presentations that consider Toni Morrison’s work in comparative context and intergenerational dialogue with the work of Ta-Nehisi Coates and James Baldwin, writers who, like Morrison, have responded to “the indelible nature of white racism” (Coates) with stunning vision and uncompromising moral clarity. Questions addressed might include, but are of course not limited to, how a consideration of these writers’ unique styles and rhetorical methods reveal similarities and differences in their characterizations of American culture and history; and the ways in which gender and sexuality implicitly or explicitly inform each writer’s articulation of otherness.