Area Special Events

These events include critically and creatively renowned speakers and are organized by the various areas of inquiry and caucuses represented by the organization.

Emilio Sauri, University of Massachusetts Boston, "Document or Represent? Literature and Art at the Limits of the Present"

American, Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies & Media Studies, and Spanish & Portuguese Special Event

Photographer: An LeFevre.

Photographer: An LeFevre

This talk considers three tendencies that have come to define literary and cultural criticism during the last three decades: the emphasis on documentation over representation; the prominence given to the concrete against abstraction; and the predilection for the spontaneous over the deliberate or programmatic. Reading recent fiction and photography from Latin America and the United States together, this talk demonstrates how a renewed attentiveness to the question of art on the part of contemporary writers and artists not only underscores the limits—both critical and political—of these tendencies but also offers a means to think beyond them.

Emilio Sauri is Associate Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. His research focuses on literature and visual art from Latin America and the United States, and reads these in relation to the development of the global economy from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 21st century.

This event is organized by the American Studies Area, the Cultural Studies and Media Studies Area, the Comparative Literature Area, and the Spanish and Portuguesue Language and Literature Area.

Joseph Valente, University at Buffalo, "Against Type: The Emergence of an Autistic Literature"

Anglophone, British, and Diversity Special Event

Copyright: Douglas Levere.

Copyright: Douglas Levere

Joseph Valente is Distinguished Professor in English and Disability Studies at the University at Buffalo. He is the author of James Joyce and the Problem of Justice: Negotiating Sexual and Colonial Difference, Dracula’s Crypt: Bram Stoker, Irishness and the Question of Blood, and The Myth of Manliness in Irish National Culture, 1880-1922 and co-author of The Child Sex Scandal and Modern Irish Literature: Writing the Unspeakable, forthcoming from Indiana University Press. He is also the editor of several volumes, including Quare Joyce, Urban Ireland, Disciplinarity at the Fin de Siecle (with Amanda Anderson), Ireland in Psychoanalysis (with Sean Kennedy), and Yeats and Afterwords (with Marjorie Howes). In addition, he has published more than 60 essays in Irish and Disability Studies, and his work has appeared in Critical Inquiry, Diacritics, Novel, ELH, Modern Fiction Studies, Narrative, The Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability, The Journal of Modern Literature, The James Joyce Quarterly, and The Journal of Religious and Critical Theory. His current monograph, Against Type: The Emergence of an Autistic Literature, looks at the formation as a new autistic canon modern narrative art.

This event is organized by the Anglophone/British Literature Area and the Diversity Committee.

Choke Box: A Fem-Noir: A Fiction Reading with Christina Milletti, University at Buffalo

Creative Writing, Publishing, and Editing Special Event

Christina Milletti.

When Edward Tamlin disappears while writing his memoir, Jane Tamlin (his wife and the mother of his young children) begins to write a secret, corrective "counter-memoir" of her own. Calling the book Choke Box, she reveals intimate, often irreverent, details about her family and marriage, rejecting—and occasionally celebrating—her suspected role in her husband’s disappearance.

Choke Box isn’t Jane’s first book. From her room in the Buffalo Psychiatric Institute, she slowly reveals a hidden history of the ghost authorship that has sabotaged her family and driven her to madness. Her latest work, finally written under her own name, is designed to reclaim her dark and troubled story. Yet even as Jane portrays her life as a wife, mother, and slighted artist with sardonic candor, her every word is underscored by one belief above all others: the complete truth is always a secret. But the stories we tell may help us survive—if they don’t kill us first.

Christina Milletti's novel Choke Box: A Fem-Noir won the Juniper Prize for Fiction and was released by University of Massachusetts Press in March 2019. Her fiction, articles, and reviews have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Best New American Voices, The Iowa Review, The Master's Review, Denver Quarterly, The Cincinnati Review, Studies in the Novel, Zeta, The Brooklyn Rail, American Letters & Commentary, and The Buffalo News. Her first book, The Religious & Other Fictions, a collection of stories, was published by Carnegie Mellon University Press, and she has recently completed a new collection, Now You See Her, with the help of a residency at the Marble House Project. She is Associate Professor of English at the University at Buffalo, where she is Executive Director of the Humanities Institute and co-curates the Exhibit X Fiction Series.

This event is organized by the Creative Writing, Publishing, and Editing Area, with support by Modern Language Studies, the peer-review journal of NeMLA.

The Annual Creative Writers and Editors' Reception will precede the presentation.

Patrick Autréaux, Boston University, "The Dark Room: La Chambre noire"

French & Francophone Special Event

Copyright: Catherine Hélie / Gallimard.

Copyright: Catherine Hélie / Gallimard

My artistic (and personal) journey has been used to jump over the boundaries of disciplines. I offer a look back at what fascinated me as a psychiatric practitioner and a writer: exploring psychological limits that trouble us to the point of interfering with this approximate identity (and gender) that we abhor. I will try to allude to this intruder - trauma - that is in us and is us, as Jean-Luc Nancy writes it, this intruder that is a driving force, a goal and a space: a type of matrix or dark room that fecundates/impregnates itself by becoming foreign to itself. Yet, it is this fecund matrix that perhaps creates a voice, what others may call a style, that is to say a language transformed by a body: a written voice. 

Patrick Autréaux was born in France and is now a permanent United States resident. While studying medicine and cultural anthropology, Patrick Autréaux published poetry and reviews of contemporary art. In 2006, after practicing for 15 years as an emergency-room psychiatrist, he decided to devote himself entirely to writing. The view of illness as an inner experience informs his first cycle of writing, ending with Se survivre (Verdier). He is the author of the novels Dans la vallée des larmes, Soigner, and Le Dedans des choses, all published by Gallimard. He also published in 2015 Les Irréguliers (Gallimard), a novel on illegal immigrant in France. His "standing poem" Le Grand Vivant (Verdier) was produced at the Festival d’Avignon ("in") 2015. In 2017, he published La Voix écrite (Verdier), a creative non-fiction essay on a vocation between literature and medicine; and in 2019, his novel Quand la parole attend la nuit (Verdier). He was writer-in-residence at Boston University in 2018-2019, where he has created the seminar: "Through a writer’s eye," and Visiting Scholar at MIT in Spring 2018. He received the Hemingway grant from the Minister of Foreign Affairs (France) for his first novel translated in English, In the Valley of Tears (UIT Books, NYC, 2019).

This talk will be given in French.

This event is organized by the French and Francophone Language and Literature Area.

Renate Ludanyi, Western Connecticut University

German Special Event

Renate Ludanyi is president of the German Language School Conference, where she works with government agencies to develop German schools abroad. Born in Silesia, Germany, Renate Ludanyi sees language as a connection to heritage and home. In 1978, driven by a decrease in German instruction in Connecticut, Dr. Ludanyi, along with concerned parents and colleagues, created the German School of Connecticut to strengthen cultural ties in the state’s German-speaking community. The American Association of Teachers of German has awarded the GSC with the prestigious designation of German Center of Excellence and awarded Dr. Ludanyi with the coveted Friend of German Award. She is also a core member of the Washington-based National Coalition of Community-Based Language Schools and faculty at Western Connecticut State University. Her research includes heritage language education, demographic data of students, and teaching practices in German language schools. She has co-developed a manual and teaching material for young children in American German heritage schools.

This event is organized by the German Studies Area.

Millicent Marcus, Yale University, "From the Mirror of Narcissus to Mirror Neurons: What Cognitive Science Has to Teach Us about Films (Italian Ones in Particular)"

Italian Special Event

Millicent Marcus.

This presentation was inspired by recent findings in neuro-aesthetics—the study of the impact of the arts on the nervous system. Cinema has been found to have a particularly strong effect on the part of the brain housing mirror neurons, origin of such psychic processes as identification and empathy. Using clips from Gomorra and Io non ho paura, this presentation will analyze how the cinematic medium creates us as "embodied spectators" whose responses, at the level of neurology, can propel us the highest reaches of understanding and compassion for the plight of the "other."

Millicent Marcus is Professor of Italian at Yale University. Her specializations include medieval literature, Italian cinema, interrelationships between literature and film, and representations of the Holocaust in post-war Italian culture. She is the author of An Allegory of Form: Literary Self-Consciousness in the 'Decameron, Italian Film in the Light of NeorealismFilmmaking by the Book: Italian Cinema and Literary AdaptationAfter Fellini: National Cinema in the Postmodern Age, and Italian Film in the Shadow of Auschwitz. Her current research projects include case studies in contemporary Italian cinema, and the argument for a neuro-aesthetic approach to the analysis of film.

This event is organized by the Italian Studies Area.

Marjorie Howes, Boston College, "Irish Women Writers and Literary History"

Women's & Gender Studies Special Event

Marjorie Howes.

Marjorie Howes is the author of Yeats's Nations: Gender, Class, and Irishness and Colonial Crossings: Figures in Irish Literary History and the co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to W. B. Yeats, Semicolonial Joyce, and Yeats and Afterwords, and a contributor to The Field Day Anthology of Irish Women's Writing. She is also one of two series editors (with Claire Connolly) of the 6-volume series Irish Literature in Transition, which is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press in 2020. She teaches at Boston College.

This event is organized by the Women's and Gender Studies Caucus.

Saturday Evening Networking Events

All are welcome, especially early career scholars. NeMLA’s board members, administration, and staff visits all networking events, so you meet and share your NeMLA experiences with the people who put this conference together. And of course, meet our Area Special Event speakers in person after their talks to share a conversation.