Special Events in the Areas

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

Saturday, March 7, 2020, 6:30 PM

Marriott Copley Place, Arlington

Emilio Sauri. 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 Portuguese Studies Area.

Joseph Valente, University at Buffalo, "This Disability Which Is Not One: Autistic Intermittency and 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time'"

Anglophone, British, and Diversity Special Event

Saturday, March 7, 2020, 6:30 PM

Marriott Copley Place, Simmons

Joseph Valente. Copyright: Douglas Levere.

Copyright: Douglas Levere

For both the general reader and the professional reader, the autism-based novel has emerged as a form of genre or formula fiction, whose characterization and corresponding narrative predicaments are bound by the stereotypical core deficits/differences enshrined on the autistic spectrum. The interpretive assumptions honed by such formula or genre fiction make it exceedingly difficult to appreciate less conventional, more ambitious, or “literary” portraits of the autist, especially the rare text that might seek to delineate the dialectical interplay of type and heterogeneity informing autism most comprehensively. This state of affairs, I would argue, explains how the radical implications of Mark Haddon’s narrative design in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time has escaped notice for the last 15 years, allowing the novel to continue as the archetypal, authoritative, and most successful mass market representation of an autistic subject in history—as opposed to what it really is—the most authentic because decentered portrait of autism ever to win widespread appeal. To put it another way, it explains how Haddon’s novel has been universally misread as confirming, rather than critiquing what I call “autypicality,” the conventional lineaments of autism. By attending to the literary form of the novel, rather than focusing solely on its use of the received markers of autism, this talk will demonstrate how the novel’s strategy for respecting the profound complexity of the autistic condition, properly understood, might augur a less reductive canon of autistic fiction.

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

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

Related Special Session with Professor Valente

The Impact and Persistence of Degeneration:
Victorian Race, Entropy, and Modernist Disability

Sunday, March 8, 10:45 AM
Marriott Copley Place, Simmons

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

Creative Writing, Publishing, and Editing Special Event

Saturday, March 7, 2020, 6:30 PM

Marriott Copley Place, Regis

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. 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.

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. She is also NeMLA’s official interviewer for our new Humanities on the Road initiative.

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

Saturday, March 7, 2020, 6:30 PM

Marriott Copley Place, MIT Room

Patrick Autréaux. Copyright: Catherine Hélie / Gallimard.

Copyright: Catherine Hélie / Gallimard

Patrick Autréaux has used his artistic (and personal) journey to transcend the boundaries of disciplines. His talk offers a look back at what fascinated him as a psychiatric practitioner and a writer: exploring psychological limits that trouble us to the point of interfering with the approximate identities (and genders) that we abhor. He will point 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 impregnates itself by becoming foreign to itself. Yet, for Autréaux, 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. 

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 undocumented immigration 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 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 Studies Area.

Renate Ludanyi, Western Connecticut University, "German as a Heritage Language in the USA"

German Special Event

Saturday, March 7, 2020, 6:30 PM

Marriott Copley Place, Suffolk

Renate Ludanyi.

Considerable body of research in both linguistic theory and language pedagogy has been developed for a number of heritage languages in the United States. Historically, German as a heritage language has been receiving less attention, although the gap is slowly being filled. This special event talk presents the current status of German as a heritage language in the United States and elsewhere internationally. Dr. Ludanyi will discuss the particularities of heritage languages from historical, linguistical, and pedagogical perspectives and articulate the differences in expectations and approaches to teaching a heritage and a foreign language. As part of her talk, Dr. Ludanyi will present the community-based schools in the United States where German is taught both as a heritage and a foreign language. She will discuss both challenges and progress being made in teaching German as a heritage language and culture in the United States.

Renate Ludanyi is co-founder and president of the German Language School Conference, the umbrella organization of private German-language schools in the United States. She is also co-founder and former president of the German Language School of Connecticut. She currently teaches at Western Connecticut State University, where she is the Director of the German Studies Center. She is a core member of the Heritage Language Coalition. Dr. Ludanyi introduced, to the United States, the German Language Certificate of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs. She has published and lectured nationally and internationally on the issues of German as a heritage language in the United States, as well as on the role and the structure of community-based language schools. Dr. Ludanyi is a recipient of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

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

Saturday, March 7, 2020, 6:30 PM

Marriott Copley Place, Wellesley

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, the 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 to 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"

Friday, March 6, 2020, 4:45 PM

Marriott Copley Place, Regis

Women's & Gender Studies Special Event

Marjorie Howes.

This talk examines how the study of 20th-century Irish women writers re-shapes our understanding of the categories through which scholars have traditionally written the history of Irish literature during that century. Professor Howes will explore how writers such as Elizabeth Bowen, Mary Lavin, and Kate O'Brien force us to revise terms such as the Irish Literary Revival, the Counter-Revival, modernism, realism, and naturalism.

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.

Melanie Holm, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, "Under Pressure: How to Successfully Publish Under Less Than Ideal Circumstances"

Pedagogy and Professional, CAITY, and Graduate Student Caucus Special Workshop

Saturday, March 7, 2020, 11:45 AM

Marriott Copley Place, Regis

Melanie Holm.

In order to advance professionally, graduate students, early-career scholars, and NTT-faculty are required to publish earlier, faster, and more than ever before while facing increasing teaching and service responsibilities. This interactive workshop will focus on how to succeed in academic writing and publishing under less than ideal circumstances, including strategies for breaking large writing projects into more manageable tasks; integrating teaching and research to maximize scholarly output; targeting and tailoring publications for specific audiences; and identifying the habits and tendencies that can slow your progress and keep you from the path to successful, timely, and efficient publication.

Melanie Holm is Associate Professor of English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She is currently working on a book titled The Skeptical Imagination: Gender, Genre, and Sociability in 18th-century Fiction, which explores the influence of skepticism on feminist writings on sociability and the practice of satiric fiction in the long 18th century. Her co-edited book Mocking Bird Technologies: Essays on the Comparative and Global Poetics of Bird Mimicry (with Chris GoGwilt) was published by Fordham University Press in 2017.

This workshop is sponsored by the Pedagogy and Professionalism Areathe CAITY Caucus, and the Graduate Student Caucus.

Saturday Evening Networking Events

Following Saturday Evening’s Special Events

Marriott Copley Place, 3rd Floor Atrium

All are welcome at the reception following our special events. Meet and share ideas. Talk about your NeMLA experiences with the people who put this conference together, as the board members and staff will be in attendance. And of course, meet our Area Special Event speakers in person after their talks to share a conversation. Featuring live music by “Sidekick” with Sarah Duncan, University of Massachusetts Boston, and Rachel Ravina, Boston University.