The Doris Lessing Society’s calls for papers for the 2019 MLA Convention in Chicago are now posted! We are looking for contributors to two sessions.
The first is “Celebrating Doris Lessing’s Centennial” — our first recognition of the upcoming year as the 100th anniversary of Lessing’s birth! Submission deadline and contact details are here.
The second is “Doris Lessing and Other Writers: Doris’s Daughters,” where we hope to evaluate Lessing’s impact on literature since 1950 by considering her relation to those writers she promoted, overtly influenced, or otherwise assisted, such as Margaret Drabble, Jenny Diski, Anna Kavan, Brian Aldiss, Clancy Sigal, Idries Shah, and others. Submission deadline and contact details are here.
Looking forward to your proposals — feel free to contact the Society with any questions.
Full details for the Doris Lessing Society’s panel session and annual general meeting at the 2018 MLA Convention in New York City are now posted on this site’s current MLA page. We hope you will join us for either or both events!
Now posted: the Doris Lessing Society’s calls for papers for the 2018 MLA Annual Convention in New York City!
The topic of the Society’s guaranteed session is “Alternative Domesticities in the Works of Doris Lessing.” Following Jenny Diski’s 2016 memoir, In Gratitude, we invite new readings of Lessing’s portrayals of non-biological families, non-normative modes of affiliation and dependence, and unconventional households and genealogies. Deadline and contact details can be viewed here.
The topic of the special session the Society will propose is “Doris Lessing and Planetary Insecurity.” We seek accounts of Lessing’s early and long engagement with the present, global state of crisis and of her insistence on the role of literature, particularly fiction, in apprehending it. The MLA President’s theme for next year’s convention is “#States of Insecurity”: where mankind’s history of “events as varied as war, plague, famine, conquest, and enslavement” have led to today’s climate of “political volatility, fluctuating financial markets, fear-mongering media, and increasingly hateful acts and rhetoric that contribute to a general sense of malaise.” In what ways does Lessing’s prophetic and pioneering work offer a space for “critical and historical reflection, inquiry, and intervention” on these dire and urgent conditions? Deadline and contact details can be viewed here.
The Doris Lessing Society has posted its calls for papers for the 2017 MLA Convention in Philadelphia!
The topic of the Society’s guaranteed session is “Teaching Doris Lessing in the Twenty-First Century.” Given the changes in post-secondary education since Lessing’s canonization in the US academy with novels like The Golden Notebook, what do we teach when we teach Doris Lessing now, and how (and to whom) do we teach? This session may run in the roundtable format (briefer presentations, more discussion), depending on the number of qualified submissions. Deadline and contact details can be viewed here.
The topic of the special session the Society will propose is “Twentieth-Century Women Writers and the Formalist Turn.” This panel proposes to ask, how will the “formalist turn” in literary studies affect or shape the interpretation of, and new scholarly work on, twentieth-century women writers? Has it already? The “formalist turn” is a topic alluded to often in recent discussions of the state of the field, with the sense that a shift is occurring, taking literary study away from the historicist and contextualist styles of interpretation that have been dominant for the past several decades. The status of this turn, and whether it’s anything new, are naturally in question. Still, at this juncture it seems worth thinking about how such a turn might transform or shape the study of women writers in particular, in light of how notions of form and formalism have typically been gendered. Doris Lessing’s work, for example, is often criticized for a supposed lack of attention to formal concerns; this then is an occasion to wonder how she, like other women writers, will fare as (or if) the canon of modern writing is reshaped along formalist trajectories. Deadline and contact details can be viewed here.
The topic of a collaborative session the Society will propose with the Margaret Atwood Society is “Boundaries of Life: Ageism and Aging in Works by Margaret Atwood and Doris Lessing.” This session is inspired by the MLA’s 2017 Presidential Theme, “Boundary Conditions.” By focusing on ageism and aging in the works of Atwood and Lessing, two of the twentieth century’s most prolific and influential women writers, this panel aims to explore the ways these writers depict the passing of time in relation to life experiences and self-consciousness. Some questions papers might answer include: What does it mean to come of age? How do age and the aging process affect how we see ourselves? When and how does one become old? How does age discrimination shape societies and individuals? In addition to examining individual works, papers may also look at the authors’ careers more broadly and discuss how their treatment of aging as a theme has changed as they themselves aged. Deadline and contact details can be viewed here.