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University of Mississippi Slavery Research Group
The University of Mississippi

Faulkner and Slavery Conference to Take Place in July 2018

Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha
July 22-26, 2018

Announcement and Call For Papers

During his apprenticeship and early years as a published writer, William Faulkner evinced little serious interest in the issue of slavery or in the lives of the enslaved: their experiences, words, deeds, interiority, personal relationships, or historical legacies. This is perhaps surprising, given the fact of slaveholding, and the likelihood of sexual liaisons between enslavers and the enslaved, in Faulkner’s family history. After 1930, however, the year he moved his family into an antebellum mansion built by a slaveholding Mississippi planter, Faulkner turned repeatedly to the subject of slavery over the next two decades or so of his writing career.

The 45th annual Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference will take up as its guiding concern the question, “What did slavery mean in the life, ancestry, environment, imagination, and career of William Faulkner?” Facets of this question worth exploring may include but are no means limited to:

—histories of slavery in/and the Falkner and/or Butler families of Mississippi
—Mississippi slavery and the history of the Robert Sheegog home in Oxford (later Rowan Oak)—other histories of slavery in Oxford, Lafayette County, and north Mississippi, or at the University of Mississippi, as contexts for Faulkner’s writings or as depicted in his work
—the figure of the enslaved in Faulkner’s writings: man, woman, child, the elderly, field laborer, domestic laborer, sexual property, fugitive, “saltwater slave” (first-generation African); the intersectionality of slave identities; etc.
—the “world the slaves made” in Faulkner’s work: psychology, spirituality, expressivity and expression, affect, sexuality, kinship arrangements and family life, aesthetics and cultural practices, gender roles, childhood, economic activity, forms of resistance to enslavement—Faulkner’s accounts of the master-slave relationship
—the figure of the enslaver in Faulkner: men, women, the elderly, children from the slaveholding class; small holders versus large ones; patterns of settlement or migration; etc.
—institutions of slavery: representations or historical legacies of the Atlantic slave trade, the Middle Passage, the slave market, the slave plantation, plaçage, the whip (or other institutions of slave discipline/punishment), etc.
—the political economy of slavery in Faulkner
—Faulkner’s fiction in/against the history of slavery as traced by Lawrence Levine, Eugene Genovese, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Orlando Patterson, David Brion Davis, Edmund Morgan, Walter Johnson, C. L. R. James, Eric Williams, Paul Gilroy, or other leading scholars of the subject
—comparative histories or geographies of slavery in Faulkner
—Faulkner’s relationship to slave narrative or other genres from the literary history of New World slavery
—comparative analyses of slavery/the enslaved in Faulkner and other writers or artists: southern, American, hemispheric, global, twentieth-century, “modernist,” etc.
—cultural legacies of slavery in Faulkner’s fictions of postslavery
—the racial politics of white-authored representations of African American enslavement

The program committee especially encourages full panel proposals for 75-minute conference sessions. Such proposals should include a one-page overview of the session topic or theme, followed by two-page abstracts for each of the panel papers to be included. We also welcome individually submitted 1-2-page abstracts for 15-20-minute panel papers. Panel papers consist of approximately 2,500 words and will be considered by the conference program committee for possible expansion and inclusion in the conference volume published by the University Press of Mississippi.

Session proposals and panel paper abstracts must be submitted by January 31, 2018, preferably through e-mail attachment. All manuscripts, proposals, abstracts, and inquiries should be addressed to Jay Watson, Department of English, The University of Mississippi, P.O. Box 1848, University, MS 38677-1848. E-mail: Decisions for all submissions will be made by March 15, 2018.