Member Services

Call for Papers Archive

The recently revved-up interest in genre and forms has given modernist studies some very exciting work over the last decade. Genre study has tilted more towards historical approaches than theoretical ones, focusing less on what genre is than on what it does. This is like the approach to the queer, another concept that sounds classificatory, but is more valuable in its affect, its phenomenology, its off-kilter temporality. In his 2003 essay “The Genre of Postcoloniality” Peter Hitchcock posits that the “generic distinction [of postcoloniality] is to question genre ... as a means to dissolve the very classifications and divisions that have produced it” (NLH 32.2, 327). This might prompt us to ask about genre’s relation to queerness, which likewise categorically resists, well, categorization, fixity. Writers and readers who would not seek a definition of genre or queerness can nonetheless feel bound or guided by them. This panel will explore—as broadly as we dare, or as specifically as we like—what queerness has to do with genre’s function, whether we consider subgenres (“gothic fiction,” “cli-fi dystopia”) or older examples—tragedy, epic, lyric. There are many questions we might pursue, and the following are intended only as some possible points of departure:

-If genre fails as a classificatory system, what kind of epistemological power does it offer?
-When we queer a text, do we make a generic claim? An anti-generic one?
-Can we find queer iterations or versions of genres by looking differently at certain recognizable motifs, tropes, allusions?
-To what degree does a generic text address a reader whose practice will primarily be recognition—placing the work alongside its forbears?
-How does the expansiveness of modernist studies in encompassing new genres also bring new queer work into view?
-When we seek out a set of conventions and tropes in a text, what else are we looking for?
-How do generic markers orient readers to a text, characters to one another, and how does the representation of orientation (turning toward, turning away from) in the work inflect its genre, its relation to other texts of its kind?
-What kinds of queer pleasure can we attach to a genre as opposed to an individual text? How does a text’s generic identity change the pleasure it offers?
-What forms of queer literary kinship does genre hinder or make possible?
-How are genres gendered, and how do social and literary conventions relate to each other?
-Does queer genre involve its failure? Some kind of twisting around desires we attach to conventions?
-How do genres and subgenres affect the circulation and visibility of queer and queer of color intellectual work?
-How does genre inflect the contract between implied author and the queer reader? What does it mean to queer a generic convention?

Send a 500-word abstract and a brief bio to Lauryl Tucker ( by March 25. (Get in touch even if you have an idea that might be a stretch. If the best submissions skew in a new but related direction, the panel will shift its shape.)

Conference Location: Brooklyn, U.S.
Conference Starts: October 22, 2020
Conference Ends: October 25, 2020

CFP Submission Deadline: March 25, 2020

For more information, contact: Lauryl Tucker