CALL FOR PAPERS – Thoreau at the ALA

The Thoreau Society will sponsor two panels at the 2012 American Literature Association meeting in San Francisco (May 24-27, 2012). 

Please send queries or proposals to Kristen Case (

Deadline: January 1st, 2012

Panel I: Interdisciplinary Thoreau

Recent scholarship in the fields of Environmental Science, Cartographic History, Political Science and Science Studies, to name only a few, have demonstrated that any adequate approach to Thoreau must take into account both the broad impact of his writings and their profound resistance to the hard-and-fast disciplinary boundaries, newly emerging in Thoreau’s day, that are so thoroughly enshrined in our own. For this roundtable discussion, we solicit papers that respond to the questions: how do Thoreau’s contributions to your discipline unsettle the assumptions of the discipline itself? How do interdisciplinary studies of Thoreau challenge established ways of understanding his life and work?  Can we, as twenty-first century scholars with necessarily discipline-bound perspectives, make sense of Thoreau? 

Panel II: Feminist Thoreau? 

Thoreau’s central position within the pantheon of white male New England writers, a reputation solidified by F.O. Matthiessen’s influential American Renaissance, has made him a problematic figure for feminist scholars. Indeed, Walden would seem, at least on the surface, to champion the historically “masculine” values of self-sufficiency and rugged individualism. In the light of the critique of canonical American literature launched by Nina Baym and others, are feminist readings of Thoreau’s work possible? How are contemporary feminist scholars engaging Thoreau?

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