Procedures for Individual Proposals

American Literature Association 25th  Annual Conference

May 22-25, 2014


ConferenceDetails: For the 2014 conference, the ALA will again rely on electronic submission of program information and conference proposals. As usual, the societies that make up the American Literature Association will organize much of the program. Individual societies will issue their own calls for papers, which may be listed on the ALA website as well as on the societies’ own website  and  publications. Guidelines for author societies are detailed towards the end of this notice.

Individuals may also propose papers or panels to the conference director by January 30, 2014. Preference will be given to papers and panels that represent authors, genres, or topics that are not covered by the societies that make up the ALA.  Proposals must follow the guidelines described at the end of this notice.

ALA Guidelines: The most common ALA format is a time slot of one hour and twenty minutes with three papers and a chair.  This permits some time for discussion and three papers of approximately 20 minutes (or ten typed double-spaced pages). Organizers of panels are free to use other formats provided they respect the time limits.  Please note that the normal reading time for a paper is two minutes per double- spaced page (or 20 minutes for a 10-page paper). Furthermore, the ALA encourages panel organizers to experiment with innovative formats including discussion groups and panels featuring more speakers and briefer papers. Chairs will make sure that the panels start and end on time and that no speaker goes beyond the allotted time limit.  Chairs may NOT present papers on the panels that they are moderating, and no one may present more than one paper at the ALA conference. Individuals may, however, present a paper on one panel, and chair other panels, and/or also present on roundtable discussions.

Proceduresfor Individual Proposals:  Individuals may propose either a paper or a panel or round table to the conference director no earlier than December 1, 2013 and no later than the deadline of January 30, 2014.  The conference director will give preference to papers and panels on authors, texts, and topics not covered by the member societies of the ALA.  Those proposing a paper or panel on a topic represented by an author society should consult with the relevant society before submitting the proposal to the ALA.  All proposals must be by email and should be both pasted in and included as attachments (preferably in WORD).

For an Individual Paper:  In the subject line of the email, please put ALA 2014 Proposal: and then a brief title of between one and five words.  That will enable the conference director to file emails efficiently.

Please provide a clear and useful title for your paper and then an abstract describing the paper (usually between 250-600 words) and then a brief discussion of your status (i.e., an Associate Professor who has published a book and several articles on this topic/author; a graduate student who is offering part of his/her dissertation, etc.) or a two-page vita if that is easier.  It is important that your abstract enable the conference director and his advisory committee to evaluate the nature of your work.  You must also indicate whether you need any audio-visual equipment to present your work. Please provide a phone number (which will only be used if email fails to work for some reason).

In choosing papers, the conference director may need to emphasize the ways in which individual papers contribute to the formation of logical and coherent panels.

For a panel:  Please follow the sample below so the conference director can paste in the panels and round tables that are accepted.

In the subject line of the email, please put ALA 2014 Proposal: and then a brief title of between one and five words. In your proposal, which you should both paste into the email and provide as an attachment (preferably in Word), begin with the information in the sample below.

After providing the panel information in a form that can be pasted directly into the program, please provide a clear description of the panel and its goals, the titles of individual papers, appropriate abstracts for the papers, and a brief description of the participants and their relevant work.  It is crucial that you note any audio-visual needs in your proposal. Finally, please provide your phone number (which will only be used if email fails to work for some reason.)

Please consult the following Sample:

The Sublime in the American Gothic Tradition

Organizer and Chair: Joseph Goodscholar, University of Great Hopes

  1. “Irony and Angst in the Gothic Novels of the Early Republic,” Noah Problem, College ofNotre Doubt
  2. “The Beautiful Garden in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter,”  Raphael Hythloday, University of East London
  3. “Beyond the Castle: Gothic Transformations in the Humor of American Realism,” Uriah Heap, Independent Scholar

Audio-Visual Equipment required: None

OR: if the organizer is not the chair of the session, then write Organized by: Name of Individual organizer

And then Chair: Name

Please remember that individuals may NOT chair panels on which they present papers.

Please note that the sample above has no formatting (no bold, no CAPS). Please note that the presentations are listed with numbers and then five spaces then the information.  They are NOT INDENTED as some word processing panels will do automatically unless you turn off auto-format. Book titles are italicized. Commas are used to separate the title and presenter and affiliation and there is no period at the end of each listing.  If the conference organizer can cut and paste, then everything goes quickly.

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