Important: Read this First

We invite all those who would like to organize panels, roundtables, and seminars for the upcoming ALA conference to post their call for papers on this page. To create a post, click here.

If you would like to submit your paper for consideration for one of the sessions listed below, please contact the session organizer directly, using the email address provided in the CFP. DO NOT CONTACT THE ALA ABOUT SESSION CFPs.

After selecting papers, organizers must submit their complete panel, roundtable, or seminar proposal for consideration here.

The ALA does not endorse any CFP and bears no responsibility for monitoring the content of CFPs.

Please note that, if you are included in an accepted session, and wish to participate in the conference, you will be required to complete conference registration and to be a paid-up ALA member. Join or renew your membership here.


  • Teaching African Literature in the American Classroom

    Session type: Panel

    Organized by: Ernest Cole

    Send abstracts or inquiries to: colee@hope.edu

    Given the significance of encounter with cultures in African literature, instructors typically require (American) students to critically engage, explore, and interpret the cultural contexts of African literature, its subtexts, areas of contestation, and relation to identity.
    This “sociological approach,” in tandem with close reading, engages the question of why culture matters in the conceptualization and delivery of instructional materials in African literature.
    This panel seeks abstracts that seek to address another crucial question: why the negative assumptions or stereotypes of African culture persists in the American worldview, and what it means for students to internalize that perspective and use it as lens to encounter difference and otherness, and to craft meaningful reader responses to texts they are reading. Papers that strive particularly to explore the ideologies and structures that engender interpretive activities that raise complex questions of identity, if not “Africanness,” in my literature classes are encouraged.
    Further, papers that explore essentialism and its deconstruction, as a way of understanding stereotypes and its limitations in cultural criticism, engage stereotypes without being apologetic or defensive, and posit critical approaches, pedagogical strategies, and theoretical frameworks that teachers of African literatures can adopt to create nuanced socio-cultural perspectives and its place in the praxis of criticism are strongly solicited.
    Please send a maximum of 2-page abstract to Ernest Cole at colee@hope.edu including name of participant, university/college affiliation, topic, title of paper, and description of key ideas in paper. Papers received before 28 February 2018 will be given full consideration.

  • Aminatta Forna’s Happiness

    Session type: Panel

    Organized by: Ernest Cole

    Send abstracts or inquiries to: colee@hope.edu

    Aminatta Forna’s Happiness is an epic novel. Ranging from psychiatry to wildlife biology, pop culture to trauma studies, ecological literature to psychology, the novel depicts human life as defined by and in coexistence with animals, nature and the environment, violence and traumatic memory, migration, love, and death.
    A predominant theme in the novel is trauma and the suffering that constitutes traumatic memory. However, the novel posits a new construct of post-traumatic stress disorder that makes a distinction between symptoms and emotions, and argues for a paradox in which agency and joy can be reclaimed from traumatic memory.
    Exploring the paradigm that trauma is not damage, and that suffering is integral to human experience, this panel solicits proposals on Happiness that engage the interconnections between violence and trauma, human and animal coexistence, the challenges and opportunities confronting the African diaspora, and nature and the environment.
    Please send abstracts of proposals to Ernest Cole, PhD, at colee@hope.edu no later than 31 March, 2018.

  • Lusophone/Hispanophone Caucus (LHCALA) Panels

    Session type: Panel

    Organized by: Joanna Boampong

    Send abstracts or inquiries to: jboampong@ug.edu.gh

    In line with the theme proposed for the 44th annual meeting of the African Literature Association in 2018, “The Environments of African Literature”, the Lusophone/Hispanophone Caucus (LHCALA) invites submissions for roundtables, paper or poster presentations that engage Lusophone and/or Hispanophone perspectives. We seek submissions that consider ways by which multiple environments as cited in the general ALA call—physical, institutional, ideological, symbolic, discursive, cultural, and technological (among others)—feature in and affect the production, dissemination and reception of Lusophone and Hispanophone literature (comprising various expressions of creative endeavor including essays, film, music, narrative, poetry, digital material, and visual texts). While addressing ways in which Lusophone and Hispanophone literary texts reflect on these environments, the challenges and promises they present, submissions may also consider equally relevant related issues. In what ways has the environment determined the course of Hispanophone and Lusophone literature to date? What aspects of the current “environment” of Lusophone and Hispanophone literature need to be rethought and what interventions are called for?
    Proposals are to be sent to jboampong@ug.edu.gh/hughesa@ohio.edu by February 10, 2018 and should comprise the following:
    • Name,
    • Institutional Affiliation,
    • Email address,
    • Short bio,
    • An abstract of up to 250 words,
    • Request for A/V equipment if needed

  • Challenging the Visual, Taming the Gaze: African film in the Classroom Environment

    Session type: Panel

    Organized by: P. Julie Papaioannou

    Send abstracts or inquiries to: julie.papaioannou@rochester.edu

    African films have become an essential part of classroom experience. Viewed as carriers of cultural meaning, African films enhance the understanding of cultural difference with visual representation and artistic expression to dispel the notion of an exotic continent in perpetual conflict, disease, and poverty that has long been maintained by Western media. However, the realistic representation of African culture in film has long raised the question as to expectations about the cinematic representation of African life, and expression. In recent years, African filmmaking has also been negotiating artistic trends in the geo-economic sphere of globalized and mediatized world. This panel seeks to investigate the pedagogical, analytical, and critical interventions that assist the scholar to navigate and negotiate the mediacy of the cinematic lens and the immediacy of cultural difference vis-à-vis the student-viewer. How do current theoretical trends in African filmmaking affect our critical understanding and discussion of African films in a diverse classroom? What are the pedagogical and interdisciplinary approaches and practices to address topics of discussion, such as trauma, war, “slow violence,” body mutilation, human trafficking, immigration without falling into the conundrum of creating cultural stereotypes in the process of criticizing them?
    Please submit abstracts by February 5, 2018

  • Environmental Remediation: Genre, Visibility, and Ecological Crisis in African Literatures

    Session type: Panel

    Organized by: Katherine Hummel

    Send abstracts or inquiries to: hummel@umich.edu

    Remediation has emerged as a keyword in both new media studies and sustainability discourses. While Bolter and Grusin define it in terms of repurposing old media in new forms, Leerom Medovoi traces its ethically promising, yet politically empty rhetoric for environmentalism. Further, Medovoi asserts these dual definitions of remediation converge in Global South ecologies, many of which remain marginalized by mainstream coverage of environmental crises due to their non-spectacular exposure to what Rob Nixon terms “slow violence.” Whereas Medovoi studies ongoing pollution in the Niger Delta, this panel pursues the formal and environmental definitions of remediation as they emerge in African literatures and intersect with new/multi-media more broadly. What cultural politics inform how certain environments are selected for restoration, and which vulnerable environments are subsequently ignored? Which narrative and rhetorical strategies are adopted and/or repurposed to draw media attention toward African environments? How do African writers, artists, and activists engage with the politics of visibility, in deciding who gets to see, and who controls what is seen? How might remediation elicit new ethical and political imperatives for representing African environmental crises on a global scale?

    Please send a 250-word abstract and brief bio to Katherine Hummel by February 2, 2018.

  • Afrophone Literatures: Reshaping African National Environments

    Session type: Panel

    Organized by: Bojana Coulibaly

    Send abstracts or inquiries to: bojana.coulibaly@ugb.edu.sn

    While the creation of African national literatures in African languages as a decolonial alternative to African Europhone literatures is not a new concept, the standardization of African languages and a growing body of Afrophone literatures participate in reshaping the political, social and epistemological environments of the continent. This panel seeks to examine how African Afrophone imagination helps build a sustainable global cultural future through the various themes and literary devices used by writers and how African national environments are being impacted by the growing presence of Afrophone literatures. Please send a 250-word abstract and a brief bio to Bojana Coulibaly, (bojana.coulibaly@ugb.edu.sn) by February 5, 2018.

  • Post-Conflict Environments in African Literature: Reconciliation, Justice, Memory

    Session type: Panel

    Organized by: Saumya Lal

    Send abstracts or inquiries to: slal@umass.edu

    Post-conflict environments are fraught with tensions and paradoxes as they grapple with enduring legacies of past violence and hostilities while imagining a peaceful future. The proliferation of new models of transitional justice bear witness to the challenges that these environments continue to pose for questions of reconciliation, justice, and collective memory. This panel seeks to examine how contemporary African literature has engaged with these concepts to critique and reinvigorate our understanding of post-conflict environments. Please send a 250-word abstract and a brief bio to Saumya Lal (slal@umass.edu) by 1 February, 2018.

  • African Literature and Big Data: A Call for A New Formalism

    Session type: Panel

    Organized by: Tejumola Olaniyan

    Send abstracts or inquiries to: tolaniyan@wisc.edu

    Paper abstracts are hereby invited for critical examinations of the potentials and limitations of big data application to the study of African literature. Papers can explore the history of big data in the humanities, and the intersections of formal and structural analysis of sedimented information and cultural interpretative evaluations that must still be made. Papers can also review existing apps and softwares for the collection, aggregation, and sorting of literary data--their production, circulation, and usefulness.