Call for Papers
for SPELL #38 — The Genres of Genre: Forms, Formats, and Cultural Formations

Edited by Cécile Heim, Boris Vejdovsky, and Benjamin Pickford

North American Studies have always had an intense but ambivalent relationship to genre, as these narrative patterns have participated in nationalist processes as well as in narratives of resistance. Emerging at the beginning of the twentieth century from concerns about naturalism and realism, American literary scholarship after WWII avoided the politicized post-war atmosphere by making the ‘romance’ the quintessential American novel genre, while cinematic genres such as the musical or the Western contributed to amplifying the mythic dimension of American self-definition. Since then, American Studies scholars have pioneered influential work on melodrama, the American Gothic, the jeremiad and other genres. Concurrently, Canadian literature’s prominent nation-building narratives were framed as documentary tales of regionalism, historical novels and social realism before evolving into dystopian and postmodern fiction, most famously by Margaret Atwood. Thus, among the recurring questions posed by genre is the conflicted relationship between literature/art and its social, historical, and cultural context. Terms such as ‘the political unconscious’ (Jameson), ‘cultural work’ (Tompkins), ‘narrative mode’ (Williams) and ‘performative’ (Austin, Turner) have been centrally determining, over the years, to help us understand how genres work and what they do. This collection seeks to build on the SANAS 2018 conference at the Université de Lausanne to further explore what roles genre plays in American and Canadian nation-building and counter-narratives, and how it evolves nowadays.

Papers are primarily invited from confirmed speakers at the SANAS 2018 conference, but we will also accept submissions from those who are unable to speak at the conference, on the following topics:
• The renewal and development of extant genres as well as emerging new genres
• The critical viability of the term ‘genre’ as opposed to ‘mode’, narrative ‘form’ or ‘theme’
• Assessment of recent scholarly work on form (e.g. Caroline Levine)
• Revisiting of older scholarly work and its influence (e.g. Fredric Jameson)
• Narrative/poetic forms and national identity
• Hybridity and intersectionality of form
• Genres intersections with gender, race, imperialism
• Genre and environmentalism/ecology
• Genre and resistance or subversion
• The continuous revival and repurposing of the fairy tale
• New developments in the North American short story

We invite submissions of 6,000-7,000 words adhering to the SPELL style guide (available at: https://wp.unil.ch/sanas2018/spell-38-cfp/). Copyright permissions for any images used must be obtained prior to submission. All submissions will be subject to blind peer-review prior to acceptance. All submissions will be subject to blind peer-review prior to acceptance.

The deadline for submission is Tuesday 20 November 2018. Submission should be made as a Word document to the editors at sanas.conference2018@gmail.com. The acceptance of papers with suggested changes will be communicated by 31 December 2018, and all changes must be made by authors by 31 January 2019. The volume will be published in autumn 2019. For further information, please see our website (https://wp.unil.ch/sanas2018/spell-38-cfp/) or contact the editors at sanas.conference2018@gmail.com.