Established in 1989, the Center for Mark Twain Studies “International
Conference on the State of Mark Twain Studies” is the oldest and largest
gathering devoted to all things Twain. During times so turbulent and
uncertain as to require that that the quadrennial conference on the State
of Mark Twain Studies be postponed by a year, the theme of change and
growth “speaks to our condition,” as the Quakers say.
*CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL QUADRENNIAL CONFERENCE INFORMATION PAGE*
The conference will be held from *Thursday, August 4 to Sunday, August 7,
2022 *on the campus of Elmira College in Elmira, New York. In addition to
scholarly presentations, the conference will have events that provide
contexts for Mark Twain and his life in Elmira, and will also feature a
keynote by *Jimmy Santiago Baca* <https://www.jimmysantiagobaca.com/>, an
award-winning writer for whom Twain has been an important influence.
An important focus of the conference will be scholarly discussion of the
study of Mark Twain and how the field might grow and change in response to
changing conditions in the world, in the academy, and in the field of Twain
Studies. We encourage all proposals to address how your scholarship might
help us think about growth and change in the context of our studies of Mark
Twain. We have included a list of questions at the end of this
announcement to help spark your thinking.
In keeping with the theme of the conference, we encourage scholars to
consider how different ways of presenting your scholarship to the audience
might encourage growth and conversation. We encourage you to be open to
ideas such as flash presentation sessions in addition to standard 20-minute
paper presentations and as roundtables.
- *Paper presentations*—20-minute presentations of scholarly arguments
- *Roundtables*—groups of 3-5 scholars each present for roughly 10
minutes on a theme or topic, leaving significant time and space for
- *Flash Presentations* – In addition to roundtables and sessions
comprised of individual papers, we will be forming several *sessions* in
which scholars each present for *up to 5 minutes* on a central subject
as a way to spark conversations. Topics might range from “fresh pedagogical
approaches to teaching *Connecticut Yankee” *to “which work by Twain
does not get enough attention” to “how can we continue to grow and expand
Twain studies.” Please indicate in your submission whether you might be
interested in participating in a flash session, and do share suggestions
for topics for flash sessions.
Each person may present a paper OR participate in a roundtable. However,
you may participate in a flash session in addition to presenting a paper or
being on a roundtable.
*We encourage you to connect your proposal to the theme of “growth” and to
think about how your scholarship can help to grow and change the field. *
Proposals for presentations or roundtables (700 words) should be emailed as
a Word document to *Joseph Lemak* at *[log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>*
by *Friday, January 7, 2022*. Include a cover letter containing your
contact information (name, mailing address, etc.) in the body of the email.
Proposals will be reviewed anonymously by members of the conference
We invite papers on any aspect of Mark Twain’s work and legacy, but have a
particular interest in the questions listed below:
- How might Twain scholarship change in the future?
- What are the dynamics of growth and change in Twain’s ideas, moral
attitudes, literary aesthetics, etc.
- What lessons about coping with change can Mark Twain teach us?
- How did changing circumstances in Twain’s life shape changes in his
thinking and writing?
- Why and how do Twain’s characters grow or change
- How does travel–in the U.S. and abroad–change Samuel Clemens and the
works of Mark Twain?
- How might we look at Mark Twain and his era in new ways?
- How does our understanding of Samuel Clemens and Mark Twain change
when scholars consider disease, financial panic, and cultural upheaval?
- How can or should our teaching of Mark Twain and his time change?
- What impact did the radically shifting racial structures in the U.S.
have on Samuel Clemens and Mark Twain?
- How can the study of Mark Twain and his era help scholars and students
understand systemic racism?
- How might Mark Twain fit into an anti-racist pedagogy?
- How has America’s response to Mark Twain changed over time?
- When Mark Twain’s works are translated into other languages, how do
they change and what cultural work do they do?
- How have responses to Mark Twain around the world changed over time?
- How do we grow and change as scholars? As teachers?
- What previously neglected texts by Twain speak to us today and deserve
to be reconsidered?
- What ideas that we had earlier would we now change or reject?
*Important Dates and Deadlines*
- Paper and panel proposal deadline – Friday, January 7, 2022
- Decisions deadline – Friday, February 26, 2022
- Conference registration begins – Friday, February 26, 2022
- Conference registration deadline – Friday, July 15, 2022
- Elmira 2022 Conference – Thursday, August 4 to Sunday, August 7, 2022
Joseph Lemak, PhD
Director of the Center for Mark Twain Studies
Assistant Professor of History
Rose Office, Cowles Hall
Elmira, New York 14901
O: (607) 735-1941
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