2019 Modern Language Association Conference
In addition to Rodrigo Lazo's panel, "Reading The Confidence-Man Today," Kim Evans' panel on "Melville’s Quarrel with Modernity" was accepted. While it's not directly a Society event John Matteson and Edlie Wong's "American Lives: Whitman and Melville" was also accepted. We'll be hosting our first cash bar! It should be a nice bridge between our panels and our dinner… and an opportunity to do something special for the bicentennial. Scheduling information will be posted soon.
Reading The Confidence-Man Today
What types of interpretations come up when someone reads the The Confidence-Man in light of recent events? Presenters should offer short, reflective pieces (8 minutes) that provoke discussion. Although a lack of faith (or confidence) in political institutions is a major part of news reports today, presenters may focus on any of the topics brought up in Melville’s book, including stocks and finance, religious organizations, charity, racial identity, belief, and other considerations. Other approaches could include reflections on reading historically or the dynamics of re-reading today.
Organizer: Rodrigo Lazo
Panelists: Peter Bellis, Russ Castronovo, Meredith Farmer, Justine Murison, Sam Otter
Melville’s Quarrel with Modernity
Melville is not recognized for the clarity of his philosophical arguments. But the argument driving this panel is that Melville’s philosophical arguments have been miscategorized: taken to embody the ethos of the distinctively modern world, when in fact what they offer is nothing less than a wide-ranging rejection of modernity’s dominant assumptions. Panelists turn a harsh light on some of the beliefs that characterize modern Western thought.
Organizer: K.L. Evans
Panelists: Jason de Stefano, Willis McCumber, Pilar Martinez Benedi, Joe Conway, Tim Sweet, K.L. Evans
Respondent: Michael Puett
American Lives: Whitman and Melville
At their bicentennial, we examine the challenges and rewards of writing the lives of Whitman and Melville. Who were they? Who, via scholarship, have they become?
Organizer: John Matteson and Edlie Wong
Panelists: Michael Bateman, Kelvin Beliele, John Bryant, Meredith Farmer