British Association for American Studies


CFP: International Whitman Week Seminar and Symposium (University of Exeter)

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CFP: International Whitman Week Seminar and Symposium (University of Exeter)

February 29, 2016

The Ninth Annual International Whitman Week Seminar and Symposium

University of Exeter, England
May 30 – June 4, 2016

Invitation for Applications to the 9th Transatlantic Walt Whitman Seminar
Founded in Paris in 2007, the Transatlantic Walt Whitman Association (TWWA) invites students, researchers, and Whitman enthusiasts to participate in its 9th annual Whitman Week, consisting of a Seminar for advanced students interested in Whitman and Whitman’s poetry, and a Symposium bringing together international scholars and graduate students. Previous Whitman Weeks have been held at Universität Dortmund, Germany (2008), Université Francois Rabelais, France (2009), Università di Macerata, Italy (2010), Universidade Estadual Paulista, Brazil (2011), Szczecin University, Poland (2012), Northwestern University, USA (2013), Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg, Germany (2014), and Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Munich. The 2016 event will be held at the University of Exeter in England.

TWWA’s Mission
Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass remains a landmark of modern poetry and world literature. Every year new editions of Whitman’s work are published in a variety of languages; an ever-expanding group of poets “reply” to him in their poetry; his poems are set to music and are quoted in films; he is invoked in the discussion of political and cultural issues, as well as of gender and sexuality; and he continues to be a huge presence in college and university curricula globally. In order to respond adequately to this international phenomenon, TWWA sponsors a yearly International Whitman Seminar, during which students from different countries come together for an intensive, credit-bearing Seminar taught by an international team of Whitman specialists.

Seminar Structure
In the morning classes, focusing on some of Whitman’s major poems and selections from his prose, students will have an opportunity to confront Whitman’s books, share their readings of key poems and clusters, and discuss Whitman’s attempts at a multilingual English, his cohesive representation of human relations, and his work’s international significance. In addition, there will be afternoon translation workshops of his poems into various languages. (The specific readings that will be the focus of the Seminar will be announced a month before the start of the Seminar.)

The team of international instructors for 2016 will be:
Ed Folsom: Professor of American Literature at the University of Iowa; co-director of the online Whitman Archive; editor of theWalt Whitman Quarterly Review; author, co-author and editor of over 20 Whitman-related books, including, most recently, Walt Whitman’s Democratic Vistas: A Facsimile of the Original Edition (2010), Re-Scripting Walt Whitman (2007) co-authored with Kenneth M. Price, Whitman Making Books / Books Making Whitman (2005).
Jay Grossman: Associate Professor of English at Northwestern University; author of Reconstituting the American Renaissance: Emerson, Whitman, and the Politics of Representation (2003), and numerous essays on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American literature and culture, especially Emerson and Whitman, the history of the book, and the history of sexuality; co-editor (with Betsy Erkkila), Breaking Bounds: Whitman and American Cultural Studies (1996).
Kirsten Harris: Senior Tutor in the School of Modern Languages at the University of Bristol. Author of Walt Whitman and British Socialism: ‘The Love of Comrades’ (Forthcoming 2016), and articles on Walt Whitman, Edward Carpenter and radical British politics. Other research interests include socialist literature and print culture, literary transatlanticism, and protest writing.
Sascha Pöhlmann: Lecturer, American Literary History, LMU Munich, Germany. Author of Future-Founding Poetry: Topographies of Beginnings from Whitman to the Twenty-First Century (Camden House 2015, forthcoming), essays on Whitman’s poetry and prose, as well as its importance to Mark Z. Danielewsi’s fiction, poetry on 9/11, or Cascadian Black Metal. His other research interests include Thomas Pynchon and unpopular culture.

International students will live together at no charge with Exeter students, thus creating opportunities for meaningful intercultural dialogue.

Applications for the Seminar
Applications for the seminar should include a curriculum vitae, a one-page statement of interest, and a short letter of support from an instructor who knows the applicant well. All of these materials, including the letter of recommendation, should be submitted by e-mail to the Exeter organizer, Peter Riley (p.riley@exeter.ac.uk) by February 29, 2016.
If you have any questions about the International Whitman Week 2016, do not hesitate to send the organizer an e-mail any time.

Students are expected to attend and may, if they wish, take part in the Symposium. This event will be held immediately following the Seminar, and feature scholarly papers by Whitman scholars and graduate students from various countries. A separate paper proposal must be submitted in order to participate in the Symposium. This year’s Symposium theme is “British Whitman.” The Call for Papers appears below.

Call for Papers
The Transatlantic Walt Whitman Association is pleased to announce
An Open Call for Papers: “British Whitman”
To be held at the University of Exeter in England on June 4, 2016
The first foreign edition of Whitman’s poetry was published in London, in 1868 – by William Michael Rossetti – and Poems by Walt Whitman was vital in circulating Whitman’s poetry around the British Isles and British Empire. In fact visitors to Britain are likely to have discovered Whitman through Rossetti’s agency rather than in the original US editions (this is one of the theories around Rimbaud’s putative familiarity with Whitman). Possible topics for discussion include (while not being limited to): the literary and political impact of Rossetti’s selection; Whitman’s standing in English-speaking countries outside the US; Whitman’s fraught relationship to “feudal” Britain and how it resonated with the struggles of colonised peoples; class- and gender-based interpretations of Whitman in Britain; Whitmanian discipleship in Britain; and Whitmanian comradeship and evolving mores and laws in Britain and its former colonies; connections and disjunctions between Whitman’s political aspirations and the Victorian “white man’s burden”.

One-page abstracts of paper proposals to be sent electronically, no later than February 29 2016, to all four symposium organizers:

Peter Riley p.riley@exeter.ac.uk
Eric Athenot eric.athenot@orange.fr
Stephanie Blalock stephanie-blalock@uiowa.edu
Kenneth M. Price kprice@unl.edu


February 29, 2016
Event Category:


Transatlantic Walt Whitman Association (TWWA)
Peter Riley p.riley@exeter.ac.uk Eric Athenot eric.athenot@orange.fr Stephanie Blalock stephanie-blalock@uiowa.edu Kenneth M. Price kprice@unl.edu
View Organiser Website


University of Exeter
Exeter, United Kingdom + Google Map