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Lineages of the Literary Left: A Symposium in Honor of Alan M. Wald

Thursday, March 21, 2013
12:00 AM
UM Campus (see schedule);

This two-day conference honors Alan M. Wald, H. Chandler Davis Collegiate Professor of English and American Culture, on the occasion of his retirement from teaching at the University of Michigan after 38 years on the faculty. The event celebrates Professor Wald's contributions to expanding the scope of U.S. literary studies and building American Culture at Michigan. Distinguished guest speakers will present new scholarship regarding literature and leftwing political movements worldwide.

Thursday, March 21
1:00 pm:  Founders Room, Alumni Center
Welcome to conference:
Prof. Terrence McDonald, Dean, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
Prof. Paula Rabinowitz, University of Minnesota

1:15-3:15 (Panel  A)
Reading the Old Left Now

Chair:  Robbie Lieberman, SIU-Carbondale
Julia Mickenberg, University of Texas, "U.S. Women, the Pilgrimage to Russia, and the Question of Stalinism"
Sarah Ehlers, University of South Dakota, “Left of Lyric: Depression-era Poetry and Collective Life”
Keith Gilyard, Pennsylvania State University, “John Henry in the Work of John Oliver Killens”
Heather Bowen-Struyk
, University of Michigan, “The Resurgence of Proletarian Literature in Japan in 2008”

4:00 (Keynote address)
Introduction of Michael Löwy:  Howard Brick, University of Michigan
Michael Löwy, Research Director emeritus, CNRS, Paris:“Jewish Radicals in Central Europe and the US: A Comparative Approach”

5:30-6:30:  (Reception) Alumni Center Lobby
Friday, March 22
Forum Auditorium, Palmer Commons
9:00-11:30 (Panel B)
New Visions of Literary Biography

Chair:  Rachel Peterson, Grand Valley State University
Lawrence Jackson, Emory University,  "Chester Himes, Fannie Cook and Bucklin Moon: American Novelists and the Edge of the Racial Frontier during World War II"
Dayo F. Gore, University of California-San Diego, “ ‘A Black Woman Speaks…’: Beulah Richardson’s Life of Protest and Poetry"
Rachel Rubin, U-Mass Boston, "The Darker Brother and the Cracker Boy: Langston Hughes, Don West, and Poetry as Social Conversation"
Bill Mullen
, Purdue University, "W.E.B. Du Bois and Socialism: A Call for Reassessment"
Marcial Gonzalez, UC-Berkeley, “Communism of the Will: Narrative Disclosures of a Mexican American Farm Worker”

12:30-2:45 (Panel C)
Toward an Activist, Internationalist American Studies

Chair:  Nathaniel Mills, California State University-Northridge
Eleni Varikas, Professor Emerita, CNRS, Paris, “Travelling Theories and Practices of Resistance within a Neo-Colonial Europe:  For a Feminism in the Plural”
Cary Nelson, University of Illinois, “Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture 25 Years Later: Stalinism and the Left”
Sarah Wald, Drew University, "Ecocritical Perspectives on the Mid-20th Century US Left."
Cheryl Higashida, University of Colorado, "Black Belt Queer Feminism: African American Women Writers on the Left in the Era of Decolonization"

3:00-4:30 (Keynote address)
Introduction of Tariq Ali:  Michael Löwy
Tariq Ali
, “The Mirror of the World:  Poetry and Resistance”

4:30-4:45 (Conclusion)

Introduction of Alan Wald:  Konstantina M. Karageorgos, University of Michigan
Alan Wald, The Present of Future Things

For further information, contact Howard Brick (