every so often a call for papers arrives in my inbox that makes me sigh and momentarily wish I worked in a different area of literary studies. some times it's a call for a conference in Andalusia or Sydney; some times it's a simple matter of longing after someone else's period (e.g. "Palimpsest Identities, England 1500-1700"?? how cool!)
But today it's a call for papers for the Harry Potter Conference, called "The Witching Hour," to be held in-- wait for it-- Salem, Mass, that's got me all jealous. Here I am slaving away to construct a reading of second-wave surrealism that opens up comparisons with the late modernist period in Anglophone fiction, examining the margins of the surrealist movement and the role of Claude Cahun therein-- in short; reading surrealism from a feminist critical standpoint, when I could be writing about gender studies in The Goblet of Fire and ahy I want her to get it on with Harry and not with Ron Weasley.
So for those of you non--academics who wonder if everything you read about us in the New York Times is true, I offer you the below CFP. And to my academic colleagues-- well, perhaps you'll be motivated to submit. It's worth a trip to Salem, anyhow, to hear people give comparative papers on the simimarities between Parlimentary process and wizard law.
CALL FOR PAPERS: THE WITCHING HOUR
October 6-10, 2005
Deadline: May 15, 2005
A Harry Potter Symposium presented by HP Education Fanon, Inc.
UPDATE: Keynote Speakers: Henry Jenkins, John Cech
Special Guests: Marleen Barr, Vicky Dann, Eliza T. Dresang, Tamora Pierce, Nancy Farmer, Charles de Lint, Ellen Datlow, Holly Black, Charles N. Brown
The Witching Hour is an interdisciplinary symposium designed to allow scholars and adult enthusiasts of the Harry Potter series to gather and share research. The conference programming will engage attendees in a broad exploration and understanding of the Harry Potter texts and phenomenon, as well as foster dialogue between academics and fans. The theme of the symposium - as befits the season, locale and current tone of the series - is choice, moral ambiguity and the darkness within everyone. While we shall warmly receive submissions dealing with our theme, we wish to stress that we welcome proposals on any and all topics - whether academic, creative or fan - relating to Harry Potter, including examinations of writing, art and young adult fantasy literature. Suggested topic tracks include, but are in no way limited to:
Literary: critical issues concerning the novels themselves, as well as the wider arena of children's and young adult literature, including structural analysis, genre considerations, and the response of the academic establishment and publishing industry
Social Sciences: critical responses to the texts through the lenses of anthropology, sociology, psychology, folklore, and so forth
Education: The use and abuse of the novels in the classroom and libraries, censorship controversies and teachers' and librarians' guides
Creative: Examinations of the writing or artistic creative process
Legal: Analyses of legal issues raised by the text of the novels, including wizarding law as set forth therein, and legal controversies relating to the phenomenon or the fan community
Fandom Studies: Studies of the fan response to the novels, including discussions of specific fan activities (e.g., vidding, artwork and fanfiction), and critical examinations of fanfictional tropes
Guides: Examinations of subjects such as the history of the wizarding world, a beginner's guide to the online fandom, and an overview of the numerous Harry Potter "companion" encyclopedias
Film: Critical responses to the Harry Potter films
Music: Studies of the use of music in the Harry Potter books, films and fan culture, such as analyses of the John Williams score or an examination of fans' musical activities
More information can be found here.