Sound at MLA 2012

Unlike MLA 2011 in Los Angeles, which overflowed with audio-themed research delights–see our last year’s round up here —MLA 2012 in Seattle seems, well, a lot less sonic.  I have a few theories as to why this may be (and of course, I would love to hear your thoughts as to MLA’s relative silence in the comment section. Drop us a line!).  First off, even in our networked universe, conferences always seem to take on some local flavor, so last year’s event in L.A., whose main industry continues to be entertainment, may have been a magnet for panels about music, sound, and other audio-visual inquiries.  Without implying that sound studies is mutually exclusive with Digital Humanities–quite the opposite–perhaps the move to Seattle, long a technology hub thanks to and Microsoft, helps account for the veritable explosion of  DH panels in the PMLA this year.  Being the Editor-in-Chief of a blog, I have included some of the many excellent DH panels in this round up that I think are of interest to fellow research bloggers and sound studies peeps; see Professor (and ProfHacker) Mark Sample’s comprehensive Digital MLA listing on his blog Sample Reality for the full line up (and a great discussion of the growth of digital humanities as a field).

While the sharp decline in overtly labeled “sound studies” panels at MLA seems a bit troubling for a fledgling field, it could also be a backhanded marker of its growing success.  As sound studies grows and expands into more academic venues, this extremely interdisciplinary field is becoming more diffuse and multivalent.  2011 marked the year that the American Studies Association hosted its first official meeting of the sound studies caucus, for example, and published a sound studies special issue of American Quarterly. Three years strong, the Sound Studies Special Interest Group of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies hosted a full slate of events and sound studies panels in New Orleans this past March. And the Sound Studies Special Interest Group at the Society for Ethnomusicology meeting this year in Philadelphia, two years old, did the same. Perhaps the time has come for us to coalesce at MLA in a similar way, forming a society with standing meetings and panels to ensure that the nexus of sound studies and literary inquiry continues to break new ground and thrive instead of waxing and waning along with the market and successive conference themes.  Far from being antithetical or ancillary to studies of soundscapes, recordings, and other audible forms, language constructs and shapes our sensory experience of and the meanings we make from “actual” sound; we are only beginning to understand how.

Or perhaps not. Perhaps the way in which sound studies research has been absorbed into studies of literature and language is not so much a muting but rather a healthy sign of what audio engineers refer to as “bleed.”  This year’s slate of panels shows how Sound Studies has proven undeniably useful to some of the core issues of the discipline: identity, translation, poetics, affect, tone, and especially voice. With the advent of sound studies, “voice” in literary study has ceased to be a solely a metaphor or an abstract symbol of agency, but panels like “Pinter’s Voice,” “Dissenting Voices,” and “Dickinson’s Fictions of Voice” suggest that the field now hears “voice” as a living, breathing, and sounding entity in its own right, a sensory element of literary craft bearing material traces (and social consequences–see “Gender and Voice: Orality, Dissent, and Community in the Late Middle Ages” and Arabic Language and Identity: Transregional Texts and Transnational Discourse”).

Finally, I must mention that the MLA’s strength continues to be its international range; sound studies is frequently critiqued for a largely U.S. and British-based focus, so it is refreshing to see sound studies work from (and on) Germany, France, Australia, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, Ireland, and Iraq (among others) as well as inquiries that question the idea of borders and nation-states altogether.   Whether revivifying the concept of voice or questioning the rhetorical construction of bodies and spaces across the globe, sound studies emerges as a critical mediator between sound and language at MLA 2012, a rich conversation that has really only just begun.

Please comment to let us know what you think–both before and after MLA 2012.  If I somehow missed you or your panel in this round up, please let me know!:

Jennifer Stoever-Ackerman is co-founder, Editor-in-Chief and Guest Posts Editor for Sounding Out! She is also Assistant Professor of English at Binghamton University and a Fellow at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University.

Jump to THURSDAY, January 5
Jump to FRIDAY, January 6
Jump to SATURDAY, January 7
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THURSDAY, January 5

Thursday, 5 January


8:30–11:30 a.m.

.1.  Evaluating Digital Work for Tenure and Promotion: A Workshop for Evaluators and Candidates

Willow A, Sheraton

Presiding: Alison Byerly, Middlebury Coll.; Katherine A. Rowe, Bryn Mawr Coll.; Susan Schreibman, Trinity Coll. Dublin

The workshop will provide materials and facilitated discussion about evaluating work in digital media (e.g., scholarly editions, databases, digital mapping projects, born- digital creative or scholarly work). Designed for both creators of digital materials (candidates for tenure and promotion) and administrators or colleagues who evaluate those materials, the workshop will propose strategies for documenting, presenting, and evaluating such work.

Preregistration required.


1:45–3:00 p.m.

.44.  Pinter’s Voice

303, WSCC

Program arranged by the Harold Pinter Society.  Presiding: Judith A. Roof, Rice Univ.

Saumya Rajan, Univ. of Allahabad, “Ruth: Harold Pinter’s Voice of Postmodernist Politics”

William Crooke, East Tennessee State Univ., “What Dyou Mean? The Cockney Voice in Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter,”

Susan Hollis Merritt, Pinter Review, “Pinter’s Voices”


1:45–3:00 p.m.

67.  Race and Digital Humanities

 611, WSCC

Program arranged by the Division on Black American Literature and Culture. Presiding: Howard Rambsy, Southern Illinois Univ.

Kimberly D. Blockett, Penn State Univ., Brandywine, “Digitizing the Past: The Technologies of Recovering Black Lives”

Bryan Carter, Univ. of Central Missouri, “Digital Africana Studies 3.0: Singularity, Performativity, and Technologizing the Field”

Maryemma Graham, Univ. of Kansas, “The Project on the History of Black Writing and Digital Possibilities”

For abstracts, write to


3:30–4:45 p.m.

.70.  Multimediated Brecht 

Cedar, Sheraton

Program arranged by the International Brecht Society. Presiding: Kristopher Imbrigotta, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison

Michael Shane Boyle, Univ. of California, Berkeley, “‘Literarization’ and the Radical Potential of Media”

Julia Draganovic, Modena, Italy, “Brecht’s Radio and Its Italian Legacy”

Michael Ryan, Duke Univ., “Brecht’s Media Theory: A Popular Reassessment”

Respondent: Henning Wrage, Haverford College


82.  Arabic Language and Identity: Transregional Texts and Transnational Discourses

Columbia, Sheraton

A special session. Presiding: Karin C. Ryding, Georgetown Univ.

Elizabeth M. Bergman, Miami Univ., Oxford,  “Animating Linguistic Nationalism in Jordan”

Clara Shea, Georgetown Univ., “The Sound of the People: Popular Music and Identity in Lebanon”

Georgette Jabbour, Defense Language Inst., “The Way Forward to Teaching Arabic: Incorporating Dialect with Modern Standard Arabic (MSA)”

Emily J. Selove, Univ. of California, Los Angeles, “A Baghdadi Party Crasher in Isfahan”

For abstracts, write to


97.  Voicing Documentary

307, WSCC

Program arranged by the Division on Language and Society. Presiding: James V. Catano, Louisiana State Univ., Baton Rouge

Jose Capino, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, “Voice- Over Narration in the Cold War Documentary”

Rebecca Sheehan, Harvard Univ., “The Essay Film and the Ontology of the Epistolary Image: Akerman, Marker, Godard”

James V. Catano, Louisiana State Univ., Baton Rouge, “Voicing Authority: Confessing before God and Errol Morris”


5:15–6:30 p.m.

115.  Gender and Voice: Orality, Dissent, and Community in the Late Middle Ages

Virginia, Sheraton

Program arranged by the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship. Presiding: Dorothy Kim, Vassar Coll.

Katherine G. Zieman, Univ. of Notre Dame, “Performing Ourselves: Gendering and Voicing in Pater Noster Commentaries”

Nicole Nolan Sidhu, East Carolina Univ., “Gender and the Unruly Female Voice in Piers Plowman

Dorian Lugo- Bertrán, Univ. of Puerto Rico, “The Inscription of the Voice and Medieval Materiality in Teresa of Ávila’s Camino de perfección

Anthony J. Cárdenas- Rotunno, Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, “The Gendered Voices of Leonor López de Córdoba and Teresa de Cartagena”

For abstracts, visit hosted .lib.uiowa .edu/smfs/mff/


7:00–8:15 p.m.

142.  Affect, Distance, Confession: Emotion and Popular Music

620, WSC

Program arranged by the Division on Popular Culture. Presiding: Sonnet Retman, Univ. of Washington, Seattle

John W. Mowitt, Univ. of Minnesota, Twin Cities, “(I Can’t Get No) Affect”

Barry Shank, Ohio State Univ., Columbus, “Approaching Odd Future (OFWGKTA) from a Distant Place”

David R. Shumway, Carnegie Mellon Univ., “‘A Compulsion to Be Honest with My Audience’: Joni Mitchell and Confession”

Respondent: Sonnet Retman


150.  Digital Humanities and Internet Research

613, WSCC

A special session. Presiding: John Jones, Univ. of Texas, Dallas

Robin A. Reid, Texas A&M Univ., Commerce, “Creating a Conceptual Search Engine and Multimodal Corpus for Humanities Research”

John Jones, Univ. of Texas, Dallas, “What the Digital Can’t Remember”

Jennifer Sano­ Franchini, Michigan State Univ., “Toward a Rhetoric of Collaboration: An Online Resource for Teaching and Learning Re­search”

For abstracts, visit


Thursday Individual Papers of Interest 

Mark Deggan, Univ. of British Columbia, “‘Not Bleeding, Singing’:The Operatic Legacy of ’Twixt Land and Sea,” 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 616, WSCC

Emilie Brancato, Univ. of Toronto, “Exploring Marguerite’s Voice in the Middle English Translation of the Mirouer des simples âmes,” 3:30–4:45 p.m., Virginia, Sheraton

Eric J.Hyman, Fayetteville State Univ., “The Filtered Voices of Margery Kempe,” 3:30–4:45 p.m., Virginia, Sheraton

John Melillo, Univ. of Arizona, “Empathic Noise,” 3:30–4:45 p.m., 608, WSCC2.

Benjamin Conisbee Baer, Princeton Univ, “Césaire’s Voice Lessons,” 5:15–6:30 p.m., 618, WSCC

Robert J. Patterson, Georgetown Univ., “She Heard Nothing: Traumatized Cat and the Unsympathetic Listener in Gayl Jones’s Corregidora,” 5:15–6:30 p.m., 615, WSCC

Yonsoo Kim, Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, “Women’s Voiced Desire and Muted Passions: Teresa de Cartagena and Santa Teresa,” 7:00–8:15 p.m., 620, WSC


Statue of Jimi Hendrix at the Corner of Pike and Broadway, Seattle, WA by Flickruser bleachers

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Friday, 6 January



8:30–9:45 a.m.

166.  Tone in Narrative

617, WSCC

Program arranged by the International Society for the Study of Narrative. Presiding: Molly Hite, Cornell Univ.

James Phelan, Ohio State Univ., Columbus, “Dialogue, Voice, and Tone; or, Exploring a Neglected Channel of Narrative Communication”

Debra Fried, Cornell Univ., “Taking a Wrong Tone”

Chris Rideout, Seattle Univ. School of Law, “Voice, Self, and Tonal Cues in Legal Discourse”


174.  The Opera Libretto

620, WSCC

Program arranged by the Lyrica Society for Word-Music Relations. Presiding: Jeff Dailey, Five Towns Coll.

Edward Anderson, Rice Univ. “Staging Authority—Ariosto, Early Opera, and the Society of Dead Poets”

Matthew Paul Carlson, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, “English Verse Translations of Die Zauberlöte: Auden and Kallman versus McClatchy”

Ryan Kangas, Univ. of Houston, “Encountering the Mirror in ‘The Birthday of the Infanta’ and Der Zwerg

Douglas Fisher, Florida State Univ., “Willie Stark: Carlisle Floyd’s Libretto Based on William Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men

For abstracts, visit


188.  Jimi Hendrix and the Poetics of Song

611, WSCC

A special session. Presiding: Jacob Wilkenfeld, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Jeffrey Carroll, Univ. of Hawai‘i, Mānoa, “Dancing in Dylan’s Head: Jimi Hendrix and the Folk Tradition”

Daniel Barlow, Univ. of Pittsburgh, “Jimi Hendrix and the Politics of Blackness”

Michael New, Penn State Univ., University Park, “Voodoo Child: Jimi Hendrix and the African American Experimental Tradition”

Jacob Wilkenfeld, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, “Are You Experienced? Jimi Hendrix and the Poetics of Black Experience”


10:15–11:30 a.m.

236.  Remixing Present-Day English

306, WSCC

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Present-Day English Language. Presiding: Dulce M. Estevez, Arizona State Univ.

Nils Olov Fors, Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania, “A Critical Analysis of Language Use Constructs in Discourses Related to Language Education in South Texas, 2000–10”

Jennifer M. Santos, Virginia Military Inst., “Agog or a Gag? Lady Gaga’s Remixes Remixed”

Dulce M. Estevez, Arizona State Univ., “Mixteando Languages in the United States”

Sarah Catherine Dean, Arizona State Univ., “Remixing English to Represent Trauma and Identity”


12:00 noon–1:15 p.m.

244.  Dickinson’s Fictions of Voice

303, WSCC

Program arranged by the Emily Dickinson International Society. Presiding: Elizabeth Petrino, Fairield Univ.

Vivian R. Pollak, Washington Univ. in St. Louis, “Dickinson and Sincerity: The Nineteenth-Century Context”

Margaret Rennix, Harvard Univ., “The Speaking Dead: Animated Corpses and National Crisis in the Poetry of Emily Dickinson and Alfred Tennyson”

Ai’fe Murray, San Francisco, CA, “The Influence of Her Servants’ Ethnic Vernaculars on Emily Dickinson’s Language”

For abstracts, write to epetrino@


245.  Narrativity and Musicality: The Confluence of Language, Literature, and Culture

305, WSCC

Program arranged by the College Language Association. Presiding: Warren Carson, Univ. of South Carolina, Spartanburg

Kameelah Martin Samuel, Georgia State Univ., “Of Blues Narrative and Conjure Magic: A Symbiotic Dialectic in the Fiction of Arthur Flowers and J. J. Phillips”

Dolan Hubbard, Morgan State Univ., “DuBois, Hansberry, and a Knock at Midnight”

Thabiti Lewis, Washington State Univ., Vancouver, “Teaching Hip-Hop and Black Vernacular Tradition While Tackling the Boogie Man”


249.  Building Digital Humanities in the Undergraduate Classroom

Grand A, Sheraton

A special session. Presiding: Kathi Inman Berens, Univ. of Southern California

Speakers: Kathryn E. Crowther, Georgia Inst. of Tech.; Brian Croxall, Emory Univ.; Maureen Engel, Univ. of Alberta; Paul Fyfe, Florida State Univ.; Kathi Inman Berens; Janelle A. Jenstad, Univ. of Victoria; Charlotte Nunes, Univ. of Texas, Austin; Heather Zwicker, Univ. of Alberta

This electronic roundtable assumes that “building stuff” is foundational to the digital humanities and that the technical barriers to participation can be low. When teaching undergraduates digital humanities, simple tools allow students to focus on the simultaneous practices of building and interpreting. This show-and-tell presents projects of variable technical complexity that foster robust interpretation.

For abstracts, visit


259.  Representation in the Shadow of New Media Technologies

304, WSCC

Program arranged by the MLA Committee on the Literatures of People of Color in the United States and Canada. Presiding: Lan Dong, Univ. of Illinois, Springield

Aymar Jean Christian, Univ. of Pennsylvania, “Web Video and Ethnic Media: Linking Representation and Distribution”

Daniel Greene, Univ. of Maryland, College Park, “Among Friends: Comparing Social Networking Functions in the Baltimore Sun and Baltimore Afro-American in 1904 and 1933″

Lisa Nakamura, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, “Digital Trash Talk: The Rhetoric of Instrumental Racism as Procedural Strategy”


273.  Queer Performance: Space, Bodies, and Movement(s)

620, WSCC

Program arranged by the GL/Q Caucus for the Modern Languages. Presiding: Francesca Therese Royster, DePaul Univ.

Aimee Carrillo Rowe, Univ. of Iowa“Race-ing Time through Queer Xicana Performance”

Robert McRuer, George Washington Univ., “Crip Out: Freakish Performance and the Rogue Queer History”

Sharon Bridgforth, DePaul Univ., “Ring or Shout”

For abstracts, write to ltorres@


1:45–3:00 p.m.

283.  What Makes Language Literary?

Metropolitan A, Sheraton

A linked session arranged in conjunction with The Presidential Forum: Language, Literature, Learning (202). Presiding: Sabine Wilke, Univ. of Washington, Seattle

Speakers: Charles Francis Altieri, Univ. of California, Berkeley; Daniel Dooghan, Univ. of Tampa; Frances Ferguson, Johns Hopkins Univ., MD; Alexander C. Y. Huang, George Washington Univ.

This roundtable asks whether the familiar pairing “language and literature” is more than just an academic convention. Is literature a necessary function of language, or is language merely the vehicle with which literature pursues its own ends? At stake are questions of rhetoric and criticism, poetic language, the standing of translation, and the tensions between historical experience and aesthetic autonomy.


294.  Humor and Subversion: Approaches to Pacific Literature and Orature at the Universities of Hawai‘i and Guam

 608, WSCC

A special session. Presiding: Caroline Sinavaiana, Univ. of Hawai‘i, Mānoa

Caroline Sinavaiana, Univ. of Hawai‘i, Mānoa, “bro’Town and he Naked Samoans: Ritual Clowning Goes Prime Time”

Ku‘ualoha Ho‘omanawanui, Univ. of Hawai‘i, Manoa, “Mokes with Jokes: Nah Nah Nah Nah—‘Bussing Laugh’ as Colonial Resistance”

Nicholas J. Goetzfridt, Univ. of Guam, “The Illusions of Betrayal: Mudrooroo, Indigenousness, and the Stage I Make”

Brandy Nalani McDougall, Univ. of Hawai‘i, Mānoa, “Anticolonial Humor and Poetic Resistance in the American Colonies of the Pacific”

Respondent: Craig Perez, Univ. of California, Berkeley

For abstracts, write to


298.  Reading across Media

Aspen, Sheraton

Program arranged by the Division on Twentieth-Century German Literature. Presiding: Deniz Göktürk, Univ. of California, Berkeley

Lutz Koepnick, Washington Univ. in St. Louis, “Reading on the Move”

Heather Love, Indiana Univ., Bloomington, “Fighting Stupidity and Playing Music: Musil, Adorno, and the Performativity of Interpretation”

Daniel Gilillan, Arizona State Univ., “Literature on the Radio: Sound and the Intermedial Modulation of Knowledge”


307.  Theorizing Hip- Hop: New Approaches to Hip-Hop as Intellectual Production

618, WSCC

A special session. Presiding: Jill Richardson, Borough of Manhattan Community Coll., City Univ. of New York

Shante Paradigm Smalls, Davidson Coll., “Queer Hip-Hop Diasporas: A History”

James Ford, Occidental Coll., “The Shadows of Tomorrow: Hip- Hop, Madlib, and the Archive”

Michael Ralph, New York Univ., “Hip- Hop Is Not What You Think It Is”

Jill Richardson, Borough of Manhattan Community Coll., City Univ. of New York, “Performing Male Desire: The Intersection of Hip- Hop and Drug Culture”

For abstracts, write to


3:30–4:45 p.m.

325.  Ireland and the Politics of Language

304, WSCC

Program arranged by the American Conference for Irish Studies. Presiding: Richard Russell, Baylor Univ.

Laura B. O’Connor, Univ. of California, Irvine, “Muse Energy: Releasing and Reinscribing the Spéirbhean”

Spurgeon W. Thompson, Kaplan International Colls., “‘English Is Dead’: Assassinating English in Finnegans Wake

Kelly Matthews, Framingham State Univ., “‘Johnny, I Hardly Knew You!’: Sean O’Faolain, the Gaelic League, and Debates over Language and Literature in the Mid- Twentieth Century”


332.  Digital Narratives and Gaming for Teaching Language and Literature

Aspen, Sheraton

Program arranged by the MLA Committee on Information Technology and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Presiding: Barbara Laford, Arizona State Univ.

Steven Thorne, Portland State Univ., “Narrative Expression and Scientific Method in Online Gaming Worlds”

Jonathon Reinhardt, Univ. of Arizona; Julie Sykes, Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, “Designing Narratives: A Framework for Digital Game- Mediated L2 Literacies Development”

Edmond Chang, Univ. of Washington, Seattle; Timothy Welsh, Loyola Univ., New Orleans, “Close Playing, Paired Playing: A Practicum”

Respondent: Dave McAlpine, Univ. of Arkansas, Little Rock


5:15–6:30 p.m.

.349.  Digital Pedagogy

Grand A, Sheraton

A special session. Presiding: Katherine D. Harris, San José State Univ.

Speakers: Sheila T. Cavanagh, Emory Univ.; Elizabeth Chang, Univ. of Missouri, Columbia; Lori A. Emerson, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder; Adeline Koh, Richard Stockton Coll. of New Jersey; John Lennon, Univ. of South Florida Polytechnic; Kevin Quarmby, Shakespeare’s Globe Trust; Katherine Singer, Mount Holyoke Coll.; Roger Whitson, Georgia Inst. of Tech.


Friday Individual Papers of Interest

Kimberly Wedeven Segall, Seattle Pacific Univ., “Heteroglossic Iraq: Voices of Women and War,” 8:30–9:45 a.m., 303, WSCC

Imani Perry, Princeton Univ., “Of Degraded Tongues and Digital Talk: Race and the Politics of Language,” 10:15 a.m.–12:00 noon, Metropolitan A, Sheraton

Emily M. Harrington, Penn State Univ., University Park, “Lyric and Music at the Fin de Siècle: The Cultural Place of Song,” 3:30–4:45 p.m., 611, WSCC

James D. B. McCorkle, Hobart and William Smith Colls., “Of Moan and Stutter: M. Nourbese Philips’s Hauntological Zong!” 5:15–6:30 p.m., 614, WSCC


The Experience Music Project, Seattle photo by Flickr user Brad Coy


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Saturday, January 7

Saturday, 7 January


10:15–11:30 a.m.

450.  Digital Faulkner: William Faulkner and Digital Humanities

 615, WSCC

Program arranged by the William Faulkner Society. Presiding: Steven Knepper, Univ. of Virginia

Speakers: Keith Goldsmith, Vintage Books; John B. Padgett, Brevard Coll.; Noel Earl Polk, Mississippi State Univ.; Stephen Railton, Univ. of Virginia; Peter Stoichef, Univ. of Saskatchewan

A roundtable on digital humanities and its implications for teaching and scholarship on the work of William Faulkner.

For abstracts, visit faulknersociety .com/ panels.htm 

Discussions about digital projects and digital tools often focus on research goals. For this electronic roundtable, we will instead demonstrate how these digital resources, tools, and projects have been integrated into undergraduate and graduate curricula.


12:00 noon–1:15 p.m.

468.  Networks, Maps, and Words: Digital-Humanities Approaches to the Archive of American Slavery

615, WSCC

A special session. Presiding: Lauren Klein, Georgia Inst. of Tech.

Lauren Klein, Georgia Inst. of Tech.,“‘A Report Has Come Here’: Social-Network Analysis in the Papers of Thomas Jefferson”

Cameron Blevins, Stanford Univ., “Slave Narratives in Space: Mapping the World of Venture Smith”

Aditi Muralidharan, Univ. of California, Berkeley, “Using Digital Tools to Explore Narrative Conventions in the North American Antebellum Slave Narratives”

Respondent: Amy Earhart, Texas A&M Univ., College Station


477.  Postnational Readings of the Audiovisual

Aspen, Sheraton

Program arranged by the Division on Twentieth-Century German Literature and the Division on Film. Presiding: Nora M. Alter, Temple Univ.,Philadelphia; Deniz Göktürk, Univ. of California, Berkeley

Kalani Michell, Univ. of Minnesota, Twin Cities,“Sounds of the Berlin School”

Ian Thomas Fleishman, Harvard Univ., “International ‘Auditorism’: The Postnational Politics of Reading of von Donnersmarck’s The Lives of Others”

Jaimey Fisher, Univ. of California, Davis, “Surveying the Border Crossing: Terrorist Films and the Postnational Imaginary”


479.  Digital Humanities in the Italian Context

Cedar, Sheraton

A special session. Presiding: Manuela Marchesini, Texas A&M Univ., College Station

Stefano Franchi, Texas A&M Univ., College Station, “Digital Humanities in the Italian Culture Landscape”

Alberto Moreiras, Texas A&M Univ., College Station, “Life and the Digital: On Esposito and Tarizzo’s Inventions of Life”

Massimo Lollini, Univ. of Oregon “Humanist Studies and the Digital Age”

Silvia Stoyanova, Princeton Univ., “Giacomo Leopardi’s Zibaldone: From Card Index to Hypertext”

For abstracts, write to


484.  Dissenting Voices

Columbia, Sheraton

Program arranged by the Division on ArabicLiterature and Culture. Presiding: Anouar Majid, Univ. of New England

Ibtissam Bouachrine, Smith Coll., “Why Moroccan Women Rebel”

Nouri Gana, Univ. of California, Los Angeles, “Hip- Hop Insurgency”

Olivier Bourderionnet, Univ. of New Orleans, “Building Bridges with Songs: Amazigh Kateb and Abd al-Malik”


499.  Literary Multilingualism and Exile in Twentieth-Century Fiction

Ravenna C, Sheraton

A special session. Presiding: Salvatore Pappalardo, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick

Celine Piser, Univ. of California, Berkeley, “Multilingualism and the Construction of a Hy­brid Identity in Twentieth­ Century Judeo­ French Lit­erature”

Hassan Melehy, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, “Jack Kerouac’s Translingual Exile”

Maria Kager, Rut­gers Univ., New Brunswick, “Ahksent on Last Syllable: Mispronunciation in Nabokov’s American Novels”


1:45–3:00 p.m.

506.  Voice and Identity in Australian Literature

 616, WSCC

Program arranged by the American Association of Australian Literary Studies. Presiding: Nathanael O’Reilly, Texas Christian Univ.

Jennifer McGovern, Univ. of Iowa, “Death by Torture in the Country of the Mind: Metaphors of Captivity and Freedom in Patrick White’s Voss (1957)”

Sarah Chihaya, Univ. of California, Berkeley, “The Un-death of Maggs: The Returned Convict as Revenant in Jack Maggs

Nicholas Dunlop, Univ. of Birmingham, “Suburban Space and Multicultural Identities in Christos Tsiolkas’s The Slap

Nathanael O’Reilly, Texas Christian Univ., “Rejecting Suburban Identity in George Johnston’s My Brother Jack


522.  The Seattle Sound

618, WSCC

Program arranged by the Division on Popular Culture. Presiding: Hillary L. Chute, Univ. of Chicago

Lindsay E. Waters, Harvard Univ. Press, “Theory Alone Nothing; Theory plus Dancing Change the World: The Seattle Sound of Sleater-Kinney and Hendrix”

John Melillo, New York Univ., “Nirvana: Noise and Empathy”

John McCombe, Univ. of Dayton, “Virginia Woolf in the Trailer Park: Isaac Brock; Nowhere, WA; and the Lonesome, Crowded West”


3:30–4:45 p.m.

539.  # alt- ac: Alternative Paths, Pitfalls, and Jobs in the Digital Humanities


Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Computer Studies in Language and Literature. Presiding: Sara Steger, Univ. of Georgia

Speakers: Brian Croxall, Emory Univ.; Julia H. Flanders, Brown Univ.; Jennifer Howard, Chronicle of Higher Education; Matthew Jockers, Stanford Univ.; Shana Kimball, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Bethany Nowviskie, Univ. of Virginia; Lisa Spiro, National Inst. for Tech. in Liberal Education

This roundtable brings together various perspectives on alternative academic careers from professionals in digital humanities centers, libraries, publishing, and humanities labs. Speakers will discuss how and whether digital humanities is especially suited to fostering non-tenure- track positions and how that translates to the role of alt-ac in digital humanities and the academy. Related session: “# alt- ac: he Future of ‘Alternative Academic’ Careers” (595).


5:15–6:30 p.m.

581.  Digital Humanities versus New Media

611, WSCC

Alison Byerly, Middlebury Coll., “Everything Old Is New Again: The Digital Past and the Humanistic Future”

Andrew Pilsch, Penn State Univ., University Park, “As Study or as Paradigm? Humanities and the Uptake of Emerging Technologies”

David Robert Gruber, North Carolina State Univ., “Digital Tunnel Vision: Deining a Rhetorical Situation”

Victoria E. Szabo, Duke Univ., “Digital Humanities Authorship as the Object of New Media Studies”

For abstracts, visit www .duke .edu/ ~ves4/mla201


Saturday Individual Papers of Interest

Erich Nunn, Auburn Univ., Auburn, “Music, Race, and Nation in Johnson’s Autobiography,” 1:45–3:00 p.m., 307, WSCC

Leslie Petty, Rhodes Coll., “‘Every Woman . . . Should Raise Her Voice’: Rethinking White Women’s Activism in William Wells Brown’s Clotel,” 5:15–6:30 p.m., 307, WSCC


Flyer for a Seattle Phonographers Union Performance, For information on the artists' collective see


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SUNDAY, January 8

Sunday, 8 January


8:30–9:45 a.m.

638.  Gettin’ Around: Transnational Jazz Literature

618, WSCC

A special session. Presiding: Jürgen E. Grandt, Gainesville State Coll., GA

Rashida Braggs, Williams Coll., “From Harlem to Paris: A Transatlantic Interpretation of James Baldwin’s ‘Sonny’s Blues’”

Marc-Oliver Schuster, Univ. of Vienna, “Swinging Variety: Jazz in the Literature of the German Democratic Republic”

Aldon Lynn Nielsen, Penn State Univ., University Park, “The Transplanetary Nation Blues and the Abstract Truth”

Respondent: DoVeanna Sherie Fulton Minor, Univ. of Alabama, Tuscaloosa

For abstracts, write to


10:15–11:30 a.m.

664.  Sound and Voice in the Creative Writing Classroom: Practice-Based Pedagogies

614, WSCC

A special session. Presiding: Christopher Drew, Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

David Bartone, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, “Avoiding Meaning: A Classroom Exercise to Improve Students’ Homophonic Sensibilities”

David Yost, Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee“Into the Trenches: Breaking the Student-Author Binary with ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’”

Liane LeMaster, Georgia Perimeter Coll., North Campus, “Speciicity of Dialogue: A Coke Is a Soda Is a Pop Is a Cola”


665.  Debates in the Digital Humanities

615, WSCC

A special session. Presiding: Alexander Reid, Univ. at Buffalo, State Univ. of New York

Matthew K. Gold, New York City Coll. of Tech., City Univ. of New York, “Whose Revolution? Toward a More Equitable Digital Humanities”

Elizabeth Mathews Losh, Univ. of California, San Diego, “Hacktivism and the Humanities: Programming Protest in the Era of the Digital University”

Jeff Rice, Univ. of Missouri, Columbia, “Twenty-First- Century Literacy: Searching the Story of Billy the Kid”

Jentery Sayers, Univ. of Victoria, “Why the Digital Humanities Needs Theory”

For abstracts and discussion, visit


12:00 noon–1:15 p.m.

691.  Gertrude Stein and Music

Cedar, Sheraton

Program arranged by the Lyrica Society for Word-Music Relations and the Association for the Study of Dada and Surrealism. Presiding: Jeff Dailey, Five Towns Coll.

Tanya E. Clement, Univ. of Maryland, College Park, “Sounding Stein’s Texts by Using Digital Tools for Distant Listening”

Judith A. Roof, Rice Univ., “Gertrude’s Glee and Jazz Mislaid Jazz”

Brandon Masterman,Univ. of Pittsburgh, “‘This Is How hey Do Not Like It’: Queer Abjection in Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts”


716.  Digital Material

613, WSCC

A special session. Presiding: Charles M. Tung, Seattle Univ.; Benjamin Widiss, Princeton Univ.

Speakers: Paul Benzon, Temple Univ., Philadelphia; Cara Elisabeth Ogburn, Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; Charles M. Tung; Benjamin WidissZachary Zimmer, Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ.

Is there gravity in digital worlds? Moving beyond both lamentations and celebrations of the putatively free- loating informatic empyrean, this roundtable will explore the ways in which representations in myriad digital platforms—verbal, visual, musical, cinematic—might bear the weight of materiality, presence, and history and the ways in which bodies—both human and hardware—might be recruited for or implicated in the efort.

For abstracts, write to

1:45–3:00 p.m

736.  Close Playing: Literary Methods and Video Game Studies

University, Sheraton

A special session. Presiding: Mark L. Sample, George Mason Univ.

Speakers: Edmond Chang, Univ. of Washington, Seattle; Steven E. Jones, Loyola Univ., Chicago; Jason C. Rhody, National Endowment for the Humanities; Anastasia Salter, Univ. of Baltimore; Timothy Welsh, Loyola Univ., New Orleans; Zach Whalen, Univ. of Mary Washington

This roundtable moves beyond the games-versus-stories dichotomy to explore the full range of possible literary approaches to video games. These approaches include the theoretical and methodological contributions of reception studies, reader-response theory, narrative theory, critical race and gender theory, disability studies, and textual scholarship.

For abstracts, visit www .samplereality .com/ mla12.


745. Affecting Affect

615, WSCC

A special session, Presiding: Lauren Berlant, Univ. of Chicago

Speakers: Ann L. Cvetkovich, Univ. of Texas, Austin; Neville W. Hoad, Univ. of Texas, Austin;Heather K. Love, Univ. of Pennsylvania; Tavia Nyong’o, New York Univ.

For a list of questions for roundtable participants (and the potential interlocutors from the audience), visit


Sunday Individual Papers of Interest

Toni Wall Jaudon, Ithaca Coll., “Sound and Separateness: The Hindu Widow’s Cries in Early-Nineteenth-Century United States Print Culture,” 1:45–3:00 p.m., 304, WSCC

Grunge: One of Seattle's Signature Sounds, Photo by Flickr User Sands

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4 responses to “Sound at MLA 2012”

  1. j. stoever-ackerman says :

    That sounds amazing, Tavia! How on earth did I miss this panel? It is now added to the line-up; thanks so much for bringing it to my attention. Now, I am officially uber-sad I will be leaving Seattle before Sunday. . .will you be publishing this stuff soon? A journal? One of your blogs? Perhaps a piece for us? 😉

    Hopefully I will see you in Seattle before I head back east! —JSA


  2. Tavia says :

    Hi Jen,

    Thanks for this useful line up! I’m on the “Affecting Affect” roundtable Sunday, and I plan on discussing Justin Vivian Bond and v’s performance of “The New Economy” for Occupy Wall Street.




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