CFP: "Crossroads and Transgressions: Cormac McCarthy Between Worlds"

James Dorson's picture
Call for Papers
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Area Studies, Humanities, Literature, Popular Culture Studies

Crossroads and Transgressions: Cormac McCarthy Between Worlds

An International Symposium

July 7-9, 2016

JFK Institute, Freie Universität Berlin

Throughout his literary career, Cormac McCarthy has consistently explored the intersections of different modes of thinking and creative practices. His work navigates between artistic and scientific discourses as readily as it interweaves various fields of knowledge and genres from chaos theory and legal history to English poetry and the Western. While much has been written already about spatial border crossings in McCarthy’s work, this international conference invites his readers and scholars to consider his other crossings, from the intersections of literature and science to his stylistic and generic crossovers.

These spaces between worlds represent both convergences and choices in determining one’s own fate, and question the idea of ‘transgression’—the crossing of normative boundaries, as many of his maladjusted characters do, but also the role of choice in the making. We could also say that McCarthy himself has transgressed aesthetic and thematic boundaries as part of the constant re-invention of his unique style as a novelist.

With a non-exclusive focus on The Road’s tenth anniversary, we invite contributions that explore productive tensions, clashes, crossovers, thresholds, transitions, and transgressions in Cormac McCarthy’s work, but other approaches to McCarthy will also be considered. 

The conference will be held from July 7-9, 2016, at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies in Berlin. It is co-organized with the University of Cologne, the University of Paderborn, and the Cormac McCarthy Society.

Please send proposals of approximately 300 words and a brief author bio to by November 15, 2015. Feel free to email us with inquiries.

Confirmed keynote speakers:

David Holloway (University of Derby)

Dianne Luce (Midlands Technical College)

Stacey Peebles (Centre College)

Mark Seltzer (UCLA)

Conference organizers:

James Dorson (JFK Institute, FU Berlin)

Julius Greve (University of Cologne)

Markus Wierschem (University of Paderborn)


For more information and updates, please visit the conference website at