Call for papers: Premodern Japan at MLA 2017

Charlotte Eubanks's picture

Call for papers: MLA 2017

For the first time, pre-modern Japanese literature will have a formal place at the Modern Language Association! Please join us in celebrating this threshold event in Philadelphia (Jan 5-8, 2017).

The Japan to 1900 forum is sponsoring three panels. We hope that you will consider applying to one of them, and that you will help spread the word!

Soundscapes in Premodern Japan (guaranteed session) CFP

How do sound imaginaries in literature (the racket of the street and the warbling of birds) represent space? Who hears, listens in, or overhears, and what power do they enjoy in this sonic culture? What constitutes a sacred sound or its profane or transgressive counterpart? What role is reserved for silence? How does the sensory experience of sound constitute the body? How is sound projected in oral literature and what role is accorded to oratory? How are voices gendered are either masculine or feminine?

We are interested in the ways that sound represents courtly and natural spaces, confers auditory or illocutionary force on speakers and listeners, and gives oral literature its cultural aura in premodern Japan (defined loosely as anything pre-1900s).

Please send comments, queries, and/or 250-300 word abstracts to Jayanthi Selinger ( by 1 March 2016.

Sounding the Promdern Sinosphere (collaboration with the East Asia forum) CFP

The circulation and production of literary Sinitic texts was one feature that linked the distinct literary cultures of pre-modern East Asia. Attention to oral/aural dimensions of such texts highlights certain commonalities (such as codified rhyme categories) while also prompting us to recognize the disparate traditions of oral performance such texts enjoyed throughout the Sinosphere. What are the implications of aural variation for literary genres where the sound of words is especially privileged, such as poetry? To what extent is exophony a useful way to think about the production of literary Sinitic texts across the Sinosphere? How does framing such texts in terms of a shared script illuminate or obscure aspects of their creation? In what ways do the borders of literary Sinitic textuality overlap with contemporary notions of the Sinophone?

Please send comments, queries, and/or 250-300 word abstracts to Matthew Fraleigh ( by 1 March 2016.

The Queerness of Letters in Premodern Japan (special session) CFP

We are still at work on the CFP for this panel, but if you have preliminary ideas or comments, please be in touch with Charlotte Eubanks ( and Reggie Jackson ( ) now, as the deadline for proposals will be 1 March 2016.


Categories: CFP