2018 SSAWW Triennial Conference: Update
Preparations are underway for the Society for the Study of American Women Writers Triennial Conference in Denver, CO, and I wanted to take a moment to update our members regarding our process and some of the exciting developments that you can look forward to later this year.
In early January, we issued a call for reviewers to help in the process of evaluating the numerous individual paper, panel, and roundtable proposals that we were beginning to receive for the 2018 conference. The incredible response from our membership resulted in nearly fifty reviewers from across the world volunteering to read and evaluate these proposals based upon the pre-established criteria provided them. Reviewers examined each proposal based upon relevance to the theme of the conference (resistance and recovery of American women writers across the Americas), the overall relevance to our SSAWW mission, the innovation of the proposal, and the quality of the writing. For each submission, at least three reviewers were assigned, providing us a depth of insight into the strengths of each proposal and their potential placement on the conference program. We would like to offer our thanks to each of the individuals who served in this invaluable role, even participating in a second round of reviews after our extended deadline. Except in the case of clear disagreement in evaluation, I accepted the suggestions of our esteemed panel of reviewers with years of dedicated service to and expertise in the field.
After the process had been completed and we had a working draft of the conference program, we had a few remaining papers that received high marks from reviewers but that did not form complete panels. In our mission for inclusivity, I elected to develop a request for specific proposals on the topics of 1) a pedagogy of resistance and care, 2) American women writers on gender, race, and religion, and 3) citizenship and resistance to oppressive regimes. The deadline for submissions is March 16, 2018. Rather than electing to add a respondent in order to complete those sessions, I wanted to once again extend the opportunity for more scholars and voices to potentially participate in the program. We are pleased to have received thus far a few new proposals as well as a few revised submissions from the original round.
At this point in time, notifications for all panel, roundtable, and individual proposal submissions have been disseminated. For anyone who has submitted a proposal and has not received a formal response, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org; some individuals did note technical difficulties in using the Google Forms—a process that we will continue to refine for the future based upon the solid feedback that we received—so we want to ensure that no one fell through the cracks with the new submission process that we adopted this year.
In addition to the dynamic sessions that we have organized for the conference, we are pleased to have Ms. Staceyann Chin—the “Jamaican-Born, Brooklyn-Living, Woman-Loving, Writer/Poet, Political Activist, and Performance Artist”—join us as our keynote speaker for the event. Her work has been featured in many publications, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Pittsburgh Daily. Her distinguished titles include The Other Side of Paradise: A Memoir and “Authenticity,” featured in Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness. Her contribution will add a unique voice and perspective to the conversation that we hope this conference will evoke. This, along with a planned art exhibition and three film screenings, we hope will result in a stirring conference program that we can talk about for the next three years.
Ultimately, as with planning and organizing any event of this size, it has been a challenging and yet rewarding experience. Through your eager participation and innovative insights into the theme of resistance and recovery, we have been able to organize a number of commanding sessions on women writers, their lasting legacy, pedagogy, and the profession, among other important topics. We look forward to an incredible conference later this year in Denver and thank you once again for your vital contributions to an event that so many great teacher-scholars anticipate over the years. More information regarding the program, hotel accommodations, and registration are forthcoming. As always, we encourage you to check the website regularly or to sign up for the listserv to get updates regarding the conference, CFPs, job announcements, and so much more. With so many ways to still become involved in the conference program (such as volunteering to evaluate CVs in our SSAWW CV Workshop), please be on the lookout for future announcements from the SSAWW Executive Committee over the coming months.
Thank you once again for your time and for your continued support of the Society for the Study of American Women Writers. It is your thoughtful contributions, after all, that enable us to advance our core mission.
Christopher Allen Varlack
Program Director, 2018 SSAWW Triennial Conference