Calls for Papers

The John Dos Passos Society invites proposals for two sessions scheduled at
The American Literature Association’s 28th annual conference, which will meet at the Westin Copley Place in Boston on May 25-28, 2017 (Thursday through Sunday of Memorial Day weekend). The deadline for proposals is January 25, 2017. For further information, please consult the ALA website at For questions regarding the sessions, contact For questions regarding the conference, contact the conference director, Professor Olivia Carr Edenfield at

Session 1: Dos Passos Today: Roundtable

In a 1968 interview, John Dos Passos commented on what he saw as the growing marginalization of his work by recalling a conservation he once had with Ernest Hemingway. “He always used to bawl me out for including so much topical stuff,” Dos Passos remembered. “He always claimed that was a great mistake, that in fifty years nobody would understand. He may have been right; it’s getting to be true.”
          Fifty-odd years later, this roundtable session seeks to examine the validity of Hemingway’s prediction by asking the question of where Dos Passos is today. Where can his influence be found among contemporary writers, both in fiction and non-fiction? What is his present status in the undergraduate classroom? What can be gained from reading Dos Passos in the current social, political, and economic climate?
          We invite short presentations on any aspect of Dos Passos’s current standing, influence, and/or relevance. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

     - Dos Passos’s influence today, in literature as well as across the arts, such as film or drama

     - Recent experiences of teaching Dos Passos

     - Reading Dos Passos…

               - in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis
               - in the context of increasingly polarized domestic politics
               - in the age of social media and the 24-hour news cycle

The session will take the format of a roundtable discussion, where each participant will be given five to seven minutes for their individual presentations, after which there will be ample time for a longer discussion.
          For full consideration, please submit a 200-word abstract and a brief bio or CV in Word or PDF format to no later than January 25, 2017. Please note any A/V requirements.

Session 2: Dos Passos and New England Panel

Although John Dos Passos’s life and lodgings were varied across the U.S. and abroad, and Dos Passos himself characterized his youth as a “hotel childhood,” some of his most impressionable and creative years were spent in the Northeast, especially New England. At age 11, Dos Passos entered Choate Boarding School (Wallingford, CT) for four-and-a-half years, followed by four years at Harvard. From the late 1920s through the late 1940s, he lived with his wife Katy in Provincetown, MA. Then, of course, were the frequent trips throughout the northeast, whether to Boston—during the tumultuous Sacco and Vanzetti case, for instance—to Maine, or up and down the Cape. The panel seeks a robust discussion of John Dos Passos and New England, which may include, but is not limited to, any of the following:

-  Early years and influences at Choate

-  Harvard, including work on the Harvard Monthly; friendships with E.E. Cummings, Gilbert Seldes, Robert Hillyer, Stewart Mitchell, Dudley Poore, or other Cambridge professors or alums; or essays or stories written against a Boston-Cambridge backdrop, such as Streets of Night.

- The case of Sacco and Vanzetti

- Dos Passos within the literary tradition of 19th-century New England writers, such as Emerson, Hawthorne, Thoreau, Longfellow or Fuller.

-      Other writers (such as Melville or Whitman) or topics generally associated with the greater “northeast” could also be of interest.

The session will take the format of panel presentations running 15-20 minutes. For full consideration, please submit a 300-500 word abstract and a brief bio or CV in Word or PDF format to by January 25, 2017. Please note any A/V requirements.


2nd Biennial John Dos Passos Society Conference
Universidad Alfonso X el Sabio
Madrid (Spain)
June 2nd-4th 2016

We welcome proposals on any topic relevant to Dos Passos's career or life. We are especially interested in his relationship to Spain and Spain's relationship to Dos Passos's legacy. The meeting will include a screening of Robles, Duelo al Sol, a new documentary about the fate of José Robles during the Spanish Civil War, and its impact on Dos Passos and his relationship to Hemingway. Possible topics may include John Dos Passos and:

Translation Studies
The Iberian World
The expatriate experience
His ideological journey/changing politics
Sex, sexuality and gender
Labor, the proletarian novel and the Popular Front
Ernest Hemingway, José Robles and/or others involved in the Spanish Civil War
Realist, Modernist, and late-modernist aesthetics
Regionalism and Internationalism
Genre: histories, travel writing, poetry, essays and so on
His influences
His influence on contemporary literature

We will also hold a roundtable on "Teaching Dos Passos," and welcome short position papers on classroom experiences with his work.

Please send an abstract of 250-300 words and a brief CV to by January 30th, 2016. Make note of any A/V requests in your abstract. And please note that the language of the conference will be English.

American Literature Association
Boston, MA
May 21-25, 2015

Intersections of E.E. Cummings and John Dos Passos

This collaborative panel invites varied approaches to examining the intersections between E.E. Cummings and John Dos Passos. Their careers overlap and in striking ways: both authors went to Harvard, were visual artists, wrote experimental dramas, served in ambulance services during World War I, endured the horrors of warfare and the censorship of the government, and engaged in the activism of the radical political environment of the early 20th century and the resulting hardships of the literary marketplace. In the 1930s, Cummings and Dos Passos both visited the Soviet Union and wrote about their experiences and impressions of the culture, and both experienced drastic shifts in political beliefs during that period.

We welcome submissions related to form and genre, modernism and modernity, war, gender and sexuality, transnationalism, print culture, archival study, politics, activist writing, and related topics. Collaborative papers and pedagogical approaches are also welcome.

300-500 word abstracts and a brief CV to Victoria Bryan, President of the John Dos Passos Society ( and Michael Webster, President of the E.E. Cummings Society ( by January 1, 2015.

Teaching Dos Passos: Round Table Discussion

In addition to our regular paper session, we will also hold a teaching round table. This is an open-topic call for 5-8 minute papers focused on bringing Dos Passos's writing into the classroom. Participants may choose to focus on undergraduate or graduate classes; university, community college, or high school settings; writing, literature, theory, or comparative literature classes; etc.

300-500 word abstracts and a brief CV to Victoria Bryan ( or the John Dos Passos Society ( by January 1, 2015.