Procedures for Author Societies

Procedures for Author Societies:  The representatives of the various author societies that make up the American Literature Association will organize most of the program. Societies are expected to offer their own calls for papers using their websites, email list-serves, newsletters, other publications, or mailing lists. Each society is also expected to post a call for papers or announce its plans on this ALA website by sending the CFP to Alfred Bendixen at as soon as possible and No Later Than December 1, 2015. Societies are expected to advertise the national conference in their publications or on their websites. This expectation can be met by including the following notice in appropriate publications and websites:

The American Literature Association’s 2th annual conference will meet at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco on May 24-27, 2018 (Thursday through Sunday of Memorial Day weekend). The deadline for proposals is January 30, 2018. For further information, please consult the ALA website at or contact the conference director, Professor Leslie Petty, at or the Executive Director of the ALA, Professor Alfred Bendixen of Princeton University, at  with specific questions.

The official representatives of each author society should confirm tentative plans for sessions with the conference director by email at  before Nov 1, 2017. This is essential if any society is requesting more than two sessions and a business meeting. All that is required is an email noting the number of desired sessions and any special requests. If your society, for whatever reason, chooses not to sponsor a session this year, please let the conference director know that.

By January 30, 2018, the conference director should receive an email with the complete program information. That information should follow the following format for each panel:

1.         The subject line of the email should read ALA 2018: Name of Society. This enables the conference director to file emails efficiently. Then provide the rest of information as both an attachment (preferably in WORD) and pasted in.  The ALA will use Ariel Narrow (12 point font); please do so if you can. If you cannot, do not worry about it.

2.         Provide the program information so that it can be pasted into the final program. Please look at the following sample and then at the specific instructions that follow:

The Sublime in the Poetry of Sample
Organized by the Ima Sample Society

Chair:  Joseph Goodscholar, University of Great Hopes

1.         “Irony and Angst in the poetry of Ima Sample,” Noah Problem, College of Notre Doubt
2.         “The Beautiful Garden in The Jungle: Sample’s Influence on Sinclair,” Raphael Hythloday, University of East London
3.         “Sample’s ‘Mambo’ Poems and the Humor of Mark Twain: Beyond Beauty and Truth,” Uriah Heap, Independent Scholar

Audio-Visual Equipment required: None

Requested slot: Thursday or Friday morning

Business Meeting Requested: immediately following panel if possible

Please note that the sample above has no formatting (no bold, no CAPS). Please note that the presentations are listed with numbers and then five spaces and then the information. They are NOT INDENTED as some word processing panels will do automatically unless you turn off auto-format. Book titles are italicized. If the conference organizer can cut and paste, then everything goes quickly.

A. Provide the exact Title of the Session as you wish it listed in the Program. (Please try to be both concise and precise). Please do NOT use CAPS or special fonts or highlighting or Bold or any special formatting in any part of the material you send!
B. On the second line, please write Organized by Name of Your Society
C. Then list:  Chair: Name, Affiliation
D. For each paper, begin with a number, skip five spaces or hit tab, then provide the title of the presentation in quotation marks, and then the correct name of the presenter, and his or her academic affiliation. For independent scholars, you may identify a society, a place, or just note independent scholar or biographer or anything you deem appropriate. For any questions about matters of format and style, please consult The Chicago Manual of Style.
E. You may list a respondent, if appropriate and desired.
F. Then write Audio-Visual Equipment Required and state NONE or request the specific equipment desired. The ALA will normally provide projectors for powerpoint and dvd presentations and screens (but we will not provide laptop computers). We will no longer provide overhead projectors, slide projectors, vcrs, or cd or cassette tape players (but you may, of course, bring your own cd or tape player). Please note that audio-visual equipment is very expensive and usually takes up over $14,000 of our budget. It costs much more to rent a piece of a/v equipment and a competent Tech person for three days than it costs to buy it. Feel free to use a/v if needed, but make sure that all audio-visual requests reach the conference director by January 30, 2018.
G. Because of the complexity of the program, we cannot permit individual societies to request specific time slots, but you may designate two preferred days and request either morning or afternoon. The conference director will attempt to honor all reasonable requests provided the required program information arrives by January 30, 2018, but no promises or guarantees can be made.
H. Please italicize book-length works and foreign phrases and use quotation marks for shorter works.
I. Please remind all of your participants that no-one may present more than one paper at the ALA conference and that we need to know about a/v requests immediately.
J. Proposals that fail to follow these directions will be returned to the proposer.

3.          Please note that the ALA also welcomes Round Table Discussions. The difference between a panel and a round table is that a round table usually has a Moderator who is participating in the discussion (instead of a Chair who simply introduces speakers and monitors time) and more than 4 (four) participants. Roundtable presentations may or may not have titles listed but round table presentations normally are 8 (eight) minutes or less in length.

4.         If you wish to also schedule a business meeting for your society, please request Business Meeting and provide any desired days and times. It is important that you let the conference director know if you wish the business meeting to come before or after a panel. Please note that we cannot guarantee to provide specific times, but we will usually try to put the business meeting directly after one of your sessions.

5.         Please note that we no longer need you to provide the email address or mailing address of your participants since ALL communication with your panel will go through you. We count on you to inform your participant of such basic facts as the need to register and pay the conference fee.

Please include a phone number where you can be reached in the event that the conference director is unable to email you.

The conference director will normally confirm the receipt of all emails within 3 business days. The conference director may refer you to the website but will never send you an attachment to open, because of the danger of computer viruses. By the second week in March, the conference director will let you know the day on which your panel or panels are scheduled. You should inform your participants of the day and instruct them to register using the information on the website at and explaining that their early registration and payment saves the organization time and money. You will also inform them to check the on-line program for accuracy and to send any corrections to both you and the conference director. You should also inform them that participants who fail to register by May 1 will be dropped from the program.

6.         If any conference proposal comes in after the deadline, the conference director may be unable to place it on the program and will not be able to consider requests for specific times.

In evaluating the quality of a proposal, the ALA’s selection committee tends to be suspicious of any panel in which all the participants are from the same institution or are all graduate students. The ALA welcomes panels that represent a diversity of perspectives and demonstrates relevant expertise. We believe that graduate students are best served when they are on panels with senior scholars and assistant professors.

Some reminders:

The deadline for all proposals from individuals and panels from author societies is January 30, 2018.

No-one may present more than one paper at an ALA conference. It is possible to present a paper and chair another panel or panels and also participate in a round-table discussion.

Please make sure to indicate any audio-visual requests with your proposal.  Late a/v requests may not be considered.

Please make sure to follow the instructions above. The use of electronic submissions enables the ALA to maintain the lowest conference fee of any major organization.

Participating author societies are required to advertise the national conference and are expected to post call for papers or announce their plans on the ALA website.

The conference director will attempt to acknowledge the receipt of all emails within 3 business days and will try to respond as quickly as possible to all proposals.

Please note that the American Literature Association maintains the lowest conference fees of any major scholarly organization because it operates without a paid staff. We cannot help you find a roommate or spend a great deal of time answering personal phone calls. If you have any questions that are not answered by this announcement, please contact the conference director, Professor Leslie Petty, at or Professor Alfred Bendixen, Executive Director of the ALA, at

Thank you for your support of the American Literature Association


Comments are closed