Procedures for Individual Proposals

Procedures for Individual Proposals: Individuals may propose either a paper or a panel or round table to the conference director no earlier than December 1, 2017 and no later than the deadline of January 30, 2018. The conference director will give preference to papers and panels on authors, texts, and topics not covered by the member societies of the ALA. Those proposing a paper or panel on a topic represented by an author society should consult with the relevant society before submitting the proposal to the ALA.  All proposals must be by email and should be both pasted in and included as attachments (preferably in WORD).

For an Individual Paper:  In the subject line of the email, please put ALA 2018 Proposal: and then a brief title of between one and five words. That will enable the conference director to file emails efficiently. Please provide a clear and useful title for your paper and then an abstract describing the paper (usually between 250-600 words) and then a brief discussion of your status (i.e., an Associate Professor who has published a book and several articles on this topic/author; a graduate student who is offering part of his/her dissertation, etc.) or a two-page vita if that is easier. It is important that your abstract enable the conference director and his advisory committee to evaluate the nature of your work. You must also indicate whether you need any audio-visual equipment to present your work. Please provide a phone number (which will only be used if email fails to work for some reason).

In choosing papers, the conference director may need to emphasize the ways in which individual papers contribute to the formation of logical and coherent panels.

For a panel:  Please follow the sample below so the conference director can paste in the panels and round tables that are accepted.

In the subject line of the email, please put ALA 2018 Proposal: and then a brief title of between one and five words. In your proposal, which you should both paste into the email and provide as an attachment (preferably in Word), begin with the information in the sample below.

After providing the panel information in a form that can be pasted directly into the program, please provide a clear description of the panel and its goals, the titles of individual papers, appropriate abstracts for the papers, and a brief description of the participants and their relevant work. It is crucial that you note any audio-visual needs in your proposal. Finally, please provide your phone number (which will only be used if email fails to work for some reason.)

Please consult the following Sample.

The Sublime in the American Gothic Tradition

Organizer and Chair: Joseph Goodscholar, University of Great Hopes

1.         “Irony and Angst in the Gothic Novels of the Early Republic,” Noah Problem, College ofNotre Doubt
2.         “The Beautiful Garden in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter,” Raphael Hythloday, University of East London
3.         “Beyond the Castle: Gothic Transformations in the Humor of American Realism,” Uriah Heap, Independent Scholar

Audio-Visual Equipment required: None

OR: if the organizer is not the chair of the session, then write

Organized by: Name of Individual organizer
And then Chair: Name

Please remember that individuals may NOT chair panels on which they present papers.

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 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. Commas are used to separate the title and presenter and affiliation and there is no period at the end of each listing. If the conference organizer can cut and paste, then everything goes quickly.

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


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