Resistant Bodies: Defiance and Opposition in American Literature
Examples of passive resistance, such as Herman Melville’s Bartleby, populate all eras of American literature, everywhere calling into question the logic of the state. As distinct from actively violent fictional or real life revolutionaries such as Toni Morrison’s Seven Days Society or John Brown, these figures resist dominant discourse and oppressive modes of being through non-response, misdirection, or refusals to participate. Such reactions expose the gaps and injustices of the state machine, providing examples of lives that can, as Thoreau argues, “be a counter-friction to stop the machine.”
This panel welcomes submissions from all eras and genres of American literature on the topic of passive resistance or civil disobedience, taking an expansive definition of such resistance, which may not always be entirely conscious, such as Lily Bart’s resistance to the marriage plot of Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth. Please send a 250 word abstract to firstname.lastname@example.org by June 5th.