The 21st Annual Robinson Jeffers Association Conference
February 21-23, 2015, The Carmel Woman’s Club, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
“Humanizing Jeffers: Father, Son, Neighbor, Friend, Lover”
At one point in his career, Jeffers referred to his outlook on the world as “inhumanism,” a term that seemed to capture, for his critics and detractors, so many of the things that they disliked about him: his aloof, superior-seeming stance, intentionally distanced from his time and culture; his didactic, “cold” tone that seemed to lecture rather than empathize; his perverse-seeming fascination with rocks and trees when men, women, and children were suffering from economic crisis and catastrophic war. Yet, as the recent publication of the three-volume set of The Collected Letters of Robinson Jeffers with Selected Letters of Una Jeffers has shown, that caricature of Jeffers is misleading. In the letters, he emerges as a passionate, considerate, loving man, one responsive to major events in the world as well as those in his own backyard, a fallible and deeply human man with both a sense of humility and a sense of humor. Nonetheless, the image of Jeffers as a bitter, misanthropic Cassandra has persisted in popular perception and has deeply colored how we understand his work. With the publication of the letters, the time has come to take another look at the Jeffers whom we think we know and reconsider the man and his work from a new angle.
The 21st Annual RJA Conference seeks papers that help rehumanize Jeffers and his work. Papers might consider the ways in which the human emerges in his work: as beings with emotions and desires, spiritual beliefs and doubts, ambitions and disappointments. Papers might consider Jeffers himself from a biographical perspective: as a father whose son went to war, as a lover whose passions drove him, as an author struggling to make his voice heard. Papers might also reconsider the meaning of Jeffers’ concept of inhumanism itself to expand our understanding of his meaning and others’ interpretations of it. Papers that address topics outside of this area will also be accepted, as new work in Jeffers Studies is always welcome at the annual RJA Conference. Paper proposals should be 250-500 words and e-mailed by 15 December 2014 to incoming RJA Executive Director, Dale Stieber, at email@example.com Presentations should not exceed twenty minutes.
As the RJA looks forward to encouraging and cultivating the next generation of Jeffers scholars, we are very excited to announce a special addition to the conference: a Friday afternoon workshop open to a small group of new and emerging scholars. This workshop will offer participants the opportunity to receive feedback on their work and have in-depth conversations about their research with other workshop participants as well as established Jeffers scholars. Those interested in participating in this workshop will need to indicate their interest when submitting a paper proposal and be prepared to pre-circulate their paper to the group 4 weeks in advance.
Emerging Scholars Workshop at 2015 Robinson Jeffers Association Annual Conference
This workshop has three goals:
1. To foster the interest and development of research on Robinson Jeffers by emerging scholars. Because Jeffers is not frequently taught in graduate courses, emerging scholars (graduate students and early-career academics) may not have received the support and critical feedback on their work on Jeffers. We hope to pair these scholars with established ones to provide them with substantial, thoughtful feedback and help guide them toward publishable work.
2. To “seed” some excellent articles on Jeffers that might be published in Jeffers Studies or elsewhere, raising the profile of Jeffers within the academy.
3. To deepen a collegial tie between the RJA and scholars new to the organization—as a kind of effort to seed the membership and sustain the organization for long-term sustainability and growth.
The workshop will take place on the afternoon of Friday, February 21, 2015. Senior scholars will be paired with an emerging scholar and will offer that person a page of written feedback on their work. All papers (3-5 are expected) will be pre-circulated and it is expected that all participants will read and consider each in preparation for a roundtable-type discussion. An audience is welcome to sit in, but this workshop will be considered something of a “pre-conference” event. Emerging scholars may submit a shorter version of their workshop submission or a different piece for the conference presentation.
Emerging scholars will be eligible for a need-based financial aid for travel expenses related to the conference. Those interested in participating in the workshop will need to submit the following materials electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org
by December 15, 2014: a current C.V.; an abstract of an article-length essay about or related to Jeffers and his work; an estimate of travel expenses (if financial aid is requested). Complete essays must be submitted for pre-circulation no later than January 10, 2015.
Click the link to download a PDF of the Call for Papers.