Wednesday, August 14, 2019

CFP: Armistead Maupin’s Transgressive Tales

CFP: Armistead Maupin’s Transgressive Tales
2020 Society for the Study of Southern Literature Conference
April 2-5, 2020
Fayetteville, AR
In the 1970s, Armistead Maupin wrote sketches for a serialized column, Tales of the City. It was the creation of a still-expanding universe emanating from the storied 28 Barbary Lane in San Francisco. Maupin adapted the material from the column into Tales of the City, a novel published in 1978; eight more books in the series followed between 1980 and 2014. Along the way, Tales has shape-shifted into television (including a recent Netflix reboot), radio, and musical adaptations. In 2017, the tale of Tales, along with other aspects of Maupin’s life, got an airing with the release of Logical Family: A Memoir and a documentary film, The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin. In these autobiographical works, Maupin documents the varied paths his life has taken: growing up in Raleigh as the scion of a North Carolina family with ancestral ties to the Confederacy; enlisting in the military during the Vietnam War; working for Jesse Helms, the far-right senator from North Carolina who was infamous for his racism and homophobia; and coming to terms with his homosexuality and coming out as a gay man in the San Francisco of the seventies. Maupin has demonstrated a penchant for crafting stories that blend fiction and social history to cast era-defining touchstones from the AIDS crisis to the politics of gentrification in intimate settings. Through a Dickensian tapestry of interwoven characters and storylines, Maupin traces the social boundaries of repressive conformity and tracks the efforts of queer people to transgress them in the pursuit of solidarity and equality.
Despite Maupin’s ties to the southeastern US, scholars in southern literary and cultural studies have yet to devote significant attention to his life and work. For SSSL 2020, the organizers of this round table are hoping to have a conversation that will start to redress this critical neglect. We are currently accepting proposals for ten-minute talks on topics related to Armistead Maupin’s life and work, including but not limited to the following:
--Issues of LGBTQ+ representation
--Gender and sexual identity/expression/politics
--Racial and ethnic identities/experiences/intersections
--Literature and/as social history
--HIV/AIDS in literature and culture
--Queer diasporas/communities
--Queer spaces and temporalities
--Tales of the (big) city and metropolitan bias in queer literature and history
--Matters of genre, form, and adaptation (social novel, melodrama, serialization, closet/coming out narratives, reboot culture, etc.)
--Families (biological, logical/chosen)
--Generational ties/tensions
--Maupin and literary/celebrity culture
--(Auto)biographical approaches
Please submit a brief description of the proposed talk (200-300 words) and a short bio by October 1, 2019 to Monica Miller ( and Ted Atkinson (

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