Contemporary Literature of the Forever Wars | An MLA 2016 Austin Roundtable

Source: Contemporary Literature of the Forever Wars | An MLA 2016 Austin Roundtable

Welcome to the website for a potential panel on the contemporary wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at MLA 2016 in Austin. We will post more information soon.


Our invited scholars consider a series of complex, interrelated questions:

  • What are the appropriate critical, disciplinary, and theoretical terms for framing the recent boom in war fiction, memoir, poetry, and reportage?
  • What are the appropriate forms for addressing the questions of visibility, racialization, or gender disturbances?
  • To what extent do fiction, memoir and poetry connect the experience of individual combatants to national ideologies and agendas, to empathetic awareness of Iraqi and Afghan non-combatants and culture, or to direct or implied culpability for sinister aspects of contemporary war such as drone strikes, rendition, and enhanced interrogation techniques?
  • How have the wars been represented in national literatures other than the United States?
  • How have new technologies and doctrines of war—from insurgency and counterinsurgency to IEDs, drones, and torture—been rendered in literature?
  • How has the all-volunteer military changed the dynamic between citizen and soldier, insider and outsider?
  • How have the experiences, technologies, and personnel of war cross-pollinated within the borders of the United States?
  • How do we situate the current war corpus within the critical genealogies of war literature?

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