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Whitman at the American Literature Association 2017

The 28th annual American Literature Association conference will take place from May 25-28, 2017, in Boston, MA. For more information about the ALA 2017 conference, including information about registration and hotel reservations, see the conference website. The Whitman Studies Association will sponsor two Whitman panels.

1. Walt Whitman in/and the Digital Humanities

Whitman’s life and writings have been the focus of digital humanities projects and the subject of massive open online courses. News of the discovery of a previously unknown journalistic series by Whitman recently went viral shortly after its publication in an online, open access journal. Digital approaches to reading and studying Whitman’s vast body of work are reshaping our interpretations of his poetry and prose and significantly changing what we know about America’s poet. This session seeks papers that highlight the application of digital humanities methods to the studying or teaching of Whitman’s writings and/or that consider the impact of digital access and/or digital publishing on the field of Whitman Studies.

We are especially interested in papers that: (1) Utilize any digital humanities methodology (topic modeling, TEI/XML, GIS/Mapping, data visualization) to offer new ways of seeing, reading, and understanding Whitman’s work; (2) Utilize any digital humanities methods or tools (including the production of digital media by students) in the teaching of Whitman’s life and writings; (3) Analyze any digital project devoted in part or in whole to Whitman’s life and/or work; (4) Consider the impact of digitization, open access, or virality on Whitman scholarship and the future of Whitman Studies.

Please send one-page abstracts electronically no later than January 9, 2017, to Stephanie M. Blalock (stephanie-blalock@uiowa.edu).

2. Walt Whitman and Reconstruction

One hundred and fifty years ago, the nation began the still ongoing process of reconstructing itself after the devastating Civil War. Whitman’s involvement in and reactions to Reconstruction were complex and long-lasting. During the Reconstruction Era (1865-1877), he began his own reconstruction of Leaves of Grass, working to absorb the war into his lifelong book project. During the Reconstruction period, too, he worked in Washington, D.C., and dealt directly with many Reconstruction issues as a clerk in the office of the Attorney General. This panel will be dedicated to examining any aspect of Whitman and Reconstruction. Please send one-page abstracts electronically no later than January 9, 2017, to Ed Folsom (ed-folsom@uiowa.edu).

MOOC on Whitman and the Civil War

The University of Iowa's International Writing Program is launching a new massive open online course (MOOC), “Whitman's Civil War: Writing and Imaging Loss, Death, and Disaster,” on July 18, 2016. The course will run until September 5, 2016, and will focus on Whitman's writings about the American Civil War, including Drum-Taps and Memoranda During the War. The instructors are Whitman scholar Ed Folsom, the Roy J. Carver Professor of English at the University of Iowa, and poet Christopher Merrill, the director of the International Writing Program and a Professor of English at the University of Iowa. Each week, starting July 18, the instructors will post a new video class. There will be opportunities for students to discuss the readings, respond to instructors' questions, and to complete weekly creative assignments and receive feedback on creative projects.

This course is free; there are no registration costs or required costs. No previous experience with creative writing, Whitman's work, or literature is required. All participants are welcome! If you would like a certificate of completion, The University of Iowa offers this option for a fee.

To register and to learn more about the course, visit the MOOC's sign up page.

Whitman Making Books / Books Making Whitman available

Ed Folsom’s catalog/commentary for the Whitman Making Books / Books Making Whitman symposium and exhibition held at The University of Iowa in 2005 is now available for purchase from WWQR. The book is 80 pages, with over a hundred full-color illustrations of Whitman’s books. Folsom’s commentary explores Whitman as a bookmaker, as someone fully invested in the creation of his books. Tracing Whitman’s career as a printer and bookmaker from his early years in New York to his final years in Camden, New Jersey, Folsom has created what Joel Myerson in a review has described as “much more that the record of an exhibition—it is a biography of Whitman that will stand the test of time.” “Reversing [the] usual perspective,” writes Myerson, “Folsom focuses on Whitman’s print career to tell us about his life, both internal and external,” and, “in so doing, he overturns many critical assumptions about Whitman’s writings.” The book was published by The University of Iowa Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, and a limited number of copies are available for $15 (includes shipping). Checks should be made out to "WWQR" and sent to: Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, 308 EPB, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242-1492.