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CFP: Roth and Arendt

Roth and Arendt

The Philip Roth Society invites papers for a panel on Philip Roth and Hannah Arendt at the American Literature Association conference in Washington D.C., May 22-25, 2014.

Philip Roth and Hannah Arendt share the distinction of inciting two of the most famous (some might say infamous) controversies in twentieth-century American letters. The year 1963 began with Arendt publishing her report on Adolf Eichmann’s trial and ended with Roth defending himself in the December issue of Commentary from charges that his fiction was “dangerous, dishonest, and irresponsible” and that he himself was “anti-Semitic and ‘self-hating,’ or, at least, tasteless.” While the timing and the specific charges against each writer indicate one historical intersection, Roth’s connections to Arendt are both wider and richer than the public terms of either controversy suggest. The Roth Society invites papers that examine Roth’s work alongside Arendt’s political, ethical and cultural thought. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, post-Holocaust Jewish and American identities; the immigration and assimilation of European DPs; the war-crimes trials of Eichmann and of John Demjanjuk; revolution and terrorism; public appearance and performance in American political life; representation as an aesthetic and a political principle; promising and forgiveness in the body politic; the banality of evil and the evil of banality; the importance and the fragility of historical facts.

Proposals/abstracts (not exceeding 300 words) for 20-minute papers should be emailed to the Roth Society Program Chair, David Gooblar, at, by January 15. Please include institutional affiliation and full contact details. To present a paper as a part of a Roth Society panel, participants must be members of the Philip Roth Society, as well as register for the conference. For membership information, please see the Society’s website at For information about the ALA, please visit the conference website at

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