Our keynote speaker

Ralph Ellison in His Labyrinth

Opening keynote lecture by Eric Sundquist, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities, the Department of English at Johns Hopkins University.

Eric J. Sundquist is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanties at Johns Hopkins University, where he teaches in the Department of English.  Professor Sundquist received his B.A. from the University of Kansas and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.  He has also taught at the University of California, Berkeley, and Vanderbilt University and is the author or editor of thirteen books, including King’s Dream (2009); Strangers in the Land: Blacks, Jews, Post-Holocaust America (2005), which received the Weinberg Judaic Studies Institute Book Award; To Wake the Nations: Race in the Making of American Literature (1992), which received the Christian Gauss Award from Phi Beta Kappa and the James Russell Lowell Award from the Modern Language Association; The Hammers of Creation: Folk Culture in Modern African American Literature (1993); Faulkner: The House Divided (1985); and Home as Found: Authority and Genealogy in Nineteenth-Century American Literature (1979), which received the Gustave Arlt Award from the Council of Graduate Schools in the United States.
He has edited essay collections devoted to Mark Twain, Ralph Ellison, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and W. E. B. Du Bois, and contributed to the Cambridge History of American Literature (reprinted as Empire and Slavery in American Literature, 1820-1865).  He has served on the National Council of the American Studies Association and the Executive Council of the Modern Language Association, and directed four summer seminars for the National Endowment for the Humanities.  From 1997 to 2002, he was Dean of the Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University.  In 1997 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and currently serves on its Council.  In 2007 he was named a recipient of a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


Flyer published

This major gathering of leading Ellison scholars begins with the premise that Ralph Ellison is a major voice for understanding America in the 21st century. In the wake of the recent publication of Ellison’s unfinished second novel, Three Days Before the Shooting… , this symposium seeks to understand Ellison’s entire body of work, in an effort to appreciate and assess his unique contribution to American literature and culture. The speakers and panels will include:

Friday, March 16, 8 p.m., Lee Chapel:
Opening keynote lecture by Eric Sundquist, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities, the Department of English at Johns Hopkins University

Saturday, March 17:
“Invisible Man 60 Years Later: Ellison’s Masterpiece in the 21st Century”: panel featuring Herman Beavers, Robert Butler, Bryan Crable, Ross Posnock, Patrice Rankin (Northen Auditorium, 9-10:30 a.m.)

“Three Days Before the Shooting…: Ellison’s Ongoing Epic of America”: panel featuring Marc Conner, Lena Hill, Timothy Parrish, Grant Shreve (Northen Auditorium, 11-12:30)

“Ralph Ellison and American Culture: Ellison Past, Present, and Future”: panel featuring Steven Ealy, Pamela Jensen, Lucas Morel, Peter Schramm (Northen Auditorium, 2-3:30)

Student roundtable, featuring invited papers on Ellison’s Work by Hillary Cooper ’14, Katherine Webb ’13, Kate Norvelle ’12, Jenece Upton ’12, Kathryne Ackell ’13, and Bradley Harder ’12 (Northen Auditorium, 4-5)

Closing dinner and concluding keynote: John Callahan, Morgan S. Odell Professor of the Humanities, Lewis and Clark College (Hillel Multipurpose Room, 6-8 pm)

This symposium will seek to interrogate these new directions in Ellison studies, to chart the new territory that Ellison offers for the 21st century.
Sponsored by: The Ralph Ellison Foundation, The Ralph Ellison Society, the Departments of Politics, English, and African-American Studies at Washington and Lee University