The Profane West

Big Sky, Montana

September 21-24, 2016

The profane: not limited to the blasphemous or the obscene, but rather encompassing that which is underrepresented, undervalued, censored, denied, and/or secretly shared. Unofficial and unsanctioned pleasures and punishments. The necessary complement of the sacred, helping both to define and erode it.

The 51st annual Western Literature Conference, hosted by Linda Karell (Montana State University), will take place in the spectacular natural beauty and undeniable tourist development that is Big Sky, Montana. We invite you to think about “the profane West” in ways that challenge entrenched definitions/conceptions/celebrations of the West—including the once subversive.

In addition to proposals on the conference theme and any aspects of literature about the North American West, we especially encourage innovative proposals on the following:

°  Indigenous literatures of and about the West
°  Feminist and queer approaches to Western literature
°  Women’s autobiographical and memoir writing
°  Pedagogy and K-12 issues in Western literature
°  Animals (and sacred cows) in Western literature
°  Montana literature and writers

Proposals for panels and roundtable discussions should include an abstract for each paper or presentation. Deadline: June 1, 2016.

Please direct your questions to

For more information about the Western Literature Association visit their website here.