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8:30 Continental Breakfast
9:00 Welcome:

Organizers: Shelley Fisher Fishkin, Gavin Jones, Meta DuEwa Jones, Arnold Rampersad, Richard Yarborough

Introductory paper:
Joanne Braxton (College of William and Mary), Dunbar: The Originator (introduced by Shelley Fisher Fishkin)

Session 1: This Man Shall Be Remembered

Moderator: James Miller (George Washington University)

Joanne Gabbin (James Madison University), Intimate Intercessions: The Poetry of Dunbar

Elizabeth McHenry (New York University), Beyond the Presence of Dunbar

Greg Robinson, (Université du Quebec ŕ Montreal, Canada), Lillian Robinson (Concordia University, Canada), Dunbar: A Credit to His Race?


Session 2: Realism, Humor, and Dialect

Moderator: Loretta Woodard (Marygrove College)

Jennifer Hughes (Emory University), Representing "A Ghastly Humor": The Politics of Incongruity in Paul Laurence Dunbar's The Fanatics

John Lowe (Louisiana State University), Exploding the Laughing Barrel: Dunbar and American Humor

Nadia Nurhussein (University of Massachusetts, Boston), Dunbar's Performances and Epistolary Dialect Poetry

12:00 Lunch Break
1:15 Session 3: Faith and Folklore

Moderator: Gavin Jones

Marcellus Blount (Columbia University), Slavery Remembered: Dunbar and the African American Elegy

Michael Cohen (New York University), Dunbar and the Genres of Dialect

Yolanda Pierce (University of Kentucky), That Old Time Religion: An Afro-Christian Faith Tradition in Dunbar's Short Stories

Lauri Ramey (California State University, LA), The Old Homestead: Home in the Spirituals and Dunbar


Session 4: The Racial Politics of the Nadir

Moderator: Richard Yarborough

James Smethurst (University of Massachusetts), Dunbar and Turn of the Century African American Dualism

Jennifer Terry (University of Durham, UK), "When Dey 'Listed Colored Soldiers": Dunbar's Poetic Engagement with the Civil War and Violence

Nicole Waligora-Davis (Cornell University), Lynchings: Fictions of Law, Evidence, and Science in the Writings of Dunbar

Kenneth Warren (University of Chicago), Some Men are Born Great, Some Achieve Greatness, and Others Lived During the Reconstruction Period: Dunbar and the Character of History


Afternoon Tea

5:30 - 6:30

Performance: "Dunbar's Children", Levinthal Hall, Stanford Humanities Center.

(See larger version of the poster)

poster"Dunbar's Children," a performance by Stanford students of Dunbar's poems about and for children, produced in coordination with the Committee on Black Performing Arts and the Department of Drama. Introduction by Michele Elam (Stanford University). Directed by Harry J. Elam, Jr.(Stanford University). Assistant Director: Jo-Issa Diop. Cast: Mondaire Lamar Jones, Naima Green, Philana Omorotionmwan, and William Lowell Von Hoerne. [Introduced by Arnold Rampersad]

Exhibit on 19th-century Childhood at Cantor Arts Center
During the conference, one of the most comprehensive art exhibitions in recent decades to deal with American childhood, American ABC: Childhood in 19th-Century America, will be on display at Stanford's Cantor Arts Center. The Cantor Arts Center is open 11-5 Wednesday-Sunday.


8:30 Continental Breakfast
9:00 Introductory paper:
Deborah McDowell (University of Virginia), Pictures and Poetry: Dunbar and the Tradition of the Photo-Text (Introduced by Arnold Rampersad)

Session 5: Framing Dunbar

Moderator: Cary Wintz (Texas Southern University)

William J. Maxwell (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), Dunbar's Bohemian Gallery: Foreign Color and International Modernism

Ray Sapirstein (New York City), Picturing Dunbar's Lyrics: The Poet's Collaboration with the Hampton Camera Club

Reynolds Scott-Childress (State University of New York, New Paltz), Dunbar and the Project of Cultural Reconstruction


Session 6: Beyond Blackness

Moderator: Amritjit Singh (Rhode Island University/Ohio University)

Jennifer James (George Washington University), Dunbar's "The Fanatics" and the Post-Civil War Reconciliation Narrative

Gene Jarrett (University of Maryland, College Park), Second-Generation Realist; or, Dunbar the Naturalist

Thomas Leuchtenmüller (Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Switzerland), "'Tis thy breath perfumes the air": Paul Laurence Dunbar's Overlooked Play, "Herrick"

12:00 Lunch Break
1:15 Session 7: Traveling and Abroad

Moderator: Wilfred Samuels (University of Utah)

Adrian Gaskins (University of Colorado), From Dayton to Dahomey to Denver: Dunbar's Travels and the Movement of New Negroes in the Early Twentieth Century

Blair L.M. Kelley (North Carolina State University), Did not once have to take a 'Jim Crow' Car: The Travels of Dunbar in the Age of Segregation

Xilao Li (William Rainey Harper College), A Chinese Reading of Dunbar


Session 8: Legacies

Moderator: Meta DuEwa Jones

Elizabeth Alexander (Yale University), Dunbar Today: Exploring the Ongoing Influence of Dunbar on Contemporary African-American Poetry

Donna Akiba Harper (Spelman College), Dunbar's Influences on Langston Hughes

Harryette Mullen (UCLA), "When He is Least Himself": Dunbar and Double Consciousness in African-American Poetry

Aldon L. Nielsen (Penn State University), Purple Haze - Dunbar's Lyric Legacy


Final Paper:
David Bradley (University of Oregon), Factoring Out Race: The Cultural Context of Paul Laurence Dunbar


Closing Reception, Stanford Humanities Center


End of conference

There will be an exhibit of Dunbar primary materials in Stanford's collection, displayed in the lobby of Green Library during the conference. The exhibit is titled “Majors and Minors: The Multivalent Paul Laurence Dunbar." Curator: Ray Sapirstein; Assistant Curator: Rhonda Goodman.

Exhibit in Green Library


Curator: Ray Sapirstein
Assistant Curator: Rhonda Goodman

As part of the Paul Laurence Dunbar Centennial Conference a small exhibit featuring Stanford's diverse holdings of Dunbar's works will be mounted in Green Library. Among the most celebrated African-American figures at the turn of the twentieth century, Dunbar published manifold works of fiction, poetry, journalism, and popular musical lyrics in a short career spanning only thirteen years. The exhibit highlights six books of Dunbar's African-American dialect poetry illustrated with photographs, landmarks in African-American history, literature, and visual culture. The exhibit will be on view from March 8-20, 2006, in the lobby of Green Library's East Wing. Non-Stanford visitors will require a photo ID in order to sign in and gain access to the library. Library hours are 8-6 Friday, 9-9 Saturday, and noon-midnight Sunday.