The John Steinbeck Society of America presents

Steinbeck and the Politics of Crisis:

Ethics, Society, and Ecology

May 1-3, 2013

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Library

San José State University


Sponsored by the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies

Keynote Speaker

Mimi Gladstein, University of Texas, El Paso

Conference Director

Nicholas P. Taylor, Director, Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies

Conference Steering Committee

Tom Barden, University of Toledo

Mary M. Brown, Indiana Wesleyan University

Danica Čerče, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Paul Douglass, San Jose State University

Barbara Heavilin, Professor Emeritus, Taylor University

Luchen Li, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Wednesday, May 1

11:00AM - 12:00PM


Center for Steinbeck Studies, MLK Library 5th Floor

12:00PM - 1:00PM

Buffet Lunch

Center for Steinbeck Studies, MLK Library 5th Floor

1:15PM - 2:30PM

Welcome and Keynote Address

Schiro Program Room, MLK Library 5th Floor


Nicholas P. Taylor

Director, Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies

San José State University

Keynote Address

Mimi R. Gladstein

Professor of English and Theatre Arts

University of Texas at El Paso

Outgoing President, John Steinbeck Society of America

2:45PM - 4:00PM (Concurrent Sessions)

The Moral Philosophy of Winter

Schiro Program Room, MLK Library 5th Floor

Barbara A. Heavilin

Professor Emeritus, Taylor University

“‘To the other side of home where the lights are given’:  Ethan Allen Hawley’s Search for Meaning in Steinbeck’s The Winter of Our Discontent”

Joseph Allegretti

Siena College

”Why Ethan Hawley Does Such Bad Things: Morals and Moral Traps”

Note: This paper will be presented in absentia.

Richard E. Hart

Bloomfield College

The Winter of Our Discontent and Moral Progress”

The Female Space

MLK Library Rooms 225/229

Maygan Barker

Brigham Young University Idaho

“Cathy and the Choices Made in Eden”

David Hartwig

University of Toledo

”Conflict and Education in ‘The Chrysanthemums’”

Julianna Restivo

University of Toledo

“Crisis of the Female Body: Childbirth and the Environment in Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath

4:15PM - 5:30PM (Concurrent Sessions)

Reports from Overseas

Schiro Program Room, MLK Library 5th Floor

Danica Čerče

University of Ljubljana

“On Steinbeck's Critical Fortunes in Eastern Europe”

Luchen Li

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

“Steinbeck’s Engagement with U.S. and International Governments”

Kiyoshi Yamauchi

Niimi College

Burning Bright was burning bright in Japan”

Mavericks Married: Carol and John Steinbeck

MLK Library Rooms 225/229

Susan Shillinglaw

San José State University

“Presenting a New Biography of Carol and John Steinbeck”

5:30PM - 7:00PM

Dinner (on your own)

7:30PM - 9:00PM

Steinbeck Fellows Reading

Center for Steinbeck Studies, MLK Library 5th Floor

Join us for a reading of new fiction by the 2012-2013 Steinbeck Fellows. These fellowships are awarded annually by the Center for Steinbeck Studies to emerging writers of exceptional promise. This event is free and open to the public.

L. Rebecca Harris

Ms. Harris is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of San Francisco, where she earned a Master of Arts in Writing. She was an original member of WritersCorp, a unit of Americorps, the domestic Peace Corps program established by President Clinton. Through WritersCorps, she worked on several creative-writing projects with young people throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. She has taught English and Creative Writing to middle school, high school and community college students. Currently, she is a community college English instructor. She lives in Oakland, California.

Marian Palaia

Ms. Palaia received her MFA in 2012 from The University of Wisconsin at Madison, where she was the prose editor for Devil’s Lake. She also holds an MA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State. She was nominated for a 2010 AWP Intro Award, has received a Seattle Arts Council Individual Artists Award, has had stories published in Passages North and River Oak Review, and has twice been a Glimmer Train Fiction Award finalist. Marian is currently working on a novel, a collection of short stories, and a collection of non-fiction pieces, which are not necessarily about dogs, but do feature some. She and her dog Tupelo grew up together in Missoula, Montana.

Thursday, May 2

9:00AM - 9:30AM

Coffee Reception

Center for Steinbeck Studies, MLK Library 5th Floor

9:30AM - 10:45AM (Concurrent Sessions)

Fresh Critical Approaches

Schiro Program Room, MLK Library 5th Floor

Tom Barden

University of Toledo

“He Was Translated: Euhemerism in the works and worldview of John Steinbeck”

Mukta Mahajan

North Maharashtra University, India

“Novelist as Philosopher: An Oriental Appreciation of Steinbeck”

Ryder W. Miller

Independent Scholar

“John Steinbeck, Spaceship Earth Cosmonaut”

John Steinbeck, Eco-Critic

MLK Library Rooms 225/229

Elisabeth Bayley

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

“An Ecocritical Analysis of John Steinbeck’s To a God Unknown

Zach Fishel

University of Toledo

“To a Man Unknown: Steinbeck and Metaphysical Responses to Land Crisis”

Dr. SD Palwekar

Rashtrasant Tukdoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Nagpur, India

“Ecoconsciousness in Select Works of John Steinbeck”

11:00AM - 12:15PM (Concurrent Sessions)

A Catalogue of Steinbeck Archivists

Schiro Program Room, MLK Library 5th Floor

Herb Behrens

National Steinbeck Center, Salinas

Dennis Copeland

Monterey Public Library

Donald Kohrs

Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University

John Straw

Ball State University

Note: The material presented by Mr. Straw, who could not attend the conference, will be photocopied and distributed to the audience.

Peter Van Coutren

Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies

San José State University

Pushing the Boundaries of Genre

MLK Library Rooms 225/229

Katie Karnehm

Indiana Wesleyan University

“‘And Still the Box Is Not Full’: Creative Nonfiction and Redemption in Steinbeck”

Ryder W. Miller

Independent Scholar

“John Steinbeck and Genre Fiction”

Zeke Saber

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

“Authentically Distant? A Study of John Steinbeck”

12:00PM - 1:00PM

Buffet Lunch

Center for Steinbeck Studies, MLK Library 5th Floor

1:15PM - 2:30PM (Concurrent Sessions)

Man and Machine

Schiro Program Room, MLK Library 5th Floor

Laura DeLucia        

University of Toledo

“Reading the Signs on Route 66: Positioning Steinbeck's Automobiles”

Renata Lucena Dalmaso

Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina / University of Michigan

“‘Modern Monsters,’ Old Habits: Relationships Between Nature, Humans, and Technology in John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath

Perspectives on The Pearl

MLK Library Rooms 225/229

Kamlakar K Askar

Dhanwate National College, Nagpur University, Nagpur, India

“Steinbeck's The Pearl: A Saga of the Pauper”

Ed Sams

San José State University

"Steinbeck's Haunted Tree:  Two versions of The Pearl"

Shane Wood

La Sierra University

“The Pearl, the Payoff, and the Repercussion: An Analysis of Quickly Obtained Wealth and its Ramifications in Steinbeck’s The Pearl and Collins’ The Hunger Games

2:45PM - 4:00PM (Concurrent Sessions)

Steinbeck and Race in America

Schiro Program Room, MLK Library 5th Floor

Alicia Contreras

University of California, Riverside

“The Troubled Southwest: Regionalist Imperatives in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and Américo Paredes’s George Washington Gómez

Jason A. Harvey

Central Michigan University

“Traveling Inequality: Race Relations’ Plight Blights an Esteemed Career”

Kotaro Nakagaki

Daito Bunka University, Japan, and Chief Director, The John Steinbeck Society of Japan

“Imagining the American Eden: Searching for the Origins of America and Americans

Steinbeck and the Human Animal

MLK Library Rooms 225/229

Zhang Changsong

Concord University College, Fujian Normal University

“Steinbeck’s Biological View of Man”

Barnaby McLaughlin

University of Rhode Island

“Poodles Maketh the Man: Companion Species and American Identity in John Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley

Maria Roxana Murgulet

University of Craiova, Romania

“Morality - the Outcome of Evolutionary Mechanisms in John Steinbeck's Writing”

Note: This paper will be presented in absentia.

4:15PM - 5:30PM (Concurrent Sessions)

New Economic Approaches

Schiro Program Room, MLK Library 5th Floor

Jose Atil

La Sierra University

“The Grief and Pain of Mice and Men: Regio-ecomarxism in the Shadow of the Salinas Valley of Death”

Jeffrey Yeager

West Virginia University

“Waiting for Lefty: Re-Reading In Dubious Battle through the Lens of Clifford Odets”

Tracing Influences

MLK Library Rooms 225/229

Jerry Entze

University of Portland

“The Winning of Tom Joad: Examining the Harold Bell Wright/John Steinbeck Connection”

Jamie Renda

The University of Toledo

"Of Mice and Men and Monsters: Steinbeck's Beowulf Gloss"

Friday, May 3

9:00AM - 9:30AM

Coffee Reception

Center for Steinbeck Studies, MLK Library 5th Floor

9:30AM - 10:45AM (Concurrent Sessions)

Eugenics, Disability, and the Courts

Schiro Program Room, MLK Library 5th Floor

Kevin Hearle

Independent Scholar

"'I wouldn' tell nobody what happened': Tom Joad and McAlester Prison"

Kathleen Hicks

Arizona State University

“The Negative Impact of the Lennie Small Figure on Americans’ Perceptions of People with Developmental Delays”

Yuji Kami

Soka University, Tokyo, Japan

“Steinbeck's Naturalistic Creed: Focusing on Of Mice and Men

Pastures of Heaven

MLK Library Rooms 225/229

Paul S. Allison

Indiana Wesleyan University

“The Pastures of Heaven: A Novel Collision of Stories”

Mary M. Brown

Indiana Wesleyan University

“To Read a Fine Thing: An Ekphrastic Response to Steinbeck”

Alesya Petty

San José State University

“Problems of Steinbeck’s Poetics: Polyphony, Harmony, and Dissonance in The Pastures of Heaven” (Winner of Louis Owens Essay Prize)

11:00AM - 12:15PM (Concurrent Sessions)

Violence and War Reporting

Schiro Program Room, MLK Library 5th Floor

John J. Han and Aya Kubota

Missouri Baptist University (USA) and Bunka Gakuen University (Japan), respectively

“Repulsed and Fascinated: Steinbeck’s Ambivalent Representation of Violence”

Felicia M Preece

University of Toledo

“Front Lines to Front Pages: the by-lines of John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway”

On Cannery Row

MLK Library Rooms 225/229

Micah Levi Conkling

West Virginia University

“‘Half Christ and Half Satyr’: Seeing the Postsecular in Cannery Row

Bill Lancaster

Texas A&M - Commerce

“The Inverted Economy of Steinbeck’s Cannery Row Ecology”

James Lethbridge

Bloomfield College

“Humanity Reflected in a Tide Pool: Steinbeck, Cannery Row, and Pre-Socratic Philosophy”

12:00PM - 1:00PM

Buffet Lunch

Center for Steinbeck Studies, MLK Library 5th Floor


Departure for Steinbeck Festival in Salinas (optional)


The conference steering committee wishes to thank the staff of the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies, including Administrative Assistant Sabrina Nichols, Archivist Peter Van Coutren, and Graduate Assistant Mike Adams, for their help organizing this event. Thanks also to Paul Douglass of the SJSU Department of English and Comparative Literature; Dean Lisa Vollendorf of the SJSU College of Humanities and the Arts; Dean Ruth Kifer of the University Library; Cathy Busalacchi of Student Union; Candice McGee and Dave Daley of MLK Library; Roberto Mena of the Instructional Resource Center; Rose Hunter and Louise Klein of Spartan Catering; Stephanie Fabian of Spartan Shops; Kevin Lowe of A.S. Print Shop; Colleen Bailey and Elizabeth Weldon-Smith of the National Steinbeck Center; Will Ray of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Salinas; Adrienne Glasgow of Canary Marketing; and the members of the Center for Steinbeck Studies Advisory Board: Jim Levitt, Ted Cady, Art Ring, Ron Naymark, Ed Alvarez, Tom Hayes, Cindy Lazares, Ned Hearn, Jeff Holmes, and Michael Hemp.

Special thanks go to Dr. Martha Heasley Cox, Professor Emerita of English at San Jose State, who founded the Steinbeck Research Center at San Jose State College in 1973. The Center was renamed in her honor in 1997, and it is no exaggeration to say that without Martha’s vision and her continued financial support of the Center, we would not be gathered in San Jose today.