Call for Papers: Special Journal Issue of NAMES devoted to Children’s Literature, Names, and Naming

The American Name Society (ANS) is issuing its first call for abstracts for an upcoming special issue of the Society’s journal, NAMES.  This issue will be devoted to analysis and discussion of children’s literature, names, and naming. For many of us, one of the earliest and fondest memories includes story-time, when we discovered tales that had the power to inspire, calm, or chill the spirit.  Although over the years, the plots of most of those  stories may have faded from our memories, the names of many of those main characters and the fictional places they inhabited, have managed to survive.  For an upcoming special issue of NAMES, onomastic scholars and names enthusiasts are warmly invited to re-ignite that early childhood fascination and submit a paper that explores names and naming in literature intended for children and/or adolescents.  From the names of places, people, animals, and plants to the monikers of ferries, goblins, witches, and hobbits–any type of name from any period of time or language is welcome.  Papers examining author names, be they real or pseudonyms, are also invited.   The primary works examined may be fiction or non-fiction. The only stipulation for submission is that the primary intended reading audience of the piece(s)  of literature investigated must be children and/or adolescents/juveniles.

Proposal Submission Process

  • Abstract proposals (max. 500 words, excluding the title and references) should be sent as a PDF email attachment to Dr. I. M. Nick (nameseditor@gmail.com)
  • For organizational purposes, the proposals must include “CHILD2020” in the subject line of the email
  • All proposals must include an abstract, title, and a preliminary list of references;
    the full name(s) of the author(s), the author(‘s’) affiliation(s) must appear in the body of the email and NOT the abstract itself
  • In the case of multi-authored submission, one person must be clearly designated as the primary contact
  • The DEADLINE for abstract submission is June 15, 2021. Authors will be notified about acceptance on or by July 15, 2021
  • Final papers (max 5,000 words, excluding abstracts and references) will be due October 15, 2021

For further information about this call, please feel free to contact Dr. I. M. Nick (nameseditor@gmail.com).

NAMES Vol 69 Issue #1 is published!

We are delighted to announce that the new issue of NAMES is now published! NAMES 69:1 is available online at its new home at the University of Pittsburgh as an open access journal.

All articles in this and past journals are available for free, as downloadable PDFs.

If you are a subscriber to the print version of the journal, it should be arriving at your address in a couple of weeks.

About Names: 2020 Name of the Year no surprise given dominance of politics, pandemic

Vice President Kamala Harris

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his January 31st column, he reviews the ANS Names of the Year.

Pandemic and politics dominated names last year, along with the rest of our lives.
This year, like most organizations, the American Name Society (ANS) held its annual meeting online. On Jan. 24, ANS voted COVID-19 and Kamala as co-winners of the Name of the Year – the first time ANS has had a tie, fitting how unique 2020 was!
ANS chooses Names of the Year for Place Names, Artistic-Literary Names, Personal Names, Trade Names, ENames and Miscellaneous Names before picking the overall Name of the Year.

COVID-19 won the Miscellaneous Names category. On Feb. 11, 2020, the World Health Organization announced “COVID-19” as the official name for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. It’s short for “coronavirus disease first recognized in 2019.” Certainly no name, not even created until six weeks after a year started, has ever dominated the world’s consciousness as COVID-19 has.

Kamala was a nominee for Personal Name of the Year. The first name of our new vice president, Kamala Devi Harris, became an issue when U.S. Sen. David Perdue of Georgia referred to her as “KAH-mah-la, or Kah-MAH-la, or KAH-mah-la or Kamala-mala-mala, I don’t know, whatever,” at a Trump rally on Oct. 16. This mockery, considered racist by many, led Perdue Foods to issue a statement pointing out the senator had no connection to them, and was widely perceived as one reason why Perdue was forced into a runoff with Jon Ossoff in the November election. He lost the runoff on Jan. 5. Kamala, pronounced “Comma-lah”, is a Sanskrit name meaning “lotus,” inspired by the Hindu heritage of Shyamala Gopalan, Harris’ mother.

Call for Papers for the Modern Language Association (MLA) Conference, Washington, DC, January 6-9, 2022

“Washington DC” by barnyz is licensed with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

ANS Panel at the Modern Language Association Conference: Literary Onomastics: Theory and Practice

January 6-9 2022, Washington, DC

Literary onomastics is a burgeoning subject, still in the process of establishing its status, with very few book-length studies examining the discipline in detail. Notable 21st-century examples include Leonard Ashley’s Names in Literature (2003), Alastair Fowler’s Literary Names: Personal Names in English Literature (2012), and Martyna Gibka’s Literary Onomastics: A Theory (2019). Champions of the discipline often argue that it provides an additional lens that complements extant approaches to the language of literature, rather than making any claims for general theories of literary names and naming. Papers accepted for this panel will explore literary onomastics in theory and practice. Examples of themes that can be addressed include literary names and stylistics; literary onomastics and literary theory; literary names and social or cultural theory; socio-onomastics and literature.

For more information about the MLA, check out the official website.

Proposal submission process:

  1. Abstracts proposals (350 words) should be sent as an email attachment (PDF format) to Dr Maggie Scott (m.r.scott@salford.ac.uk)
  2. Proposals should include “MLA 2022 proposal” in the subject line of the email
  3. All submissions must include an abstract, title, full name(s) of the author(s), the author(s) affiliation(s), and email address(s) in the body of the email and NOT with the abstract
  4. DEADLINE: Proposals must be received by 8pm GMT on 29 March 2021. Authors will be notified about the results of the blind review on or by 5 April 2021
  5. Contributors selected for the thematic panel must be members of both MLA and ANS in order to present their papers, and members of MLA by 7 April 2021
  6. For further information, please contact Dr Maggie Scott (m.r.scott@salford.ac.uk).

A downloadable version of the Call for Papers can be found here.

More information about ANS and MLA conferences is available on the Conferences page of this website.

Join the ANS

American Name SocietyIf you enjoy reading about names, we encourage you to join the ANS and share your name news with us! Note that we now have a new, very affordable membership tier which costs only $20.

Membership in the ANS allows access to a community of scholars and its communications, as well as eligibility to present at the ANS annual conferences, and to submit articles to NAMES.

Join today!

About Names: Beatles song accelerates Michelle’s boom

Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his January 17th column, he looks at the history of the name Michelle.

Michèle and Michelle are French feminine forms of Michel, French version of “Michael.” Michael is Hebrew for “Who is like God?”, a rhetorical question implying “No one’s like God.” One of only four angels mentioned by name in the Bible, St. Michael was popular throughout medieval Europe. Occasionally girls were named after him, though in medieval England there was no separate feminine form. Listed as “Michaela” in official records, they were called “Michael” in everyday life.

Though a few French girls were named Michelle before modern times, it was very rare, not coming into regular use until 1920. Before 1940, Micheline was the more common French feminine for Michel.

“Michelle” was one of the Beatles’ greatest hits, winning the 1967 Grammy for Song of the Year. Versions were recorded by many other artists. Though Michelle would probably have soon been a Top 10 name without it, there’s no doubt the song accelerated its boom. It peaked at #2 in 1968, when 2.6% of American girls were named Michelle or Michele.

Call for Papers: Special Journal Issue of NAMES devoted to Toponyms and Literaryscapes

The American Name Society (ANS) is issuing its first call for abstracts for an upcoming special issue of the Society’s journal, NAMES.  This issue will be devoted to analysis and discussion of toponyms and literaryscapes. Although toponyms are often taken for granted in our daily lives, they carry considerable potential for acquiring personal and social meanings depending on their contexts and co-texts of use. These multi-layered meanings are often utilized by authors as literary resources for evoking associations or invoking evaluative positioning. Papers accepted for this special issue will explore how the meanings of place-names—be they real or fictional—may be effectively harnessed to shape literary settings within specific works or by specific authors. Examples of themes that can be addressed include—but are not limited to—toponyms choice/invention and their connotations; toponyms in translation; toponyms in literary theory; and toponyms and intertextuality. You can download the call for papers here.

Proposal Submission Process:

  1. Abstracts proposals (max. 500 words) should be sent as an email attachment (PDF format) to Vice President, Dr. Luisa Caiazzo (luisa.caiazzo@unibas.it). Proposals should include a preliminary list of references.
  2. Proposals should include “NAMES 2021 proposal” in the subject line of the email.
  3. All submissions must include an abstract title, the full name(s) of the author(s), the author(s) affiliation(s), and email address(s) in the body of the email and NOT in the abstract.
  4. DEADLINE: Proposals must be received by 8pm GMT on 15 March 2021. Authors will be notified about the results of the blind review on or by 10 April 2021.
  5. The deadline for final papers is 31 July 2021.
  6. For further information, please contact ANS Vice President, Dr. Luisa Caiazzo (luisa.caiazzo@unibas.it).

Last chance to register for the 2021 ANS Conference, Online, January 22-24, 2021

Registration is open for the 2021 ANS Conference. The ANS conference will take place on the Crowdcast platform from January 22-24, 2021.

You can register online here, or download a PDF of the Conference Registration Form and mail it to ANS Treasurer Saundra Wright, as per the instructions on the form.

The schedule is available here!

For more information about the ANS Conference, please visit our Conference Page.

We look forward to seeing you there!

About Names: Country singing sensation momentarily revives Garth’s popularity

LOS ANGELES – MARCH 14: Garth Brooks arrives for the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards on March 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Glenn Francis/Pacific Pro Digital Photography)

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his December 20th column, he looks at the history of the name Garth.

Garth is an English surname derived from Middle English “garth,” itself from Old Norse “garðr,” “enclosure,” indicating one’s ancestor lived by a garden or orchard. Only 402 people with Garth as a last name were listed in the 1940 United States census. However, actress Jennie Garth (Kelly Taylor on “Beverly Hills, 90210”) has made it well-known.

When the custom of turning last names into boys’ given names began around 1800, Garth became a first name. The 1850 census includes three Garths, all in Kentucky, with the oldest, Garth M. Kimbrough, born Jan. 1, 1820.

Garth left the top 1,000 names in 1983. Then in 1989 Garth Brooks became a country singing sensation. His second album, “No Fences” (1990), containing “Friends in Low Places,” the Country Music Award’s Single of the Year, sold 17 million copies. Boys named Garth skyrocketed 360% to rank 658th in 1992. The name then collapsed, leaving the top 1,000 again in 1994.