NASSR, 2023–Romanticism and Justice at SHSU

The LEAP Center is always on the hunt for quality events, and when we heard the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism was being hosted at SHSU–and that the lead organizer was Dr. Michael Demson–we knew we’d found one.

The Conference is taking place over three days, March 30-April 1, with dozens of panels, workshops, entertainment, tours, and other interesting and entertaining programs. LEAP assisted with one of these, a tour of the Huntsville Unit for a group of students, conference attendees, and SHSU staff. Mostly, though, we just enjoyed the conference, benefitting from the great work of Demson and an entire conference committee from individuals across campus and, in fact, from campuses across North America.

The meat of the conference was from the plenary speakers and the panels, both virtual and in-person, with approximately 200 people attending.

LEAP students attended a few of these, including the first-day plenary speaker, Professor Doran Larson, who, among his many titles, is the Director of the American Prison Writing Archive, and he was introduced ably by Professor Michael Demson.

Professor Larsen discussed the distinct themes in prison writing, noting how little they had changed over time, a reflection of the horrible state, as he sees it, of our prison system.


His presentation generated much interest and discussion.

The conference picked up the next day, with a full day of panels, which we were able to attend. We saw great panels featuring professors not only from the United States, but from around the world. All of the panels helped us learn about justice, literature, and many different cultures.

We even learned about Finnish literature from SHSU’s own Dr. Helen Halamari, with her husband Dr. Rob Adams in attendance.

This was our favorite panel. Interesting fact: not only is Dr. Halamari a TSUS Regents Professor, she also has a Ph.D., and four different Master’s Degrees.

Many kudos to Dr. Demson and the great staff (Deanna Briones, Sarie Fuller, Yahneed John, Brittany Johnson, Jerin Milan, and Rhonda Owens) who helped bring this conference to SHSU.