2014 CFP: Comparative Languages and Theory

Search the CFP:

Affect, Trauma, and Memory in Contemporary Postcolonial Poetics (Seminar)
This seminar seeks papers on innovative poetic works (such as Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee) that engage the task of writing about the violent experience of colonial history in order to correct ‘history’s record’ and bring to the page the ‘other’ record of unnarrated experiences. These works may rethink, revisit, re-inhabit the effects of colonial legacy and the affect of history as transgenerational trauma. Send 300 word proposals to Carla Billitteri, Department of English, University of Maine, carla.billitteri@umit.maine.edu
Ancient Drama, Modern Interpretation
This panel will explore the modernization of ancient drama in the hopes of discovering new insights into these ancient works and their relationship with the modern world. Possible topics might include new translations, modern adaptations or performances of ancient material, new literary interpretations through the application of modern theory, investigations of new technology in relation to ancient drama, etc. Please send abstracts to Shelly Jansen, Rochester Institute of Technology, shelly.jansen@gmail.com
Bridging the Two Cultures: Intersections of Science and Literature
This panel invites papers discussing literary uses of science / scientists or scientific uses of literature. We are interested in the contexts in which the gap between the disciplines is bridged and what such confluences tell us about their presumed differences and similarities. Possible extensions of the topic include reflection on the two cultures in other narrative media -- film, graphic novels, video games, etc. All critical and theoretical approaches welcome. Please send 200 - 300 word abstracts to aio2101@columbia.edu.
Caribbean Literature
This panel will take stock of the latest developments in Caribbean literature and theory since the publication of Edouard Glissant’s influential Caribbean Discourse (1981). In what ways has Glissant’s paradigm of creolization (as well as its legacies) been taken up and extended in literary and nonfictional works over the last two decades. Submit abstracts to cmardoro@buffalo.edu
Contemporary Realisms in Literature and Cinema
This panel will explore the emergence of contemporary forms of realism in literature and cinema. How do we historicize or theorize the re-emergence of realism in the present? How do contemporary writers or filmmakers reconfigure previous notions of mimesis and the ‘reality effect’? Please send 250-500 word abstracts to Jerónimo Arellano at jarellan@brandeis.edu.
Critical Feelings: Redefining Cultural Agency in Affect Theory (Seminar)
While affect theory has expanded the analysis of affect and emotion within the humanities, a surprisingly small set of feelings has taken prominence within the field. This panel seeks papers that expand the palette of affects traditionally analyzed within affect studies. How might these understudied affects operate as ‘critical’ in contemporary literature and culture? How can affect theory redefine our conceptions of cultural critique and critical agency more broadly? Email: tyler.bradway@gmail.com.
Cultural-ethnic Identities and Social Equality in African Diasporic Literature (Roundtable)
This roundtable will examine 1) how Afro-descendant characters construct and negotiate social, ethnic identities in the fictional literature from the African diaspora in Europe,the Caribbean, Latin America, and/or North America; 2) how inter-ethnic relations are played out in the context of social equality in this type of literature; 3) whether or how the postmodern genre works for the development of the complex diaspora identities of Afro-descendant characters. Please send 300-400 word abstracts and a short bio to Ines.Shaw@ncc.edu.
Dead Immigrants for a Lively Course? Teaching Language with Historic Resources (Roundtable)
Teachers of languages that are not spoken by larger groups of recent immigrants to the United States, e.g., German, often face the difficulty that native-speaker resources geographically close to their classroom are mostly historic artifacts. Panel participants will share ideas on how to use more or less historic resources from immigrant cultures with students of various language skills, how these resources con contribute to the acquisition of language skills, or how they can enrich literature and culture classes. Joerg Meindl: <meindl@lvc.edu>
Doing Violence in Literature and Photography (Seminar)
We seek papers that address how violence has been represented and conceptualized -made into an image- through the formal resources that arise out of the inter-aesthetic ground of literature and photography. From the advent of the Civil War up to the present War on Terror, literature and photography have struggled to find new means of representing violence. We welcome theoretical, historical, or textual engagements with the problem of representation of violence at the intersections of literature and photography. jfardy@uwo.ca; clanglo2@uwo.ca.
Humanism, Pedagogy, and Their Discontents in the European Renaissance
This panel seeks to trace the changes in and attitudes towards humanistic pedagogy over the course of the Renaissance, in the writing of poets and essayists, pedagogues and humanists, scientists and philosophers. The subject is pan-European, so papers from all national traditions are welcome. Please send papers to Alberto Cacicedo, Albright College, acacicedo@alb.edu.
Hybrid Genres: Testimony and the Literary Imagination
What is the role of ‘storytelling’ in national restorative justice processes? How important is the veracity of accounts in the genre of the testimonial? In what ways does fiction reveal hidden or alternative truths? How do narratives help reconstitute the past, preserve memory, and make national history? This panel invites papers that address hybrid genres, testimonials that make use of literary tropes and techniques or fiction that serves as a form of testimony. Please send 250-300 word abstracts to Terri Gordon, gordont@newschool.edu.
The Literary Legacy of Revelations (Seminar)
This seminar explores how the book of Revelations has been either commented on or alluded to in literary works by major writers coming from a variety of historical and cultural perspectives. The purpose is to look at Revelations and its wide-ranging literary legacy with a focus on the political and/or environmental significance of the texts that have made use of it. How have writers from the Middle Ages to the present day altered, adapted, challenged, or capitalized on Revelations? 200-word abstracts to Todd Williams williams@kutztown.edu.
Literature and the Environment at the End of the Holocene (Roundtable)
According to Bill McKibben, David Hanson, and others, the second decade of the 21st century marks the end of the 10,000 year period of stable climate, known as the Holocene, and the beginning of anthropogenic climate instability. How should literary theory and scholarship be used to respond to climate instability? What is the role of the literature scholar and teacher in this new era? How does one practice literary scholarship and environmental activism? What can historical literary scholarship provide? Abstracts to <hubbell@susqu.edu>
The Literature of Boredom
Schopenhauer calls boredom the ‘malady of the modern age.’ From medieval acedia to Baudelaire’s ennui to postmodern novels such as David Foster Wallace’s Pale King, boredom has been variously seen as capable of destroying the psyche of its victim or as a pathway to bliss. Can we connect the literature of boredom to changing historical or economic conditions, as Patricia Meyer Spacks does? To what extent is it generated by oppressive social structures? Please send abstracts on any time period or national literary tradition to gpierce@bu.edu.
Multicultural Folklore in Contemporary Fiction: Tracing the Roots
The panel’s emphasis is on the process by which folklore moves, changes and remanifests itself over time and through culture. Panel submissions may explore topics from the realms of Comparative Language and Literature, World Literature or Composition and Rhetoric Studies. Additionally, a multicultural folklore examination of texts from a Women’s and Gender Studies, Disability Studies, African American Studies or Queer Theory Lens is applicable. Please send brief abstracts to Caroline Burke <caroline.burke@stonybrook.edu>
New Yorks: Literary Languages of the City
New York is the home of a large quantity of high quality literary production in English, but what about other literatures written in the city or literatures that have relied on the city for artistic innovation within their respective national traditions? This panel seeks to unite a selection of the multiple literary voices of New York City, and is particularly interested in papers that discuss multiple authors and texts. Please send inquiries and 250-500-word abstracts in the body of your email to Regina Galasso, rgalasso@complit.umass.edu
Note-taking: A Literary and Philosophical Genre
This panel seeks contributions from scholars working on the research notebooks of prominent intellectuals of modernity in order to address the genre of note-taking, its cognitive patterns, its users and its potential forms given the representational possibilities enabled by current digital technologies. Please send abstracts to Silvia Stoyanova (sms27@yahoo.com).
The Novel and the Fragment
This panel will examine how fragmentary form and non-linear narrative operate in post-1945 novels in English. It asks how an experimental, fragmentary form poses key problems and possibilities for the development of the novel within a contemporary literary landscape. Topics include, but are not limited to novels by poets; the fragment in literature; formalisms; narrative theory; theories of the novel; the contemporary literary canon. Send abstracts of 250 words to Julie McIsaac, Rutgers University, j.mcisaac@rutgers.edu
Once Upon a Time, Actually: Fictionality’s Interplay with Factuality
This panel invites papers that explore or theorize the complex relationship between fictional worlds, whether literary or cinematic, and the actual world. For instance, the demonstrable increase in storytelling strategies that hybridize fictional narrative with a documentary or factual mode encourages us to consider anew both the ramifications of such approaches to aesthetic expression and the very notion of the mimetic function. Please send a 250 word abstract to Barry Spence, University of Massachusetts Amherst, bspence@complit.umass.edu.
Philology and its Future among the New Humanities
This panel would like to wonder about the responsibilities of philologists in contemporary and future world, and about their answers to the problems connected with multiculturalism, multiethnicity and multimediality. How do we perceive the old traditions that we study, and ourselves inside these traditions? Why should philology claim a crucial role in the epistemological debate among scholars of different disciplines? Papers can be in any modern language. Please submit 300-500 word abstracts to Francesco Benozzo, francesco.benozzo@unibo.it.
Postcolonialism and Eco-criticism
This panel addresses the relationship between nature, the environment and postcoloniality and invites submissions that examine these contexts in the humanities and social sciences. Subtopics may include: Ecocriticism (U K. Heise, R Nixon, A Roy); Global and Nativist Studies; Subaltern studies; Genocide studies; Biopolitics/Humanimality; Nature and Cognition; Gender Studies; Latin American Studies; South Asia Studies. Send Abstracts & brief biographical statements to <arnab.roy@uconn.edu> & <carlos.gardeazabal_bravo@uconn.edu>.
Power, Privilege, and the Politics of Recoherence (Roundtable)
This roundtable will explore the idea that 20th and 21st century authors who write from positions of deprivilege often explicitly engage in performative illogicality and disorientation as a tactic of epistemological re-formation. Focus will be on writers who, rather than foisting upon readers an illegible or deconstructed incoherence, generate a recoherence that at once interrogates and generates meaning. Please submit 250-word abstracts and bios to Sara E. Murphy at saramurphy@my.uri.edu and Don Rodrigues at don.rodrigues@vanderbilt.edu.
Reading the Trickster: Myth, Mischief, Revolution, and Renewal (Roundtable)
This seminar will analyze the figure of the Trickster in literature and across cultures: his/her appearance in ancient Greek mythology, in African, Native American, and Latin American cosmologies; as a symbol in art; as a trope in film; even as a motif in music. Please send 300-500 word abstracts and brief biographical statements (preferably MS Word or PDF attachments) via email to Graciela Báez and Danielle Carlo, gmb281@nyu.edu.
Reconfiguring Linguistic Hierarchies in Early Modern Literature
This session invites papers that explore linguistic issues in early modern literature. As vernacular languages vie for prestige, humanism, the encounter with the Americas and Orientalism (re)introduce ancient and exotic languages into European society. The upsetting of the linguistic hierarchy that results provides writers with rich material. What is the literary effect of several languages/dialects interacting? Comic? Tragic? Theatrical? What societal concerns are expressed? 250-500 word abstracts to Maren Daniel, marenda@eden.rutgers.edu.
Representing Landscapes, Shaping National and Regional Identities
We invite colleagues from different disciplines to reflect on the role that the representation of landscape has played in the formation on modern national and regional identities. What is the role of literature and the visual arts in the formation of regional and national landscapes? What function do they have today, in an increasingly homologated world, where historical identities and memories associated with the places we have always inhabited are being erased? Abstracts to: <beaudry@dickinson.edu>; <paganot@dickinson.edu>
Representing Rape in Medieval Literature
This panel will explore representations of sexual violence in medieval literature. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the conversation between medieval literature and its classical sources, law and literature, re-examinations of courtly love, and the tension between sexual violence and erotic love. Please send a 300-word abstract in English, French or Italian to Daniel Armenti at darmenti@complit.umass.edu
Reusing, Reducing, and Recycling Sacred Texts
This panel considers the many fictional works that have arisen in response to sacred scriptures. It welcomes papers on literary works and films that’euse,’’educe’ or’ecycle’ figures from texts viewed as sacred within their respective cultures and/or the tropes or messages of those canonical works. Please send abstracts of 250 words or less to Andrés Amitai Wilson at andresw@complit.umass.edu.
The River in the Novel: Space, Place, Flow
This panel will focus on the river and its role in the development of the novel as a form, as it has flowed across different cultures, periods, and geographical contexts. What is the role of the river in prose narrative? How does it compare to other spaces, such as the road or the city? How do we interpret at the textual level the combination of fixity and movement that characterizes all rivers? Please send 250-300 word abstracts to Paul Carranza (paul.carranza@dartmouth.edu).
‘The gin and whiskey of literature’: The Dangers of Novel Reading
From 1750 onwards, novel reading was believed to ruin (sexual) morals, middle-class core values, aesthetic standards, health, and intellect. This panel will contrast and compare the economics of and attitudes towards cheap (inexpensive) literature in different countries up to this day. We invite papers on the dangers of reading from medical history or media history perspectives; cheap literature and its distribution; perception; poetics; etc. Please submit 250-500 word abstracts to Carolin Lange at clange@u.washington.edu.
This Side of Truth: Texts, Authors and Translators (Roundtable)
Identifying truth in the context of an original text and its translation must encompass the author’s and the readers’ truth. Every translator is a reader, creating meaning as s/he reads. How do we maintain the original truth in the translation if the translator plays such an active role in rendering meaning? How does the relationship between the original and the translation change if the translation is considered more engaging or beautiful? Please send abstracts to kdoll89@comcast.net or Miriam_Margala@uml.edu
Trickster: (Re-)constructing the World from its Edges
This panel seeks papers on modern incarnations of archetypal Trickster as presented in literature from the 19th through 21st centuries. Successful papers should be concerned with the creational aspect of the Trickster, his/her ability to ‘make the world,’ and to confuse the notion of Reality. We are particularly interested in the portrait of the Trickster as an architect of alternative/virtual realities, visual illusions, and confusing imagery. Please submit abstracts with a short bio of the author to Joanna Madloch, madlochj@mail.montclair.edu
Turn of the Century Consumerism and Market Aesthetics in Literature
This panel will examine how ‘turn of the century’ periods in history correspond with cultural productions that promote and/or interrogate consumerism and market aesthetics. Papers can be related to any literary tradition or century. Topics may include market culture, consumer culture, decadence, credit, spending, and speculation. Please send 250-word abstracts in English to mpagett@sas.upenn.edu.
What is Translation Studies?: Negotiating A Disciplinary Cartography (Roundtable)
Given the rapid rise of translation studies in the academy, it seems an appropriate moment to examine the scope and dimensions of the field. This roundtable will explore various approaches to the field of translation studies with panelists discussing particular institutional approaches and relationships between translation studies and other disciplines, as well as outlining some of the many theoretical perspectives that contribute to this diverse area of inquiry. 300-word abstracts should be sent to Anna Strowe (astrowe@complit.umass.edu).

See also under:

American: “Bodies in Place: Disability and the Environment in American Literature”; “The Discourses of Extra-Legal Justice in American Literature”; “Narrative, Capital, and the Biosocial

British: “Global Shaw”; “Peace and War in the Nineteenth Century”; “Victorian Inhumanities”; “‘Willed without witting, whorled without aimed’: Divagation and Dubliners

Cultural Studies and Film: “The Body Speaks”; “Cinema and Migration”; “Cultural Politics of Blackface”; “Normalization of the Male Body in Contemporary European Narratives”; “Revisiting the Great War in 2014: War, Peace, and Disenchantment

French and Francophone: “Le dandy et la masculinité: Esthétisme moderne ou exubérance décadente?”; “Re-Examining Opacity in the Caribbean Context

German: “Improvisation in German Literature

Italian: “Cityscapes: the Urban Imaginary in 20th-21st Centuries’ Fiction and Poetry”; “Giacomo Leopardi in and on Translation”; “Leopardi’s Echoes in the Twentieth Century”; “Pirandello’s Six Characters: Theatrical Influence and Legacy”; “Teaching Italian Culture in a Language Classroom.”; “Thinking Modernity with Giacomo Leopardi

Pedagogy: “Fiction as Pedagogy

Spanish/Portuguese: “Aesthetics and Violence in Latin American Literature”; “The Hispanic Transatlantic Avant-Garde”; “Liberation Theology and Latin American Narrative: The Decolonial Turn”; “Madness in the Literature of the Portuguese-Speaking World”; “Post-Testimonio”; “Re-visando el ’Boom’ de la literatura latinoamericana, a 50 años del hecho”; “Travelers, Exiles, Wanderers: Visions of Travel in Luso-Hispanic Literature

Women’s and Gender Studies: “Forces of Nature: Liberating Women in the Middle Ages”; “Women in Scandinavian Plays

World Literatures (non-European Languages): “Arabian Nights: Contact or Conflict?”; “The Arabic Classroom and Technology