Category Archives: Calls for Papers

CFP: BCLA – Unforeseen Consequences (Warwick)

The British Comparative Literature Association Postgraduate Conference, 11 November 2017,  University of Warwick

Unforeseen Consequences: Literatures of Protest and Political Struggle

 Keynote speaker: Dr Oliver Davis (University of Warwick)

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The British Comparative Literature Association invites papers for its annual postgraduate conference to be held at the University of Warwick on 11 November 2017. This conference intends to bring together postgraduate students from across the humanities to discuss questions relating to the impact of literature and the arts, viewed comparatively, on the formation of political discourses and actions of resistance to dominant institutional practices of oppression and control.

The conference takes its que from author Will Self, who has asserted that the United Kingdom currently exists in a state of perpetual ‘unforeseen consequences’ in which the government ‘muddles and meddles,’ creating a sense of ambiguity that disguises serious neglect of human rights and broader social issues.  The conference intends to apply a global focus to this concept and explore literature’s response to times of political struggle, dangerous social policy, and oppressive institutional standards across the historical spectrum. As such we invite papers considering literature’s relation and responses to the following themes:

  • Struggles for political independence
  • Sovereignty and state power
  • Censorship and the surveillance state
  • Institutional control, mass incarceration and indefinite detention
  • Queer politics
  • Migration
  • Colonialism/decolonialism
  • Neoliberalism and its discontents
  • Feminism and intersectionality
  • Brexit, democracy and devolution
  • Literature, digital texts and social media.

Submissions need not be limited to these parameters and we welcome broad and creative interpretations of our theme.

Please send proposals of 250 words with 50 word bio by 23 September 2017 to bclapgrepresentative@gmail.com.

 

 

Writing, the State, and the Rise of Neo-Nationalism (Boston Uni., London)

Writing, the State, and the Rise of Neo-Nationalism: Historical Contexts and Contemporary Concerns, 30th June 2018, Boston University’s London Campus

In January 1868, John William De Forest took to the pages of The Nation with a call that would resound over the next century and a half: the writing of the “Great American Novel.” In so doing, he asserted both the shaping force of the nation on the arts, and the importance of the arts for the national imaginary. On the sesquicentennial of De Forest’s essay, the College of General Studies at Boston University will host a conference to explore the broader intersection of writing and the nation. This conference will meet on Boston University’s campus in London, England, on June 30, 2018. The conference will feature a keynote address by Daniel Karlin, Winterstoke Professor of English at the University of Bristol.

The exigency of ongoing scholarly consideration of the relation between the nation and writing could not be more apparent. The rise of populist and pro-national politicians and events such as Brexit place new strains on the architecture of globalization. A disruptive force, neo-nationalism has provoked anxiety about sustaining existing international institutions and prompted introspection within nations about the abiding ties of community and place.

This conference seeks a diverse range of panels and papers from scholars in literary studies, rhetoric, the social sciences, and other disciplines. Interdisciplinary papers and panels, and papers and panels addressing transatlantic subjects, are especially encouraged. Possible topics include, but are by no means limited to, the following:

• The portrayal of the nation-state in works of literature.
• Representations of the relationships among the local, regional, and (or) global.
• Challenges to, problems with, and affirmations of national belonging.
• Reflections on De Forest’s original essay in light of the past 150 years.
• The impact of socioeconomic changes on the project of a national literature.
• The ways in which technological development can re-inscribe narratives of the political unit.
• International exchanges on the idea of a “great” national literature.
• Consideration of forces that help construct or challenge nation-oriented narratives of literature.
• Characteristics and implications of neo-national oratory.
• Rhetorical analyses of neo-national propaganda.
• The role of national iconography for literary and artistic expression.
• The ways that marginalized populations can preserve or introduce their voices in the context of changes in the global landscape during the neo-national era.
• Reactions to and presentations of neo-nationalism in the arts.

Paper proposals should be 250-300 words in length and should include a brief CV.

Panel proposals should be 300–500 words in length; indicate whether the panel will be traditional, seminar, or roundtable style; and include the names and CVs of participants and working titles of their papers.

Submit all proposals to Christopher K. Coffman (ccoffman@bu.edu) and Thomas Finan (etfinan@bu.edu) no later than November 30, 2017.

CFP: The American Weird: Ecologies & Geographies (Göttingen)

The American Weird: Ecologies & Geographies, University of Göttingen, April 12-14, 2018, North American Section of the English Department in cooperation with the Institute for English and American Studies of the University of Oldenburg


“The one test of the really weird is simply this—whether or not there be excited in the reader a profound sense of dread, and of contact with unknown spheres and powers.”
—H.P. Lovecraft, “Supernatural Horror in Literature” (1927)

 “This whole world’s wild at heart and weird on top.” —David Lynch, Wild at Heart (1990)

For H.P. Lovecraft, the weird conveys “a subtle attitude of awed listening, as if for the beating of black wings or the scratching of outside shapes and entities on the known universe’s utmost rim.” Taking its cue from Lovecraft’s enduringly influential conceptualization, this conference examines and broadens the notion of weirdness towards an ecology and geography of the weird as a new field of theoretical and practical resonances. What we call The American Weird comprises not only an aesthetics evoked by literary practices or films from the genres of the gothic or horror, but also by other forms of cultural expression, such as music, sculpture, photography, and performance art. The conference theme also aims to address new theoretical perspectives on humanity’s relation to the world, perspectives that have recently been proposed by what might be called the “new demonologists” (e.g. Graham Harman, Eugene Thacker, and others).

Against the backdrop of new ontologies and epistemologies of the weird, the following questions will form the conceptual backbone of The American Weird: What are the ecologies and geographies of the weird today, and how are they conceived, perceived, and reworked? Which strands of contemporary critical theory and philosophy have engaged in a dialogue with the discourses of and on the weird, and what is specifically “American” in The American Weird? If weirdness is more than a mere index of parody and/or subversion, how might one conceive of a politics or an ethics of the weird?

These and related questions on The American Weird will be explored in a three-day conference at the University of Göttingen. Possible topics, which can come from different genres, historical periods, and/or media include, but are not restricted to:

–                American literature from Charles Brockden Brown and Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories to the authors of “the new weird,” like Jeff VanderMeer, China Miéville, and Thomas Ligotti. What are the aspects and intricacies of the literary evolution of the weird in America? What is specifically American about this evolution? What has changed in weird literature since the publication of Lovecraft’s essay on “Supernatural Horror in Literature,” on both a poetic and political level?

–                the sculptural work of artists such as Lydia Benglis, Louise Bourgeois, Charles Ray, and others. How does this type of artistic practice negotiate normativities and weirdness? How do the materials, size, and content matter of their art contribute to the way they subvert viewing habits and expectations?

–                the music of The American Weird,  from the musical instruments of Harry Partch, via artists like Tom Waits or Mike Patton, all the way to the tunes of Joanna Newsom and the “New Weird America” or “Freak Folk” movement, and the protagonists of so-called “outsider music” such as Daniel Johnston or Wesley Willis. What exactly is necessary to make music weird or “outsider”? Is it the actual music, the self-presentation of the artists, their perception (or lack thereof), their non-affiliation with the industry?

–                the photography of Diane Arbus, Cindy Sherman, and others. What are the liminal spaces that open up between the camera’s alleged “reality effect” and evocations of weird America and its “freaks”? How does Sherman challenge notions like subjectivity and objectivity and what effects and affects are contained in her “vomit pictures”?

–                the eco art, land art, or bio art of Robert Smithson, Joe Davis, and others. How do these practices expand the notion of what counts as art, where it begins and ends? What and where are the locales in which it takes place, grows, and decays? Does the participation of plants or bacteria in a dynamic artwork redistribute agencies in the process of creating art and constitute a truly hybrid mode of being beyond the nature-culture divide?

–                the filmic visions of Tod Browning, David Lynch, David Cronenberg, and others, as well as recent TV-series that resonate with the aesthetics of the weird, such as True Detective, The Walking Dead, and Stranger Things. How to film the weird? Is there a moving image of American weirdness?

–                the comics and graphic novels of Robert Crumb, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, and others. How to picture The American Weird in separate panels and what is specific about this kind of narrating weirdness?

–                the different theoretical approaches which assess the cultural productions of The American Weird, from subcultural discourses to contemporary materialism, ecocriticism, and realism. What is the function of the weird as a concept vis-à-vis notions of the uncanny, the grotesque, the abject, and the carnivalesque? What are the milieus, theories, histories, and practices of The American Weird?

We invite scholars of American studies and related fields such as cultural studies, film and media studies, comparative literature, art history, and philosophy to submit a short abstract (approx. 300 words) and a short bio-statement by August 15, 2017 to the conference organizers Julius Greve (julius.greve@uni-oldenburg.de) and Florian Zappe (florian.zappe@phil.uni-goettingen.de). The conference will take place from April 12-14, 2018 at the University of Göttingen and is organized by the North American Section of the English Department in cooperation with the Institute for English and American Studies of the University of Oldenburg.

CFP: After Clarice: Lispector’s Legacy (Oxford)

After Clarice: Lispector’s Legacy, November 17-18, 2017. University of Oxford

Organizers: Claire Williams (Modern Languages, Oxford) and Adriana X Jacobs (Oriental Studies, Oxford)

“After Clarice: Lispector’s Legacy” commemorates the fortieth anniversary of Clarice Lispector’s death, but also aims to analyse her legacy and influence as it has developed in the decades since. This international gathering will evaluate the fluctuations and swerves in Lispector’s critical fortunes, and focus, as well, on the way her works have evolved in translation into other languages and cultures and through other disciplines (film, music, sports and visual arts). Additionally, our conference will address Lispector’s status as a Jewish writer, issues of class and race in her work, translation and reception, as well as the politics of publishing and marketing Lispector for international readerships.

In addition to her stories and novels, this event will move beyond Lispector’s literature to look at her journalism, writing for children, interviews, interfaces with painting and music, and consider the ways these activities shaped her persona and garnered her new readers in a wide range of disciplines. Films inspired by her life and work, as well as the ways actors have portrayed her and her characters will also be discussed. The internationally recognized scholar of Lispector’s life and work, Prof Nádia Battella Gotlib (Universidade de São Paulo), will provide a keynote address.

This event will include a roundtable with contemporary translators and publishers, writers and artists influenced by Lispector’s work, film screenings and a dramatic performance of one of her texts.

We welcome proposals for 20-minute presentations in English or Portuguese. Please include a title, a 200-300-word abstract, and brief bio. Suggested topics include:

• Multidisciplinary Lispector (sports, fine arts, film, music)
• Translation and retranslation (We encourage in particular proposals that address translation into non-Western languages.)
• Lispector in the Museum
• Lispector and the global publishing industry (marketing, reception, translation into English)
• Teaching Lispector
• Class and Race in Lispector
• Jewish Lispector
• Domesticity in Lispector
• Lispector’s journalism, writing for children, interviews
• Re-writing Lispector

The deadline for proposals is July 1, 2017. Send queries and completed proposals via email to: afterclarice@gmail.com

CFP: Of Borders and Ecologies (Birmingham City)

Of Borders and Ecologies: Comparative Literature and the Environment, The NCLN 3 rd Annual Symposium, Hosted by the School of English, Birmingham City University, 28 October 2017

The Northern Comparative Literature Network (NCLN) is a platform for scholars in the midlands and the north of the UK who study literature across boundaries of language, culture and nationality.

CALL FOR PAPERS

The environment does not respect borders. The effects of ecosystems’ degradation cross all boundaries, including those of nations, cultures and languages. Among the questions raised by contemporary ecocriticism is that of borders, especially perhaps, the limitations of anthropocentrism and the boundaries between the human and the non-human. In terms of literature and the environment, Timothy Clark has articulated the question along the following lines: Can anthropomorphism, the tendency to attribute human qualities to nature, offer a way of understanding the non-human environment, or is it a form of solipsism wholly determined by human consciousness? To problems of epistemology come questions of ethics: Does the Anthropocene require, as Timothy Morton’s writings on ‘hyperobjects’ suggest, an extension of ‘personhood’ to aspects of the non-human world? Meanwhile, renegotiations of Marx’s ecological thought have sought to recognise the unacknowledged labour of the natural world in capitalist value creation, thereby breaching the apparently closed borders of economic systems (Foster: 2000), whilst McKenzie Wark’s Molecular Red (2015) has attempted to broach the perceived gap between high theory and individual ecological praxis.

This one-day symposium, organised by the Northern Comparative Literature Network, invites papers that explore contemporary engagement with the environment in postcolonial, world and planetary literatures. How might Comparative Literature make a distinctive contribution to the understanding of literature and the environment? For this symposium, we are particularly interested in literary scholars working on questions of the environment and ecocriticism in the 20th and 21st centuries. Although it is not a strict requirement, preference may be given to comparative approaches that move across the boundaries of nationality, culture and language.

We are currently in talks with literary journals as we plan to publish a selection of papers delivered at the symposium in a themed issue (scheduled for publication before REF 2021).

Topics may include:

 Planetary and World Literature

 Hybrid and creole literatures

 The unsettling of species boundaries and post-humanism

 Romanticism, ecofeminism, postcolonial eco-justice, animal welfare and deep

ecology.

 Ecology vs ‘nature’

 Planetary/world ecological history or memory, and its literary representation

 ‘Eco-cosmopolitanism’ (Heise, 2009) and its representation in literature

 Aesthetics, forms and themes of ‘world-ecological literature’ (Deckard, 2017)

 The Anthropocene vs. ‘the Capitalocene’ (Moore, 2014)

We welcome abstracts and expressions of interest in NCLN from established scholars, postgraduates and researchers. Abstracts of 250 words for papers lasting around 20 minutes should be forwarded to Peter Jackson peter.jackson@bcu.ac.uk or Tom Knowles thomas.knowles@bcu.ac.uk by Monday 11 September 2017