The Evidence of Realism
[For the annual meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association at Harvard University, March 17-20 2016]
How do texts--and especially realist texts--and their plots use or complicate the idea of evidence? What sort of evidence do such texts seem to assume readers require in order to encounter the "effect of the real"? And how do contemporaneous ideas of evidence from philosophy, legal theory, or science provide context for the consideration of evidence in literary works?
With dynamic individual superhero/superhuman characters populating a world of complex, interwoven mythologies and origin stories, the films and television series of Marvel Comics Studios present an experiment with long-form transmedia storytelling that is at once both commercially successful and critically acclaimed. Given the ongoing debate in film criticism and media studies surrounding the degree to which analyzing films as literature is useful (or not), that such a commercially popular phenomenon also emphasizes artistic elements (e.g.
Deadline for abstract submissions: September 30th 2015
In worlds full of superhuman heroes, mythological imaginary creatures and battle narratives of epic scope, what is the role of the domestic? In the recently released film _Avengers: Age of Ultron_, the titular superheroes hide away not in a high-tech secured stronghold but in a farmhouse belonging to the archer Hawkeye, his wife, and their young children. Barton's presence as the film's only parent with a seemingly stable domestic lifestyle provides a temporary shelter for our heroes, illustrating how the domestic can function as a stable ground for the superhero narrative to withstand its otherwise fantastic, explosive elements.
This seminar will explore how national identities have been forged through the manipulation and deployment of animals and animality. How have animals, and ideas associated with such animals, been used to construct imagined communities? How have these constructions helped to strengthen or weaken national borders? How have assertions of imagined community, as expressed via relations with animals, overlapped with racial/ethnic identities?
Foundational texts, events, and people influence our cultural and national personas. In the United States, for example, people may look to the Constitution and patriotic songs or even the bible as foundational texts--texts that define (and limit?) national identity. We often see events such as the Salem Witch Trials, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement as critical moments of national formation, while people such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr. represent quintessential "Americans.". These foundational texts, events, and people work their way into literature and pop culture in myriad ways as authors, writers, poets, filmmakers and playwrights incorporate, reify, or challenge them through their works.
THE "POETESS" IRL: The World, Work, and Performances of Nineteenth-Century Women Poets
What was the nineteenth-century woman poet like in real life? This panel seeks to unsettle current definitions by attending to her performing/reforming body and the work she did in the material world.
From sympathetic contagion to animal magnetism, nervous physiology to cell theory and germ theory, nineteenth-century medical theory and practice imagined human embodiment in open relation to the environmental, economic, religious, and political forces that shape historical experience. Often represented in both cultural and physiological terms, disease functioned as both sign and symptom of the irrevocable togetherness of mind and body, something to be combatted morally and technologically by prudence and enlightened reason.
Since the era of slavery and continuing through the present, Black women have articulated a vision of freedom, equality, anti-racism, and racial uplift, drawing from Scripture to sustain their work of promoting equal rights for African Americans. From the early female abolitionists such as Maria Stewart, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Tubman, to the anti-lynching activists Ida B. Wells and Mary Talbert, to the twentieth-century civil rights activists Ella Josephine Baker and Septima Clark, and countless others, these "churchwomen" actively challenged the status quo that relegated Black women to the least empowered positions in the social order.
This panel investigates the contemporary meaning of gender and class in film and literature in the United States. While authors such as Sheryl Sandberg and Hannah Rosin focus on women in the professional ranks to argue for women's prominence in U.S. culture and stories of professional women dominate the media, few stories of working-class women have emerged to challenge the symbolic dominance of the white male worker and breadwinner. As work, families, and genders have changed, how has this symbolism been reinforced or challenged in literature and film?