This panel establishes the presence of and explores queer themes and narratives in South Asian literature. While the focus is on the last forty years, we will also include more historic approaches as well. Participants may either focus on one country, work, or writer, or explore convergences and connections.
Armed with glossy brochures, we choose our coffee according to claims about how it was grown, bought, and transported to our stores. We shop at farmers’ markets and boycott brands produced in sweatshops. Yet, how much do we actually know about the labor that maintains our lives? We relegate cleaning jobs to off hours and factory work to “foreign” lands and pretend domestic labor is “free”; our regular practices make work—and workers—silent, obscure, and invisible. Since global production and outsourcing has become the norm, it is only “natural” to be alienated from many forms of labor; however, distance is far from the only factor that renders labor invisible or silenced.
Afropolitanism currently inflects many academic and popular conversations about African literature. The term is mobilized to celebrate African influence in the world and to characterize the proliferation of African literature that is disconnected from the daily lives of average people residing on the continent. It refuses victimhood for Africans in the wake of patronizing representations by the likes of CNN, BBC, and KONY 2012 and sells a version of Africa ready-made for western reading tastes. It represents a formidable ideology formulated by Achille Mbembe, among others, and a way to sell $30 novelty T-shirts to American hipsters.
More than thirty years ago, Edward Said wrote in Reflections on Exile that “our age...is indeed the age of the refugee, the displaced person, mass immigration.” As migration becomes increasingly recognized as integral to contemporary societies, how does transit become central to how we understand urban spaces, communities, and the experiences of individuals within them? We understand transit as the movement of people, ideas, memories, or emotions, and what Jodi Byrd has described as “liminal existence” in “ungrievable spaces.” In what ways does the concept of "transit" model a rethinking of the relationship between individuals and postcolonial geographies? How does mobility constitute movement through both physical and ontological space?
Call for Chapters
Please consider submitting a paper proposal to the panel "Marginally Modernist" for NeMLA's upcoming conference in Pittsburgh, PA, April 12-15, 2018 (description below).
Submit your 300-word paper abstract directly to the NeMLA website:
April 12-15, 2018
Northeast Modern Language Association 2018 Conference
A French “Connaissance de l’Est”?
NeMLA Annual Convention - Pittsburgh, PA - 12-15 April, 2018
In “Further Considerations on Afrofuturism”, Kodwo Eshun argued that the impact of the Middle Passage and slavery could still be felt in African American authorship today. The erasure of their African past, culture and heritage leaving them disconnected and made strangers, black writers look to the future as a way of dealing and engaging with the present. The term counterfutures is thus used to describe those writings that explore the potentiality of a dissonant life, ones which reimagine the futures the current path of human experience seems to lead to.
In 1993, Edward Said published—to great acclaim and critical discussion—what would come to be considered a signal achievement: Culture and Imperialism. Twenty-five years onward, Said’s text remains central to literary work from postcolonial studies to the Victorian novel, the New Historicism to World literature. Its endurance, it would seem, lay in its breadth: the magnitude of Said’s intervention, its power of synthesis, its inventive critical modes.
We seek proposals highlighting East-West literary connections, particularly interested in cross-disciplinary approaches which compare literary topics or methodologies with the fields of history, philosophy, religion, or film. Please see the link below for information on paper proposal submissions.