"Place is a space which has historical meanings, where some things have happened that are now remembered and which provide continuity and identity across the generations. Place is a space in which important words have been spoken which have established identity, defined vocation and envisioned destiny...Place is indeed a protest against an uncompromising pursuit of space. It is a declaration that our humanness cannot be found in escape, detachment, absence of commitment, and undefined freedom... Whereas pursuit of space may be a flight from history, a yearning for place is a decision to enter history with an identifiable people in an identifiable pilgrimage." Walter Brueggeman
Most literary works take place within the context of some sort of constructed space, e.g. a house, an office, a transit node, a place of worship, a place of performance. The constraints and opportunities of such a setting often contribute to our understanding of characters, actions and ideas. Architecture also provides a rich system of tropes by which readers and writers can define important elements of text either literally or figuratively.
Claudio Magris' 1999 work, Utopia e disincanto, begins with his observation that the present moment pleasures in apocalyptic pessimism. This pessimism is tied to the death of the myth of the Revolution, confirmed by the fall of communism. If there is a question of irrelevance, it is that of utopias. Current conversations in literary theory deal with finding definitive criteria for "dystopias" or "counter-utopias," ideas which are very much in vogue in the science fiction genre. Apocalyptic narratives, or post-apocalyptic narratives, have been invading bookstores as well as movie screens – as seen most recently with Lars von Trier's latest film, Melancholia. One could say that this is symptomatic of the state of contemporary art.
Popular Indian cinema has witnessed a steady rise in the production of movies related to terrorism and threat to national security since 2001. While critically and aesthetically examining the perpetual threats that India lives under, these movies have successfully captured the jingoistic fervor and pride that have repeatedly trumped such adversity. In addition, Bollywood's focus has interestingly shifted from cross-border terrorism to the global terrorism revolving around America and her allies, their insurgencies in the Middle East and the subsequent tremors felt everywhere, especially by Indian expatriates.
Rethinking Eighteenth-Century Aesthetics
Book Reviews: The Pennsylvania Literary Journal is looking for academics with tenure-track appointments to write book reviews of recent titles that have been released in their field of interest. Several academic publishers, including Harvard UP, Pearson, Random House, Penguin, Cambridge UP, Duke UP, and SUNY, have agreed to send free books to writers in exchange for the reviews. Unlike with other journals - it is up to you to find the book you want to read and that is helpful for your current research and to send a specific request to PLJ that will be forwarded to the publisher (if the author is qualified to write about the topic).
That the American West is a highly classed and politicized space is no critical revelation. Scholars such as Stephen Tatum, Reginald Dyck, and Renny Chistopher have drawn attention to the complex interface of class, labor, space, and place in the context of the region's tumultuous cultural and literary history. In light of this history and the conference's primary theme "Western Crossroads: Literature, Social Justice, Environment," this panel seeks to uncover the intersections made at the junction of class, labor, politics, social justice, and the environment in the West. We are accepting presentation abstracts of 250 words for consideration. Possible subtopics include but are not limited to:
Postgraduate Conference - Deadline Extended
University of Portsmouth, June 14 2012
Although much recent criticism in modernist studies has focused on the everyday and the ordinary, this panel proposes instead to look at the precarious. The term precarity has been heard more and more frequently in the disciplines of political philosophy, economics, anthropology, and critical theory, but it has only begun to make its way into literary studies. Current discussions of precarity are shaped by the work of Paulo Virno, who describes it as "the chronic instability of forms of life," and by Judith Butler, who conceives of precarity as a shared vulnerability on the basis of which we might found a tentative community.
Disability and the Renaissance
Leeds Trinity University College, 8 September 2012