CFP: [Victorian] ACLA 2009: The Invention of Human Rights in the Nineteenth-Century Novel ( due 11/1/08; 3/26-9/08)

full name / name of organization: 
Keridiana Chez
contact email: 

Transnational Humanity: The Invention of Human Rights through the
Nineteenth-Century Novel

This ACLA seminar will explore the transatlantic invention of human rights,
and the construction of the multivalent discourse of “humanity,” through
the nineteenth-century novel. Novels have participated in directing and
redirecting the discourse of the “human”â€"the human as closed system, as
biopolitical species-being unit, as rational individualâ€"by charting
interiorities that are deemed to constitute a “human.”

Specific subjectivities, as inscribed in and by American and British
novels, are deemed 'human' and therefore worthy of citizenship and its
attendant “human rights” and privileges, including the privilege of
counting as, and constituting, the nation. During the nineteenth-century,
these subjectivities were constituted by transatlantic writers in relation
to rapid industrialization and unprecedented contact with other peoples.

What were the subjectivities legitimized by nineteenth-century
transatlantic novels? What is the relationship between the subjects of
transcendental rights to the bodies that may embody those rights? How did
liberal discourses of the “human rights” support imperialist projects by
Americans and its former imperial mother? What different effects did
competing attempts to humanize female and/or other peoplesâ€"for example, the
feminist and abolitionist movementsâ€"engage with existing matrices?

The American Comparative Literature Association's 2009 annual meeting will
be held in Cambridge, MA, at Harvard University, from March 26-9, 2009. You
can learn more about ACLA and the 2009 meeting here:

Please submit a 250-word proposal through the ACLA 2009 website: Preference will be given to transnational
work but also welcome is work from either shore from participants
interested in having a transatlantic conversation.

If you have any questions about the seminar, please feel free to contact
Keridiana Chez at kerychez [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Received on Wed Oct 01 2008 - 23:08:49 EDT