CFP: [Gender Studies] ACLA (Due Nov 3rd): Global Dictator Fictions Panel

full name / name of organization: 
Jennifer Harford Vargas
contact email: 

ACLA 2009 Convention
March 26-29, 2009
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA

"The Form of Power, the Power of Form: Global Dictator Fictions"

Co-chairs: Ulka Anjaria and Jennifer Harford Vargas

This panel seeks to mobilize the seminal work undertaken on the Latin American dictator novel
in order to explore the globally diverse forms of the subgenre. While interested in varying
methodologies for analyzing totalitarian fictions, we aim to develop the category of the dictator
novel in specifically formal terms by examining how the novel form is utilized in response to
unmitigated power. To this end we pose the following questions: What is the relationship
between the novel and authoritarian power? How does the novel structurally register the
presence of dictators and other totalitarian figures (i.e. through formal instability, crisis of plot,
etc.)? What theories of character are appropriate for this particular subgenre? What other
narrative modes (i.e. oral testimony, communal story-telling, etc.) are marshaled to interrogate
dictatorial power? We are interested in comparing the ways in which different literary traditions
formally construct their authoritarian fictions as well as how the dictator novel serves as a mode
of resistance in different parts of the world. In order to adequately analyze its global reach, the
panel anticipates examining a geographic array of dictator novelsâ€"from Latin America, the
Caribbean, Africa, South Asia, the Middle East, and other parts of the worldâ€"that represent a
range of authoritarian figures, from military rulers and freedom fighters to demagogues and
megalomaniacs. Through our dialogues we hope to distil a narrative hermeneutics for
interrogating the dictator novel’s global reach and explanatory power with regard to the wide
diversity of local authoritarianisms found around the world.

**Important note: All paper proposals must be submitted by NOVEMBER 3rd on the ACLA
conference website, located at Just select the "The Form of Power,
the Power of Form" seminar under the paper proposal submission form and your abstract will go
directly to the conference organizers.**

If you have any questions prior to submitting your abstract, please don't
hesitate to contact the seminar co-chairs, Ulka Anjaria ( and Jennifer
Harford Vargas (

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Received on Sun Oct 19 2008 - 19:29:25 EDT