Women's roles are historically remembered as primarily passive on both sides of "the color line": while White women's bodies have historically been protected and defended, women of color have been raped, beaten, mutilated, or ignored. These dual constructions, while often accurate and productive for highlighting the gendered and sexualized violence inflicted upon the bodies of women of color, leave a yawning void in both our understanding of minority communities' resistance to national, racialized forms of terrorism, and our cultural memory of white women's role in the public domain and their engagement in "the race question."
Despite ever-increasing inter/metadisciplinary conversations and cross-pollination, there are specific areas of knowledge that are still at the margins of those exchanges – the body and the sensory world remain outside the comparative poetics in academia. Drawing on a tradition of feminist writings on embodied knowledge, as well as on the close ties between literary texts and other arts and on the innovative methodological approaches that the field of visual anthropology has forwarded in recent years, we would like to propose a space to workshop, experience and embody our research by opening dialogues between academic texts and other media, while simultaneously conceptualizing the body, the senses and the experiential world around us.
Realism, Naturalism, and the Powers of Horror in Edith Wharton's Writing--American Literature Association Annual Meeting, Boston MA 26-29 2011. Sponsored by the Edith Wharton Society.
In his introduction to <> (2010), Walter Mignolo invites us to consider decolonial thinking "as a particular kind of critical theory and the de-colonial option as a specific orientation of doing." As a type of critical theory, decolonial thinking becomes an option from which we can be critical of existing master/universal narratives that pervade in society and academia.
Cultural criticism and film history once approached melodrama as a failed and lowbrow form of tragedy characterized by excessive rhetoric, one-dimensional characterizations, and schematized moral polarizations. Subsequently, feminist studies re-framed debates about melodrama by studying it as a genre addressed to and about women. Moving from a focus on domestic and family dramas, scholarship of the last few decades now exhibits a newfound interest in melodrama as a mode representative of socio-cultural conditions, particularly in transcolonial and transnational contexts.
From Freud's description of Uncle Tom's Cabin as a source of sadomasochistic "phantasy" to the depictions of polymorphous perversity in the work of Kara Walker, literary and artistic representations of the South have been bound up in representations of sexuality and violence. This seminar will ask how the New Southern Studies both reforms itself and becomes deformed by its recent collision with sexuality studies and queer studies. What kinds of sex are strangely unspeakable, or differently silent, in the South and how does their gravitational pull transform such sexual organizations as lynching, Jim Crow, same-sex plantation life, miscegenation, incest, and others? How might a sexualized South function in a national or transnational imaginary?
This seminar will explore the ways that comparative literatures of slavery, as well as the history of slavery itself, might be re-mapped by attending to dynamic networks of science and knowledge production across the Atlantic World. While various fields have moved toward a more global theorization of slavery (comparative histories of slavery, postcolonial approaches, an increasingly hemispheric Southern Studies, ongoing investigations into the Black Atlantic, and so on), the history of science as it pertains to race and enslavement remains, for the most part, confined within problematic frameworks of the nation-state. In U.S.
Luxuries of the Literary Mind: Readings of Commodity and Privilege
"Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity." G. K. Chesterton, Defendant (1901)
The McGill English Department's Seventeenth Annual Graduate Conference on Language and Literature will take place in Montreal from March 4 to 6, 2011. The conference will centre on issues of luxury, commodity, and consumption in literature, and other texts and cultural artefacts.
Potential areas for study include, but are not limited to the following:
-class and social standing
-wealth and poverty, images of excess and need
-human rights (sexual freedoms, disability rights, etc.) versus social privilege
-the racialization of wealth and status
The Battle of the Brows: Cultural Distinctions in the Space Between, 1914-1945
McGill University, Montreal, Canada
June 16-18, 2011