2012 SAMLA CONFERENCE "THROUGH EMERALD GLASSES:" DE-NATURALIZING TRAVEL AND EXILE SINCE 1945

full name / name of organization: 
Prof. Liviu Papadima / Univeristy of Bucharest

In the aftermath of World War II, the global configuration of societies underwent significant changes triggered by a complex mechanism of opening and closing: while the Western world
capitalized on its condition as depositary of traditional human values, the Eastern world gave in to left-wing ideologies that encircled the individuals and reshaped their identities. This
dichotomy that has been perpetuated for more than half a century also influenced the sense of Otherness. As Thomas Pavel remarked in his Fictional Worlds (1986), the political borders
became a threefold matrix: the mutually permeable (US and Canada), highly selective (Russia and China), and impenetrable (Israel and Syria). Under these circumstances, the individual
became entrapped within a circle of ideologically manipulated representations. In its turn, the pressure of the political context left its mark on the individual's perception of the Other. When eventually the border is crossed, the reaction to a different reality is strongly conditioned by an imaginary set of stereotypes that prevents the "natural" contact. Unable to look directly at the Other, the traveler/the exile looks through his emerald glasses that falsify the new world he/she encounters. This panel aims at bringing together different perspectives on the situation of the travelers and exile writers leaving off their home countries. Critics traditionally group the
texts documenting these experiences into two distinct categories: the travelogue and the autobiographical account of the exile shaped into the diary form. The former is customarily
associated with images of continuity; the latter becomes a representation of the fracture dividing the exile's self. We welcome paper proposals dealing with: the theme of exile/
migration/ travel to and from the Western world; the postcolonial literary rendering of these subjects; the travelogue and the exile diary as literary responses to totalitarian regimes, etc. We are especially interested in readings that interpret and deconstruct stereotypical
representations of travel and exile in different cultural traditions. By July 10, 2012, please submit 300-word abstracts to Liviu Papadima, University of Bucharest, at adrian.stoicescu@g.unibuc.ro. The conference will take place in Research Triangle, North Carolina, between 9 and 11 Nov. 2012