full name / name of organization: 
Department of Comparative Literature; University of Massachusetts, Amherst

University of Massachusetts, Amherst
October 10 - 12, 2014

The Organization of Graduate Students in Comparative Literature (OGSCL) is inviting papers for its biennial interdisciplinary graduate conference to be held at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, October 10-12, 2014.

The word root is commonly associated with places, sources, beginnings, and origins, as well as with nature (the root of a plant) and nurture (nutrients are absorbed through roots). The word root, however, is also a travelling word: from the Greek etymon ῥίζα (rhizo-) and Latin rādīx; it spread across European languages following multiple linguistic, commercial, and political routes. Paradoxically enough, rhizome, a word that is etymologically connected to the same root, was advanced by Deleuze and Guattari to resist the organizational structure of the root. That roots and rhizomes coexist within the same systems of thought produces a paradox that also constitutes an open space for research and inquiry. Rhizomes' resistance to linear organizations of time and space offer the ground for new appraisals of historical moments and cultural products. To further complicate these matters, echoing James Clifford's invitation to "recall that travel or displacement can involve forces that pass powerfully through - TV, radio, tourists, commodities, armies," roots and rhizomes are traversed by routes in a complicated entanglement of pathways and roundabouts. The entanglement here described can be in turn mapped onto the roundabout, circuitous routes of goods, ideas, cultures, literatures.

Continuing the tradition of the Crossroads Conferences at UMass, we envision a dialogue on the extraordinary outcomes of cultural encounters. Papers on all connections between roots and routes, rhizomatic historical or cultural entanglements, as well as their literary conceptualization, are welcome. Topics to be explored could include, but are not limited to:

* Migration literature and film
* Itinerant heroes
* Recurrent literary motifs that can be traced back to ancient times and their contemporary literary manifestation
* Ancient/medieval commercial routes and literature
* Globalization and literature (translational fiction, transnational contemporary motifs, etc)
* Folk culture, art and music: the travelling hero
* Translation as traveling into another language and culture
* Routes, roundabouts and psychoanalysis
* Travel, migration and homelessness in popular culture
* Diasporas and / or nurturing roots (Diasporic Studies)
* Imagined communities
* Sociological and anthropological views on displacement, travel, and migration
* Grassroots movements
* Cosmopolitanism and postcolonialism
* Dried roots: discontinued traditions

The conference will include a reception, panels with discussion, a graduate student-faculty forum, and a number of events including a concert, as well as the opportunity to see the color changes in New England foliage.

Please e-mail your 250 word abstract accompanied by a 50-word bio or any questions regarding the conference to Abstracts must be received by June 15, 2014 and should include the participant's name, institutional affiliation, email, and phone number.