Catastrophe and Literature
This panel seeks to explore representations of mass atrocity, war, and civil strife in literature of French expression. There has been a wealth of cultural production around human-made catastrophes in global or neo/colonial contexts, wherein dire situations propelled and complicated by geographic or sectarian identities are recounted through an individual lens. Whether the author is speaking from the perspective of a witness or working through received memory, s/he must often contend with multiple conflicting interpretations proffered by various factions.
Submissions might address one or more of the following questions: What role do fictionalized or subjective histories play in the aftermath? How do they contribute to broader political or social discussions? Are there particular theoretical frameworks best suited to their analysis? What narrative forms or aesthetics are adopted in memorializing these events? What is the function and responsibility of memory in such accounts? The term narrative may be interpreted loosely to cover traditional prose as well as more exotic structures. Emphasis is on 20th or 21st century but other periods are welcome.