Vox Clamantis: Silencing, Censorship, and the Role of the Intellectual (NeMLA 2018)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
contact email: 

Paper abstracts are invited for a seminar entitled "Vox Clamantis: Silencing, Censorship, and the Role of the Intellectual", at the 49th Annual NeMLAConvention, April 12-18, 2018 (Pittsburgh, PA).

This panel aims to interrogate the presence and absence of authorized voices and silences as well as the processes by which they appear and disappear alongside the perennial question of who decides what qualifies as truth (and official history) in the public, private, and intellectual spheres. Who decides who speaks and who does not? Where does the intellectual’s responsibility lie? Is intellectual production always already political? Can it be anything else? What constitutes the role of the intellectual in society today? Papers in English, Spanish, or French are welcome.

Full panel description below and at this link: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/17137

Abstract submission guidelines: https://www.buffalo.edu/nemla/convention/callforpapers/submit.html

Convention information: http://www.buffalo.edu/nemla/convention.html

Questions about the panel: st521@nyu.edu

AreasComparative Literature / Cultural Studies and Media Studies Vox Clamantis: Silencing, Censorship, and the Role of the Intellectual (Seminar)NeMLA 2018, Pittsburgh PA, April 12-18, 2018

This panel aims to interrogate the presence and absence of authorized voices and silences as well as the processes by which they appear and disappear alongside the perennial question of who decides what qualifies as truth (and official history) in the public, private, and intellectual spheres. 

Debates can include: the importance of testimony / testimonio; works that enter the ‘canon’ and those that do not; silencing along any axis – e.g. gender, class, or race; and censorship as a political or personal act. Topics can include: censorship and self-censorship, dictatorship, intellectual histories, the systematic policing of cultural production and organized efforts at resistance thereof, as well as more subtle and abstract forms of authorization and silencing, or more contemporary ones, like the contours of freedom of speech and academic freedom on campuses across the country and the globe.

The story of Marie Vieux-Chauvet’s husband burying all the copies of her polemic novel, Amour Colère Folie, under their floorboards to prevent their dissemination is striking because whether or not it was true, it could very well have been so. The critique of Rigoberta Menchú’s testimonio as not being a hundred percent verifiable and true reflects the inherent distrust of a voice speaking in the “I”. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s seminal “Can the Subaltern Speak?” engenders as many raised voices today as when it was published, some thirty years ago.

Who decides who speaks and who does not? Where does the intellectual’s responsibility lie? Is intellectual production always alreadypolitical? Can it be anything else? What constitutes the role of the intellectual in society today?

In closing, let us consider Said: “The central fact for me is, I think, that the intellectual is an individual endowed with a faculty for representing, embodying, articulating a message, a view, an attitude, philosophy or opinion to, as well as for, a public... someone whose place it is publicly to raise embarrassing questions, to confront orthodoxy and dogma (rather than to produce them), to be someone who cannot easily be co-opted by governments or corporations, and whose raison d'etre is to represent all those people and issues that are routinely forgotten or swept under the rug. The intellectual does so on the basis of universal principles: that all human beings are entitled to expect decent standards of behavior concerning freedom and justice from worldly powers or nations, and that deliberate or inadvertent violations of these standards need to be testified and fought against courageously.” (Representations of the Intellectual, 1993)

https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/17137 Please note: you do not need to be a NEMLA member to submit an abstract.