Post-45 vs. The World: Global Perspectives on the Contemporary (NeMLA 2019)
Much of the work done on the post-45 literary field carries an implicitly Americanist perspective. Even the name of the field suggests a certain literary history, with certain assumptions and blind spots about national spaces, identities, and histories. But what would post-45 look like when considered from outside of the United States? How do the current contours of the field exclude certain voices, either in the United States or elsewhere in the world? And, how would such new perspectives shift the beginning and possible endpoint of that literary period? What new narratives of the contemporary emerge if we begin telling the story in a different year or from a different national or global perspective?
This panel attempts to re-frame the discussions in post-45 by engaging with non-American writers, texts, and perspectives. Additionally, productive conversations might emerge by attempting to think of canonical American writers, like Thomas Pynchon or Toni Morrison, from other national or global perspectives. We will consider both the ways texts themselves as well as their reception histories approach and challenge our understandings of the contemporary. Ultimately, the panel will work to interrogate prevailing narratives of history, culture, identity, and space within the post-45 field. In so doing, we will re-consider the historical periodization of the field, which currently covers approximately 75 years of literary history. The panel welcomes papers from all theoretical traditions and methodologies.