Empires, States, Forms

deadline for submissions: 
March 15, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
MLA Joint Session of the Romanian and the Hungarian Forums, Modern Language Association, 2020 (Seattle, WA)
contact email: 

Empires, States, Forms

The countries of Central, Eastern, and South-Eastern Europe witnessed a series of political upheavals and fundamental changes in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Their overlapping and intersecting histories are marked by the dissolution of multinational, multiethnic, and multi-confessional empires, take-over by and independence from empires, the formation of modern nation states, and the question of minorities. The joint session of the Romanian and Hungarian Forums of the MLA invites papers that address these changes from the perspective of literary and cultural production. How is the dissolution of multinational empires narrated in cultural works? How do these works address the role of different languages within the Austro-Hungarian empire, for example, and the new status of national languages after its dissolution? In what forms does literature bear witness to and engage with the formation of nation states? What role did intellectuals play in forging a new sense of belonging – to national communities but also to humanity in general, especially in times of change? How did they reflect on what it meant to be human or retain one’s humanity in the face of violent historical events such as World War I? Which broader cultural and political discourses do these cultural works place themselves in conversation with, both in a national and transnational context? How can they be placed in fruitful dialogue with one another so as to yield new lines of inquiry in literary and cultural studies beyond national philologies?

Papers may address but are not limited to the following questions: 

-       Metaphors and forms of dissolution

-       Politics of literary form

-       Constructions of other and self, formation of identities

-       Questions of language, mono- and multilingualism, and translation

-       Transcultural and transnational studies of the regions

-       Possibilities and limits of the human in the modern world

Please send a 250-300 word abstract and a short bio to Lilla Balint at lbalint@berkeley.edu by 15 March, 2019. Expected length of presentations: 15 minutes. Queries prior to submission are welcome.