full name / name of organization:
Transnational Humanity: The Invention of Human Rights through the
This ACLA seminar will explore the transatlantic invention of human rights,
and the construction of the multivalent discourse of â€œhumanity,â€ through
the nineteenth-century novel. Novels have participated in directing and
redirecting the discourse of the â€œhumanâ€â€”the human as closed system, as
biopolitical species-being unit, as rational individualâ€”by charting
interiorities that are deemed to constitute a â€œhuman.â€
Specific subjectivities, as inscribed in and by American and British
novels, are deemed 'human' and therefore worthy of citizenship and its
attendant â€œhuman rightsâ€ and privileges, including the privilege of
counting as, and constituting, the nation. During the nineteenth-century,
these subjectivities were constituted by transatlantic writers in relation
to rapid industrialization and unprecedented contact with other peoples.
What were the subjectivities legitimized by nineteenth-century
transatlantic novels? What is the relationship between the subjects of
transcendental rights to the bodies that may embody those rights? How did
liberal discourses of the â€œhuman rightsâ€ support imperialist projects by
Americans and its former imperial mother? What different effects did
competing attempts to humanize female and/or other peoplesâ€”for example, the
feminist and abolitionist movementsâ€”engage with existing matrices?
The American Comparative Literature Association's 2009 annual meeting will
be held in Cambridge, MA, at Harvard University, from March 26-9, 2009. You
can learn more about ACLA and the 2009 meeting here:
Please submit a 250-word proposal through the ACLA 2009 website BY
NOVEMBER 1, 2008: http://www.acla.org/acla2009/. Preference will be given
to transnational work but also welcome is work from either shore from
participants interested in having a transatlantic conversation.
If you have any questions about the seminar, please feel free to contact
Keridiana Chez at kerychez [at] gmail [dot] com.
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Received on Wed Oct 01 2008 - 23:11:10 EDT