CFP: [General] Travelers in Residence: Cosmopolitanism in Liminal Spaces (11/15/07, ACLA 4/24-27/08)

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Erika Baldt
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“I am enjoying this Hotel life. There is a kind of feeling of
irresponsibility about it that is fascinating. Would you not like to try
all sorts of lives — one is so very small — but that is the satisfaction of
writing — one can impersonate so many people.” Katherine Mansfield

Formulations of arrival and departure often presuppose a certain fixed
point of destination or return, a definition of home as solid ground from
which journeys can be launched. Yet the condition of being a permanent
“traveler in residence”, to use Maeve Brennan’s phrase, suggests a
deliberate unmooring from conventional strategies of self-location. This
seminar seeks to investigate sites such as the hotel, the refugee camp, the
ship, and the shelter, which comprehend both arrival and departure and pose
challenges to traditional conceptions of place-based identity formation.

While the predominant interpretation of such liminal sites and the inherent
suspension of typical identity markers they contain has placed emphasis on
the negative connotations of exile and isolation, we invite the
interrogation of texts, whether literary or cinematic, which engage with
these spaces in terms of a cosmopolitan estrangement from the familiar and
an embrace of the unknown and unexpected. Examining how and where one might
“try all sorts of lives” may then open up further questions regarding the
growing prevalence of the condition of liminality in globalized society and
the possibilities offered by such phenomena for the negotiation of an
increasingly fractured world.

Deadline for submissions is 15 November 2007.
For more information, contact Erika Baldt, Goldsmiths, University of
For general information about the ACLA annual meeting and to submit a
proposal, please go to

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Received on Sun Oct 21 2007 - 08:59:52 EDT

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