CFP: [International] international conference on fundamentalism in literature

full name / name of organization: 
Catherine Pesso-Miquel

Fundamentalism(s) and Literature â€" An International Conference
Convened by Professor Catherine Pesso-Miquel, University of Lyon (Lyon 2)
Unité Mixte de Recherche : LIRE/Sema (UMR 5611)
Conference venue : École Normale Supérieure, Lyon, France.

29-30 May 2008

Fundamentalism, which implies strict adherence to the fundamental
principles of a set of beliefs, typically relies for guidance on one
Book, spurning all other books, and rejects any equivocal plurality of
interpretations: there is but one book, one truth, one meaning.
Literature on the other hand implies a multiplicity of meanings and
readings, a multiplicity of books, and endless intertextuality, with
every new work providing new readings and a rewriting of many other
previous works. In other words, literalness and literariness seem to
belong to opposite poles.
Our post-modern world takes multiplicity for granted, but it is also the
locus in which fundamentalisms, especially of the religious kind, have
multiplied and thrived. For instance, among Evangelicals in the USA,
Islamist Muslims in many countries, Nationalist Hindus in India, Orthodox
Jews in Israel, etc., many are those who define themselves and/or act as
fundamentalists. Their hatred of books can take the milder form of bans,
or more radical forms such as harassment and murder of authors.
The aim of this conference is to enquire into the relationships between
fundamentalism(s) and literature, an association that so far has been
rarely studied: literature can be for fundamentalism a sophisticated
propaganda tool, but in most cases literature becomes a privileged
platform of resistance to fundamentalisms and all forms of essentialisms.
Contributors are encouraged to look into the different possible
negotiations of literature with fundamentalisms, principally (but not
exclusively) within the field of literature in English. In this context,
could it be said that the functions of resistance and commitment within
the literary text, hitherto fallen into the scorned category of the
unfashionable and politically incorrect, are being given a new lease of
life? The literary texts thus scrutinised need not be contemporary:
proposals on John Milton, Voltaire, Jonathan Swift are possible examples
alongside contemporary authors such as Salman Rushdie.
Contributors may wish to consult the following previous publications:
Pesso-Miquel, C. and K. Stierstorfer (eds.). Fundamentalism and
Literature. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 43/2, August 2007 (special issue
entitled “Literature as Resistance: Challenging Religious, Linguistic,
Casteist, Racist and Sexist Essentialisms”).

Deadline for abstracts: 1 December 2007
All papers must be in English. Please send a tentative title and an
abstract (300 to 500 words) by email to: Catherine.Pesso.Miquel_at_univ-

Contact: Catherine Pesso-Miquel, Université de Lyon (Lyon 2), Faculté des
Langues, 74, rue Pasteur, 69365 Lyon Cedex 07.

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Received on Fri Sep 07 2007 - 10:24:23 EDT