CFP: [Romantic] At Home and Abroad: Hospitality and the Nineteenth-Century British Subject (9/15/08; 2/26-3/1/09)

full name / name of organization: 
Cynthia Schoolar Williams

40th Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
Feb. 26-March 1, 2009
Boston MA

At the beginning of the 19th century, when it was common for European
countries to assert hospitableness as a defining national characteristic,
their proclamations were often accompanied by a violent countervailing
impulse. This panel will explore hospitality, that is, the dynamic
encounter between host and stranger, when the boundary separating known and
unknown is brought into sharp relief.

Any exploration of hospitality must be indebted to Jacques Derrida, for it
is he who has asserted most productively that the hospitable encounter is
the root of all ethical behavior. But a wide variety of theoretical
approaches would be advantageous for this panel: as Derrida himself
argues, the possibility of a radical welcome must always collide with the
politics of limit-making. Thus readings that take a historicist or
materialist approach, for example, would complement post-structuralist
treatments, amplifying our understanding of how hospitality functioned not
only in the British imaginary, but also in the lived reality of British
subjects during a period of multivalent change.

This panel will trace the dynamic of welcome and rejection over the course
of the nineteenth century and across a series of thresholds (personal,
domestic, and international). Exploring the nexus where possession,
self-possession, and obligation confront each other, we will ask how and to
what extent the discourse of hospitality speaks to us with renewed force in
the twenty-first century. Topics for papers may include but are not
limited to:

Itinerancy and homelessness
Emigration and empire
Cosmopolitanism and hospitality
Social work and the home-place
Hospitality and gender
The unstable binary of host and guest
The Romantics and the foreign other
Victorian medievalism and nostalgic hospitality
Industrialization and displacement
The impact of the Reform Bills
The hospitality industry

Please email 300-500 word abstracts to
Deadline: September 15, 2008
Please include with your abstract:
Name and Affiliation
Email address
Postal address
Telephone number
A/V requirements (if any; $10 handling fee)

The complete Call for Papers for the 2009 Convention has been posted:
Interested participants may submit abstracts to more than one NeMLA panel;
however panelists can only present one paper. Convention participants may
present a paper at a panel or seminar and also present at a creative
session or participate in a roundtable.

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Received on Thu Jun 12 2008 - 14:45:49 EDT