CFP: [Theory] Ambiguities of Presence: The Online Avatar as Rhetorical Performance of Identity (ACLA 2008)

full name / name of organization: 
Regina Yung
contact email: 

American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting
April 24-27, 2008
Long Beach, CA
Deadline: December 3rd, 2007

Ambiguities of Presence: The Online Avatar as Rhetorical Performance of

Any representation of the self is not just for the self â€" it is designed to
provoke or invoke a response from others. As such, the online avatar
performs the self in the post-geographic community. The avatar bears the
trace of presence, an identity-establishing performativity encoding the
longings and delusions of its creator into an easily recognizable form.
Carrying the connotations of incarnation into the twenty-first century, the
avatar conveys authorship/agency within the uncertain borders of the online

The intent of this panel is to examine, analyze and explore the avatar
through a variety of lenses, disciplines, and frameworks. What theoretical
constructs can we use to understand the avatar? What is the nature of the
avatar as representation â€" sign, symbol, logo, brand, etc.? How does the
avatar act according to societal dictates and online-specific modes of
conduct? How might the avatar’s construction be socially or culturally
determined? What are the ethical implications of the use of avatars? How
does membership in online communities signify arrival and/or departure?
Also, how might the avatar, a symbolic representation, be a departure from
the traditional conception of presence based on bodily reality?

The deadline for submissions is Dec.3rd, 2007. Please submit paper
proposals through the ACLA website:

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Received on Thu Nov 29 2007 - 03:13:48 EST