CFP: [Theory] New Contexts For Minor Literature and National Allegory (ACLA, 3/26-29)

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Bulent Eken
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ACLA Seminar
3/26 - 3/29 Harvard University
Seminar Organizator: Bulent Eken
Duke University

New Contexts For Minor Literature and National Allegory

It has been decades now since the notions of “national allegory” and “minor literature” were
proposed for the study of phenomena that fall within the same literary or aesthetic field. The
conceptions of both Jameson and Deleuze and Guattari are conditioned by the existence of a
“non-first-world” modernist literary/aesthetic production and the demonstrable specificity of its
sources of productivity. However, while Jameson correlates “national allegory” with the moment
of a situation created by the penetration of capitalism into an older culture and soliciting
aesthetic response, Deleuze and Guattari stake the fortune of “minor literature” on a wellspring
of resistance that even thrives, perhaps, on capital’s increasingly tighter control over the social
field, even if this means that the third-world of minor literature is increasingly the ravaged
center and pores of a universal first-world.

This seminar invites papers that address questions provoked by the contemporary world,
approached through these ideas. It is not difficult to refer to examples: a Middle East under
constant occupation, a reconfiguring Latin America, the notorious case of China, an increasingly
forsaken Africa, the politics of the European Union, the somehow more conspicuous and perhaps
commodified Islam, the triumphant global American postmodern culture, its argued loss of world
power notwithstanding, et cetera. Is the expansion of capital so pervasive today that one can no
longer talk about national allegory? What instances of minor literature, if any, can one identify
today? And if literary/aesthetic production in the third and second-worlds develops under the
aegis of the triumphant global American postmodern culture, what conclusions should one draw
for either national allegory or minor literature? Is the case of third-world cinema closed, so that
one should wait for a new formation within the medium of video?

The seminar theme presupposes that we are not necessarily in touch with the configurations of
the ongoing literary/aesthetic production in different parts of the world. Therefore, it
encourages papers based on a fieldwork of artistic production from Africa, Middle East, Latin
America, Asia, etc., in literature and film or video. It also welcomes theoretical engagements with
the paradigms offered by national allegory and minor literature based on case studies or
theoretical challenges posed for them by diverse literary forms.

To submit abstracts, use the ACLA paper-proposal website:


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Received on Tue Sep 16 2008 - 11:22:37 EDT

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