CFP: [20th] ACLA 2009 Seminar: "Literary Journalism across Cultures"

full name / name of organization: 
Isabelle Meuret
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Literary journalism emerged as a distinctive genre in the 1950s and 60s, at
a time when dramatic changes were shaping American society. As traditional
journalism no longer provided relevant tools to describe countercultural
realities, writers had to create new techniques to render this unique
zeitgeist. Although “American exceptionalism” (Boynton) is attached to the
genre, nonfiction writing is not a local phenomenon: there exists a
community of literary journalists across the globe. Are there distinct
specificities to be found in literary journalism worldwide? Can we
postulate the existence of an international canon? Or, is it dominated by
American writers?

Across time and space, talented writers seem compelled to blur the
boundaries between fact and fiction whenever events overflow the frame of
traditional journalism. Nonfiction writers dispute the supremacy of
objectivity and give new prominence to the role of the story-teller as a
mediator of reality. As global media offer an increasingly homogenized and
Manichean vision of the world, nonfiction writers question these
metanarratives and provide their own worldview tinged with journalistic
imagination. Does literature come to the rescue of journalism in
deciphering mythologies of power and political fictions? Or does the
coalescence and hybridization of both disciplines reinforce the
hyperreality inherent in our postmodern societies?

This seminar seeks to investigate the literary devices used by nonfiction
writers, i.e. the diverse forms, styles, topics, approaches, and even the
shortcomings of the genre. We are particularly interested in papers that
discuss literary journalism from a comparative perspective and encourage
intercultural dialogue.

Participants are invited to submit their paper proposals online, via the
ACLA website. Conference convenors: David Abrahamson (Northwestern U) and
Isabelle Meuret (Université Libre de Bruxelles).

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Received on Sat Oct 04 2008 - 09:20:40 EDT