The Beautiful and the Good: Exploring the Beauty Controversy in Contemporary Fiction

full name / name of organization: 
Margaret E. Mitchell
contact email: 
mmitchel@westga.edu

SAMLA 2009: Writers, philosophers and artists have long pondered the relationship between the beautiful and the good. Elaine Scarry’s seductive _On Beauty and Being Just_ leaps calmly into the fray, arguing that beauty “actually assists us in the work of addressing justice,” thereby establishing a tenuous relationship between beauty and human rights. But the opposing argument--that beauty essentially derails justice, either by distracting or lulling the senses or, more insidiously, by aestheticizing what is dangerous and unjust—-still thrives. This panel welcomes proposals for twenty minute papers on contemporary fictional explorations (whether overt, as in Zadie Smith’s _On Beauty_, or implicit) of this controversy. By May 30, 2009, please submit 250-word proposals to Margaret E. Mitchell, University of West Georgia, at mmitchel@westga.edu. November 6-8, 2009 in Atlanta, GA.

cfp categories: 
american
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
gender_studies_and_sexuality
twentieth_century_and_beyond