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Rhetoric, Rights, and Transatlantic Modernist Fiction
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41st Anniversary Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
What are the rhetorical parameters of human rights? How are rights defined, and who is entitled to them? This panel will engage with the ethical implications of formations of language in Transatlantic Modernist fiction. The Modernist era saw the development of a host of declarations, treaties, and conventions aiming to codify an emerging philosophy of supposedly “universal” human rights. Whereas the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) purported to detail “the inalienable rights of all members of the human family,” the American Anthropological Association Statement on Human Rights (1947) took pointed issue with the presumption implicit in documents such as the Declaration, asking how the realities of cultural relativism could possibly allow for a universally recognized conception of human rights. This panel will consider how British and American Modernist literary texts register and comment on these tensions. How does the literary production of this period frame and anticipate contemporary debates on the nature and scope of human rights? Please send a 300-word abstract with your name, institutional affiliation, and A/V requirements (if any, $10 handling fee)
The 41st Annual Convention will feature approximately 350 sessions, as well as dynamic speakers and cultural events. Details and the complete Call for Papers for the 2010 Convention will be posted in June: www.nemla.org.
Interested participants may submit abstracts to more than one NeMLA session; however panelists can only present one paper (panel or seminar). Convention participants may present a paper at a panel and also present at a creative session or participate in a roundtable.
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