Mapping the New: Aesthetics, New Directions and Innovations in Literature and Culture, February 21-22, 2010

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Department of English Literature and Linguistics at Qatar University
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 International Literature Symposium:

 Mapping the New: Aesthetics, New Directions and Innovations in Literature and Culture, Organized by Department of English Literature and Linguistics at Qatar University, February 21-22, 2010

The bi-annual Literature Symposium organized by the Department of EnglishLiterature and Linguistics at Qatar University, Mapping the New: Aesthetics, New Directions and Innovations in Literature and Culture. The keynote speakers include Professor David Damrosch, Harvard University and Professor Sabry Hafez, SAOS and Qatar University.


The Symposium is aimed to attract scholars both from the Middle East and from the global community. The Symposium is focused around the idea of novelty and interdisciplinary approaches to 'The New' – in literature, theory, culture, law and related fields.

This Symposium will explore the state of literature and culture in this transitional moment. Across two days scholars will explore related themes, concepts and practices of 'The New' in a series of related and inter-connected conversations, speeches and panels. The current global crisis has resulted infinancial stagnation and dwindling production as the specter of recession haunts the international economy. Yet ironically this economic crisis is matched by exuberance in the artistic and literary fields of production, which overflow with new experiments and innovations.


Both art and literature have been explicating and heralding many of capitalism's difficulties and ailments, long before the market data confirmed a collapse. Literature, literary criticism and literary theory, have long been involved inideological and aesthetic repudiation of hegemonic social forms that were embraced as orthodoxy only two or three decades ago. The politics of unbridled market-capitalism so recently discredited as unsustainable at the very least have long been rejected by writers and critics, who sought new discourses and visions, long before the G8 or the hastily formed G20 searched for one.


This symposium aims to bring together scholars from the region and the wider Arab world with international scholars to study the new literature of the Arab world and elsewhere. The 'new' does not merely transform traditional genres; the internet has given rise to a proliferation of new discourses which urgently require theoretical inquiry. This other space or the other of literature has produced new writings and hybrid genres situated between the virtual and the material, the novel and the blog; between national languages and global ones. We seek to elucidate the features of this new literature, to investigate itsdirections, and chart its poetics and aesthetics. Our main question is: doesthe 'new' imply a more fundamental break than the periodic alterations determined by the ongoing imperative of stylistic innovation?


Please send a 250-word abstract by December 15, 2009 to Moneera Al-Ghadeer