[UPDATE] Global Magical Realisms and Speculative Fiction / NeMLA Conference, April 7-10, 2011, New Brunswick, NJ

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Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
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This panel is interested in expanding the range of cultural interpretations across the spectrum of magical realism and speculative fiction. We are especially interested in broadening the scope of literatures previously considered as examples of magical realism.

From the 'real marvelous' of Alejo Carpentier to the magical realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Junot Diaz, Latin America and the Caribbean have been central in discussions of magical realism as a genre. Contemporary scholarship on magical realism foregrounds diverse authors such as Salman Rushdie, Toni Morrison, and Thomas King. We propose to open the discussion to an even more global consideration that includes the speculative fiction of authors such as Kobo Abe, Andrew Lam, and Nalo Hopkinson.

Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris caution that the dichotomy encoded in the term magical realism "implies a clearer opposition between magic and reality" than is understood by authors and their characters in so-called magical realist texts. Recent fiction by Asian, Native American, African, Caribbean, and Latin American authors has further pushed the boundaries of realism and magical realism, sometimes creating a more obvious distinction between real and imaginative realms with a variety of fantastic and speculative devices. This panel will explore these fictional techniques and their thematic purposes. Why is it important to distinguish among terms such as fantasy, myth, spirituality, and magic? In what ways do cultural and literary traditions shape the writers' imagination? How does this imaginative literature reflect social, historical, and cultural realities?

Deadline for proposals: September 30, 2010.

Please submit a 250-500 word abstract to Karen Li Miller (University of Connecticut) and Anita Duneer (Rhode Island College) at aduneer@ric.edu.

Please include with your abstract:

Name and Affiliation
Email address
Postal address
Telephone number
A/V requirements (if any; $10 handling fee with registration)

The 42nd Annual Convention will feature approximately 360 sessions, as well as pre-conference workshops, dynamic speakers and cultural events. Details and the complete Call for Papers for the 2011 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. Do not accept a slot if you may cancel to present on another session.