EACLALS Postgraduate Conference - "Reworking Postcolonialism: Globalization, Labour and Rights"

full name / name of organization: 
European Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies

Reworking Postcolonialism: Globalization, Labour and Rights

EACLALS Postgraduate Conference
Institute of English Studies, University of London

26-27 August 2011

Keynote Speaker
Professor Frank Schulze-Engler (Goethe University, Frankfurt)

Deadline for abstracts: 1 May 2011

Although provision is made for postgraduates in the workshop sessions where they can discuss their research, we invite proposals from scholars at all levels of their career

More than two decades ago, Gayatri Spivak problematised the role of the 'international division of labour' in the production, re-production, and representational impasse(s) concerning the rural subaltern in postcolonial discourse. Since then, postcolonial studies has undergone substantial transformation in its disciplinary conventions. In what Neil Lazarus has called the 'fetish of the West', postcolonial studies, from originally being an oppositional discourse to Eurocentrism and humanism, has embarked upon an entirely new strand of theories and theorizing in the name of hybridity, cosmopolitanism, and contrapuntality. Globalization has remained at the crux of these developments with the movement of people, expansion of monopoly capital, flow of commodities and information technologies, and the international division of labour engineered therein – from economic migration, call centres and sweat shops to the reproduction of rural subalterns.

More recently, the decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, continued terrorist threats in the West, and the so-called global financial meltdown in 2008 have opened up an entirely new corpus of sensibilities that inform much of global(ization) politics today. At the same time, the Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples in 2007 and the demands of some 370 million Indigenous peoples around the world for self-determination, and separate provision of economic and cultural rights, present a daunting challenge to postcolonial studies' premature celebration of cosmopolitanism and globalization. Arif Dirlik's (1991) contention that postcolonial studies remains complicit with global capitalism has acquired renewed meaning in the face of an aggressive institutionalisation of the field, and the everyday accumulation of what can be called 'career capital' for those scholars who produce postcolonial studies in the name of the Third World, but consume the knowledge produced within the Western academic tradition.

In light of these challenges, this conference aims to provide a space for postgraduate students, faculty, independent scholars and artists to critically reflect upon the themes of globalization, labour and rights. The question of whether postcolonial studies has eroded or reaffirmed concepts of labour and rights with both their Marxist or European affiliations requires more debate. In this respect, the conference particularly welcomes culturalist approaches that introduce alternative perspectives to European thought. We invite papers from scholars working in the disciplines of literature, history, cultural studies, sociology, film and media studies, human geography, linguistics, politics, religious studies, communication, and other relevant fields. Proposals reflecting an interdisciplinary approach are particularly welcome. Some suggested themes are:

• Globalization, Post-Multiculturalism and Post-Eurocentrism

• Globalization, Labour, and Subalternity

• Rights, Universality and Humanism

• Cultural/Indigenous Conceptions of Labour

• Cultural Rights, Minority Rights and Globalization.

• Globalization, Exiles, Refuges and Economic Migration

• Human Trafficking, Illegal Labour, State and the Rights

• Indigenous Peoples, Land and Collective Rights

• Postcolonialism as a Vocation, Work and Career

Although the conference is open to scholars at all stages of their career, we particularly welcome proposals from postgraduate students and to share and discuss their work in progress. In addition to paper presentations, postgraduate students are encouraged to present early findings of their research in the form of posters. The conference will also host training workshops on professional and research skills.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words for individual presentations (20 minutes), workshop presentations or poster presentations to eaclals.pg.conference@googlemail.com. Include your name, affiliation, email address, a brief biography and indicate whether you will present in a PANEL, or with a POSTER.

Abstracts: Deadline for abstracts is: 01 May 2011

For further information about the conference, please see the website at www.eaclals.ulg.ac.be/pg-conference

Participants must be EACLALS members. Please see the EACLALS website at http://www.eaclals.org for subscription rates and further information.