Digital Poet(h)ics and Transnational Cultures (workshop session - abstracts by May 8, 2011)

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21st AISNA Conference: Democracy and Difference: The U.S. in Multidisciplinary and Comparative Perspectives, Trento, Italy, 26-29 October 2011

In the past decades digital technologies, new media art, Web 2.0 practices, cybertextualities, and electronic archives have become inescapable presences in the field of knowledge/s and the "unprecedented complexity of the digital", in Arthur Kroker's terms, is increasingly changing the very nature of our ways of processing information, theories, cultures, relationships.
Literature has grown well beyond the borders of the printed page, at the same time reinscribing itself across, rather than within, the borders of the nation-state. Our panel focuses on literature and textualities that have to do with aesthetics, forms and techniques made available by digital innovations. We want to consider how they are informed by and how they substantiate new (and old) fluid, variably visible, often contested communities formed in the vast trans-hemispheric multilingual contact zones created by instant communication, English as a lingua franca, electronic translators and g-local connectivity.
Projecting American literature on the virtual and the global space will contribute to the current "remapping" of the field "in a matrix of historical-geographical materialism" in order "to think through the variegated forms of its imaginary relations to the real dimensions of physical space" (Giles 2011).

We encourage contributions on issues connecting practices native to the digital environment with the multicultural diversity of the U.S. literary production, papers that examine how the inter-cultural nature of digital expression can reverberate on/in U.S. new media works and other areas of social and cultural production, studies on the current transformations in editing, publishing, storing, reading and translating, discussions on the function and use of the social media.
We are also interested in asking how the technology and new media content are reconfiguring international relations of power and knowledge, how digital resources change academic research even in traditional areas (see, for ex., the Walt Whitman Archive, whose digital existence has profoundly changed and innovated research on the American poet in a transcultural, multilingual and dialogic sense), how texts are increasingly considered forms between forms, transient events built in time and (irretrievable, unique, always different) performances, and how the writing process itself takes place "en présence de toutes les langues du monde" (Glissant 1999), where languages are national languages but also codes, systems of signs, idiolects.

Please send abstracts (300 words) and a short CV to or


The 21st AISNA Biennial International Conference offers a forum for critical engagement with American Studies—with the US, as well as with "America" and the Americas, Europe and the Americas, the North and the South, and the trans-Atlantic and the intra-Pacific.
Consideration is given to democracy and difference in various social, cultural and institutional contexts, highlighting both interior and international perspectives, as well as to expressions and interpretations of possible interconnections among multicultural societies. Multidisciplinary and comparative approaches are deployed to map the distinct yet interconnected geographies of the present to engage democracies enriched by difference and differences nourished by democracy—i.e., to provoke a fruitful conjugation of the differencing of democracy with the democratization of differences.

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