CFP: [Cultural-Historical] Dec. 3 Comparative Diasporas ACLA 2008

full name / name of organization: 
Ursula Lindqvist
contact email: 

Call for Papers
American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting
Long Beach, CA
April 24-27, 2008
Deadline for submissions: December 3, 2007

Re-Writing the Promised Land: Comparative Diasporas

In 2006, Iranian-born theater director Farnaz Arbabi rewrote Vilhelm Moberg’s diasporic novel
The Emigrants (1949) for the Swedish stage. Moberg’s original depicts the Nilsson family and
their neighbors emigrating from a town in rural Sweden in 1845, a time of famine and crop
failures in their homeland, in search of a better life in the “Promised Land” of the United States.
Arbabi’s play rewrites Moberg’s epic tale to feature Balkan emigrants who leave their homeland in
search of a better life in twenty-first century Sweden, which is now one of the world’s wealthiest
nation-states. Arbabi’s act of re-writing attends closely to the trauma modern-day emigrants’
children experience over their irreparable separation from a “native” culture that informs their
ethnic identities in the new land, connecting diasporas of past and present and forcing new
conceptions of fluid and transnational identities. This panel invites papers that investigate how
writers, as well as artists from the non-literary arts, and from a wide variety of linguistic and
cultural loci, re-write classical and/or “nation-building” tales of diaspora in a way that opens up
spaces for new articulations of transnational culture in the global era. This panel also invites
theoretical investigations of how to conceive of comparative diaspora(s) amid late twentieth and
early twenty-first century challenges to postcolonial studies’ critical formulation of the center-
periphery model. A few examples of such challenges include José Jorge Klor de Alva’s 1992 essay
“Colonialism and Postcolonialism as (Latin) American Mirages,” Arjun Appadurai’s essay
“Disjuncture and difference in the global cultural economy” (in Theorizing Diasporas, 2003), and
Brent Hayes Edwards’ reconceptualization of African Diaspora in The Practice of Diaspora:
Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism (2003). Finally, this panel invites
papers that investigate gendered re-writings of epic tales of diaspora to highlight female as well
as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered perspectives. Paper proposals can be submitted on
the ACLA web site at Questions may be directed to
Ursula Lindqvist at

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Received on Sun Nov 25 2007 - 15:43:08 EST