Sentimental Geographies: Geography, Affect, and Contemporary Cultural Practice. 24 February 2012

full name / name of organization: 
CUNY Graduate Center, PhD in French

SENTIMENTAL GEOGRAPHIES: Geography, Affect, and Contemporary Cultural Practice

"Autrement dit, la littérature ne se produit pas dans une suspension, ce n'est pas une suspension en l'air. Elle provient d'un lieu…"
— Édouard Glissant

"The personal vocabulary, the individual melody whose metre is one's biography, joins in that sound, with any luck, and the body moves like a walking, a waking island."
— Derek Walcott

When, during the Arab Spring, the journalist Hamid Dabashi wrote that, "The world is giving birth to a new geography of itself," he touched upon a crucial area for exploration that goes beyond the narrowly political and presents rich possibilities both within and beyond French studies. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, we ask how changing conditions of identity and technology have inflected geographical definition, not only as a new set of cartographies emerges but also as these conditions influence networks of emotion and affect. Considering the influence of Deleuze and Guattari's spatial metaphor of the rhizome, as well as Édouard Glissant's more recent theorizing of la Relation and the totalité-monde, how might a new understanding of geography relate to, or even help to articulate, emotional or affective experience? Given the rapid social and political transformations of this century, what different poetic and artistic articulations reveal themselves in this nexus of emotion, affect, and place?

The multilingual poetics and theories of the Caribbean, for instance, give us assertions like that of Glissant, wherein "L'Inde est imaginaire, mais sa manifestation ne l'est pas"; Derek Walcott writes of a "walking…waking island." How is geographical space transformed, through affective and/or aesthetic processes, into artistic site or public space? What are the problems raised by such a binary reading? What are the implications of situating the artist, or artwork, in terms of geographical identity? We welcome submissions that focus on poetics, politics, and/or the visual in relation to the geographical, beginning with a focus on French and French studies but extending into other disciplines of art history, poetry and poetics, political studies, and translation.

Questions raised by papers might include (but are not limited to) the following:

Political identity;
Relationship between identity and place;
Conceptual practices in art and writing (historically and today);
Visual/poetic representations of place/landscape;
Questions of and/or Hybrid articulations of genre;
Sexualities, the body, and desire;
Movement of people/s;
The place of affect in poetic or artistic movements.

Abstracts of 200 words should be submitted as Microsoft Word attachment (.doc) to by 1 December 2011.