CFP: [African-American] ACLA March '09

full name / name of organization: 
James Davis

We seek paper proposals for the seminar "Writing Lives Across the Caribbean Diaspora" at the American Comparative Literature Association conference, March 26-29, 2009. Harvard Univ.
Conference Theme: "Global Languages, Local Cultures"

This seminar invites biographers and students of autobiography, memoir, and testimonio.
Although life writing in various forms remains marginal to literary studies, personal experience is
often used as a source of knowledge in the Caribbean. We are interested in papers that explore
the relationship between local languages and national and/or transnational identities. The choice
of language used to craft a narrative and reach an audience is central to the writer, and this
choice shapes the story that is told as well as its reception. The questions we wish to explore
include: How do we document the lives and work of transnational writers? How are the language
and literary conventions of their narratives affected by the place of composition and publication
and the anticipated audience? How is the distinction between public and private negotiated or
recoded in the writing of these lives? How does experience become a source of knowledge? How
do personal anecdotes become an argument? How do the local cultures, languages, and the
vernacular mediated through life writing interact with global languages and cultures? How do the
time period of the subject and the time period of the writer affect the crafting of the narrative? In
what ways does the experience of between-ness and displacement among Caribbean diaspora
writers resemble or differ from that of the romanticized Modernist writer in exile?

Submissions may be made at the ACLA '09 conference website listed above. Other inquiries,
contact seminar organizers Vanessa Perez Rosario ( or James
Davis (

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Received on Sat Oct 11 2008 - 21:19:14 EDT