CFP: [Cultural-Historical] 2008 ACLA Seminar on "Exodus"

full name / name of organization: 
Eliza Slavet
contact email: 

Annual Meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA)
“Arrivals and Departures”
Long Beach, California
April 24-27, 2008
Seminar topic: "Exodus: 'Where We’re Goin’/Where We’re From'"
Seminar organizer: Eliza Slavet
            As a grand narrative of radical transformation, the Biblical story of Exodus has been used
to model, explain and produce political, theological and social change. Yet it has also been used
to cement particular racial, religious and national identities and to establish a sense of continuity
with the past. Particularly in the last three centuries, a number of literary authors, composers,
film-makers and political leaders have turned to Exodus as a source of inspiration. Each version
embraces particular events and characters of the Biblical narrative while it suppresses others. For
example, while Michael Walzer focuses on the liberatory potential of the Exodus narrative,
Edward Said emphasizes the ways in which it has been used to support colonial conquest,
domination and oppression. And while Walzer and Said emphasize the secular political potential
of Exodus, Jonathan Boyarin recalls the explicitly religious contexts in which it has been used.
            This seminar will use Exodus as a point of departure to explore the tensions between
spiritual redemption and earthly political action, between universalist liberation movements and
particular ethnic-religious interventions, between utopian dreams of the future and visionary
appropriations of particular pasts, and between departures and arrivals.
            Topics may include but are not limited to the following: responses to Walzer, Said and
Boyarin; interpretations of works by Sigmund Freud, Zora Neale Hurston, Ahad Ha’am, Martin
Buber, Bob Marley, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Burning Spear, and Arnold Schoenberg; comparisons of
Puritan, Zionist and Pan-Africanist or Jewish, Christian, and Muslim uses of the Exodus narrative.

more info at
Paper title: max. 20 words
Paper proposal: max. 250 words
Bio: max. 50 words
Submit information before Nov. 15, 2007

 From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
             more information at
Received on Thu Oct 18 2007 - 12:48:02 EDT