Salman Rushdie in the 21st century

full name / name of organization: 
University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies

Salman Rushdie in the 21st Century: Swallowing a world
Date: 7-8 November 2013
Convener: University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies
Venue: Faculty of Letters, University of Lisbon

Keynote speakers

Abdulrazak Gurnah

Vijay Mishra

Priyamvada Gopal

Following the announcement of the release in September 2012 of Salman Rushdie's memoir, Joseph Anton (alias adopted while under a fatwa that sentenced him to death in 1989), it seems timely to survey the relevance of the work of such a prolific author in the 21st century. The impact it has had, since 1975, on various aspects – cultural, literary, ideological, political, and even theoretical, inextricable of the development of postcolonial studies – deserves the critical attention that an event such as this international conference is able to generate.

Post-2000 monographs and volumes of essays on Rushdie's work have largely followed a literary-based trajectory and adopted a postcolonial and/or postmodern reading of the Rushdie corpus with the result that the critical methods employed have often remained narrowly inscribed in a particular disciplinary field and that the lion's share of this research has focused on themes of globalisation, migrancy, and cultural hybridity.
Without intending to downplay the relevance of these themes, indeed central to Rushdie's work and will be more than welcome as topics of presentations and panels, this international conference aims to gather Rushdie scholars and add new critical itineraries and frameworks of interpretation of the writer's fiction and non-fiction. In this sense, it is an event intent on examining not only Rushdie's writings, but also his subsumption into an image-making machinery as star literary author, global brand, and celebrity intellectual. Of special interest to this conference are presentations which scrutinise, from various disciplines and research areas, Rushdie's life-long oeuvre, an oeuvre open to multiple readings, and also presentations which look at the roles performed by Rushdie across multiple creative platforms including, besides those of novelist and short story writer, also those of public intellectual, reviewer, and film critic. Furthermore, assessing Rushdie's influence on other authors (For example; his role as gatekeeper for South Asian writing in English), will be an expected output of this conference.

Considering that Rushdie's oeuvre and public persona (what might be termed the "literary Rushdie" and the "non-literary Rushdie") will certainly act as a facilitator for interdisciplinary dialogue, the aim of the organizers is to bring together a truly interdisciplinary group of scholars from literature, cultural studies, anthropology, history, politics, the social sciences and other related disciplines.
Accordingly, topics and themes of interest include, but are not restricted to, the following:
• Rushdie's recent work (both literary and as a screenwriter, film critic, etc.)
• Rushdie's memoirs
• Memory and history in Rushdie's narratives
• Revisionist ideas of nation and homeland in Rushdie's work
• Rushdie and transnational belonging
• Postimperial/global imaginaries in Rushdie's work
• Rushdie and exile
• Rushdie and the fatwa
• Rushdie and migration/migrant experience
• Rushdie's role as gatekeeper for Indian Writing in English
• Rushdie's public persona in films and other popular representations
• Rushdie's presence in cyberspace
• Gender, sexuality and feminism in Rushdie's work
• Jewish characters and themes in Rushdie's work
• Place and displacement in Rushdie's fiction and non-fiction
• Rushdie's popularity / Rushdie as pop star
• Rushdie and 9/11
• Rushdie and politics
• Rushdie and the politics of language
• Rushdie and literary inheritances: magic realism, historical epics, and beyond
• Rushdie and the publishing industry
• Rushdie's children's literature
• Rushdie and visual culture
• Post-Rushdie theoretical/artistic works and authors (e.g. "Midnight's grandchildren")
• Rushdie's reception outside the Anglophone world (Portugal, Spain, France, etc.)
• Rushdie as an intellectual / Rushdie's relationship with intellectuals (Said, Hitchens, ...) / intellectuals' response to Rushdie
• Rushdie in the media
• Rushdie as renegade
Abstracts (max. 300 words) and other queries should be sent to by 31 December 2012. Please include the full title of your paper, name, institutional affiliation, contact information (postal address and e-mail address) and a short bionote.
Organizing/scientific committee:
Local committee (ULICES)
Luisa Leal de Faria, Cristina Baptista, Luísa Flora, Margarida Martins, Ana Mendes, Maria José Pires, Teresa Malafaia
Helena Carneiro, Ana Daniela Coelho
External committee
Celia Wallhead, University of Granada
Christopher Rollason
Dave Gunning, University of Birmingham
Felicity Hand, Autonomous University of Barcelona
Isabel Alves, UTAD
Ludmila Volna, University of Paris XII
Jacinta Matos, University of Coimbra
Joel Kuortti, University of Turku
Sofia Biscaia, University of Aveiro
Yael Maurer, University of Tel Aviv