ACLA 2013: Postcolonial Mediterranean Subjectivity, April 4-7

full name / name of organization: 
Maria Hadjipolycarpou
contact email: 

Dear colleagues,

I am writing to solicit applications for the 2013 conference of the
American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), which will take place
April 4-7 in Toronto. This is a great opportunity for those interested in 19th and 20th century Mediterranean Literature and Culture and in postcolonial studies in general to propose a paper for a series of panels with the general title: "Postcolonial Mediterranean Subjectivity" (see the description below.)
Comparative perspectives within the Mediterranean or of the Mediterranean with other regions, are particularly encouraged.
If you are interested in submitting a proposal or have questions about the conference, please contact me directly (

Maria Hadjipolycarpou

Postcolonial Mediterranean Subjectivity

The Mediterranean remains an unexplored region in postcolonial studies for two reasons: 1) the geopolitical emphasis on Africa, India and Southeast Asia in postcolonial studies; 2) the emphasis, in Mediterranean Studies, on the Mediterranean as a space of co-existence and connectivity. The Mediterranean however, is also a region heavily colonized both by European empires and by Mediterranean regimes like the Ottoman, the Byzantine, the
Venetian, and others; something that historian David Abulafia calls "the cataclysm of conquest" (2003).

This seminar explores questions of postcolonial subjectivity and identity in the Mediterranean in the 19th and 20th century. It explores the ways in which the subject incorporates imperial and colonial pasts and the ways in which it (re)claims its individuality in forms of artistic expression such as literature, film, performance, installation art.

Research questions:

- What conditions shape Mediterranean postcolonial subjectivity?

- Could the study of postcolonial Mediterranean subjectivity
refine the existing methodology in postcolonial studies?

- What new literary and artistic examples the Mediterranean puts
on the postcolonial literary map?

- In which new ways we can think about the relationship between "self" and "other;" colonizer and colonized.

- What is the role of history in postcolonial mediterranean subjectivity?

Possible Topics:

the self and its relationship to history; autobiography; biography; the body; layers of the historical past; ruins; archaeology; the palimpsest; (imaginary) mapping; geography; women and homosexuals as alternative voices
within the nation; stories, storytelling and their embodiment; fascism; resistance through art; hellenism vs hebraism as the two major intellectual trends of the mediterranean; the coexistence of Islam, Christianity and Judaism; the Balkans; the Andriatic; the Black Sea; the Iberian Peninsula; transition from Empire to democracy; corruption; identity and representation in and across the sea; self and other; political/economic relations between the North and the South;

Key words: postcolonialism; empire; nationalism; history; postcolonial subjectivity; the body; storytelling; resistance; temporality.