Mapping the Self: Place, Identity, Nationality, 15/12/12

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Postgraduate Symposium
15 December, 2012
Oxford Brookes University

In the poem "Originally" Carol Ann Duffy asks, "Do I only think":

I lost a river, culture, speech, sense of first space
and the right place? Now, Where do you come from?
strangers ask. Originally? And I hesitate.

The poem explores the relationships between place, language, culture, and personal identity. These relationships are intensified and complicated when overlapped with notions of
nationality whose geopolitical and cultural definitions frequently clash. How does England- dwelling Duffy, the presiding British Poet Laureate, who was born in Scotland to Irish
immigrant parents, answer the question, "Where do you come from?"

The symposium seeks to explore issues surrounding the formation of identities both national and individual and how the process is related to place, language, and literature. In our increasingly globalized, cosmopolitan world, nationalism continues to be a significant and defining cultural ideology of the 20th and 21st centuries. In "The National Longing for Form" Timothy Brennan observes:

'We live in a world obsessed with national pride…At the same time, we study literature in a discipline with roots in a philological tradition first formulated with the idea of nations in mind, in the very period when modern nation-states were first being formed. The interplay of these factors is everywhere behind contemporary criticism, but rarely expressed openly.'

We invite postgraduate speakers in literature, culture, and modern languages to present 20 minute papers on the following topics or related subjects:

-- Cosmopolitanism vs. nationalism
-- Writing nations within nations: the role of language and literature in subcultures
-- The influence of the author in generating, contesting, or re-visioning National mythologies
-- Regional writings and identities
-- The role of literature and language in forming new nations
-- Literary cartography
-- Literature, identity, and diaspora
-- In-between spaces and selves
-- The role of translation in voicing identity

Please submit abstracts of up to 300 words to by Friday the 2nd of November, 2012.