ACLA 2013 Seminar: Psychologies of Space in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature and Culture

full name / name of organization: 
Adam Meehan (The University of Arizona

ACLA 2013 (Toronto, ON) – April 5-7, 2013

Seminar: Psychologies of Space in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature and Culture

Seminar Leader: Adam Meehan (The University of Arizona)

Deadline for proposals: November 1, 2012

Conference Website:

Note: You must submit your papers through the ACLA website submission form; you will select the name of this seminar from the drop down menu:

Our relationship to space has evolved more radically since the turn of the twentieth century than in the rest of human history previous. Despite remarkable concurrent progress in the field of psychology, however, comparatively little has been said about how notions of space influence human consciousness.

With a focus on literature and culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, this seminar will explore the ways in which writers have understood and represented human psychology in relation to space. Has the literal and/or figurative compression of space created new kinds of psychological stress on the individual? What are the psychological effects of cyberspace and its tendency to act as a repository and outlet for our thoughts, emotions, and desires? We frequently talk about the ways in which we manipulate the spaces around us, but how do those spaces actually affect us psychologically?

Submissions from any theoretical perspective are welcome, as are those that treat either individual texts/concepts or ones that take broader historical approaches, as long as they maintain a primary focus on issues related to psychology. Contributors may draw upon defined disciplines like environmental psychology, but are also free to consider the work of figures like Kristeva, Foucault, Lacan, Žižek, and others whose work tends toward transdisciplinarity. While one might consider philosophically-oriented texts like Gaston Bachelard's La poétique de l'espace (1958), Henri Lefebvre's La Production de l'espace (1974), or Georges Perec's Espèces d'espaces (1974), the above directive regarding adherence to the seminar theme should be kept in mind.