ACLA, 4-7 April 2013, Toronto "Packing and Unpacking: On Portable Belongings and Identities "(DEADLINE: NOV. 15 2012)

full name / name of organization: 
American Comparative Literature Association

Packing, both literally and figuratively, marks the first ritual of any journey; to unpack, likewise, marks the last ritual of arrival. No matter why we set out, whether in search of adventure, of ourselves, or of a cure, we always carry something along with us. In fact, it will be these things which will, in great measure, define the journey. How do we "pack" our belongings and our identities? How do these transform the spaces we encounter along the way? How are these transformed by the spaces in which they are situated? What do we take with us to give us comfort when we leave our comfort zones?
On the other hand, we unpack so as to provide a measure of order. We unpack, and through unpacking we give order to our surroundings; in return, our surroundings provide an order to our objects and to ourselves. We give everything its "proper" place. We negotiate between that which we brought with us and that which we encounter upon arrival.
This seminar explores the dynamics of packing and unpacking as a fundamental ritual of travel which involves encounter, negotiation, and transformation of politically and socially charged objects, identities and spaces.

Suggested Topics:
What is portable about our homes and ourselves?
Packing and unpacking illness. Illness as identity.
Identity of Space. Ascription of illness or health to a certain space.
Unpacking as a practice of space construction.
Tracing the transformation of things and identities across time and space.
Origin/original vs derivative/derivation.

SEMINAR KEYWORDS: Packing/Unpacking; Identity; Body; Portable; Space; Place; Belonging(s); Home; Journey; Order; Departure; Arrival; Illness/Curative Space.