CFP: Faulkner and Black Caribbean Writers (12-15-12)

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The 2013 Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference
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CFP: "Faulkner and Black Caribbean Writers" Panel for 2013 Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference in Oxford, Mississippi

Quoting Shreve McCannon in Absalom, Absalom!, Greg Forter observes that "[t]he traumas we appear to suffer have always already happened to others, in 'that Porto Rico or Haiti or wherever it was we all came from but none of us ever lived in'" (Forter 130). Shreve, Quentin's Canadian roommate at Harvard, removed from the plantation culture of the South and those other souths that are south of the South, collapses the country from which each of us originates into Haiti and then Haiti into Puerto Rico—the latter a move that a Southerner like Quentin would never make, as Richard Godden notes that in "the South, 'Haiti' is synonymous with 'revolution'" (Glissant Faulkner, MS 30, Godden Fictions of Labor 50). An amorphous Caribbean entity, reminiscent of both Haiti and Puerto Rico, becomes the Edenic land of origins not only for Haitian figures like Eulalia and Charles Bon, but for all of us—if not in the world then at least in North America to encompass Shreve's use of "us," which includes his Canadian self. Forter conceptualizes the trauma of the present as having already occurred, although perhaps in a slightly different form or with a different strength, previously to someone else in a colonized space.

This panel will seek to explore these lines of resonance between the traumas in Faulkner's work and those explored by contemporary black Caribbean women writers, such as Michelle Cliff, Edwidge Danticat, Maryse Conde, Marie Vieux-Chauvet, and Patricia Powell among others. How do these writers represent the reverberations of slavery, plantation hierarchies, and colonialism in their novels or themes, such as physical and sexual violence, lineage, and inheritance? How do these writers grapple with the influence of the past on the present period, and what are the limits to this influence? This panel will explore what this type of comparative work reveals about Faulkner's treatment of these same issues, as well as the ways in which these projects can be seen as speaking back to Faulkner's. Two-page abstracts with a brief CV should be emailed to Jenna Sciuto at by December 15, 2012.