REMINDER: The Writing Body: Oralité, Écriture, and Corporeal Language

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The Writing Body: Oralité, Ecriture, and Corporeal Language
45th Annual Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) April 3-6, 2014
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Host: Susquehanna University

A crucial epistemological, aesthetic, and cultural underpinning of literature from the French Antilles is the relation between orality and writing. Be it invoked from an overtly political stance such as that endorsed by the Créolistes or from a gendered space of feminine knowledge formation and transmission illustrated by Gisèle Pineau and Maryse Condé, the connections between speaking and inscription, cultural specificity and individual empowerment, emerge out of a network of existential questions that bear upon notions of individual subjectivity and collective life. The economy of the spoken and written word thus delineates the literary landscape of the French Caribbean while shedding light on patterns of political, social, and cultural affiliations.

Yet women's writing from the French Caribbean demonstrates that orality and writing need to be understood as more than purely linguistic codes. If Édouard Glissant alludes to this corporeal language when he notes "une posture du corps dans l'oralité," it is in fact women writers from the French Antilles that make the most compelling claim for the body as an instrument of expression that expands upon the at-times static configuration of oralité-écriture. In suffusing their texts with not only narrative but visual evocations of the body as a source of writing, women writers elucidate a key intermediary space in the production of literature.

This panel thus seeks to engage questions about the writing body in women's texts from the French Caribbean. How do women represent the body as a source of knowledge formation that emerges from an impulse to write? How does the female body inscribe as well as expand upon traditional conceptions of orality and writing? How do images of a writing body not only transform metaphysical notions of being but also physical conditions of vulnerability and agency?

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Deadline: September 30, 2013
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The 2014 NeMLA convention continues the Association's tradition of sharing innovative scholarship in an engaging and generative location. This capitol city set on the Susquehanna River is known for its vibrant restaurant scene, historical sites, the National Civil War museum, and nearby Amish Country, antique shops and Hershey Park. NeMLA has arranged low hotel rates of $104-$124.

The 2014 event will include guest speakers, literary readings, professional events, and workshops. A reading by George Saunders will open the Convention. His 2013 collection of short fiction, The Tenth of December, has been acclaimed by the New York Times as: "the best book you'll read this year." NeMLA's Keynote Speaker will be David Staller, Producer and Director of Project Shaw. Mr. Staller presents monthly script-in-hand performances of Bernard Shaw's plays at the Players Club in New York City.

Interested participants may submit abstracts to more than one NeMLA session; however, panelists can only present one paper (panel or seminar). Convention participants may present a paper at a panel and also present at a creative session or participate in a roundtable.