"Detouring Tradition's Capital" (Deadline: November 1, 2013)

full name / name of organization: 
ACLA 2014, New York City

Despite its conservative emphasis on stability, "tradition" has been conceptually uprooted by twentieth and twenty-first century literature and theory. Recent critical attention to tradition has begun to demonstrate its fragile foundations, politically and metaphysically, by suggesting that the unequivocal solidity traditionalism seeks in a nostalgic past ultimately relies on the unpredictable future into which each inheritor carries tradition's legacy. Such structural unmooring at the heart of tradition, its constitutive exposure to differentiation and its genealogical precariousness, thus accounts for the possibility of comparatism and translation, as well as appropriation, re-contextualization, revisionism, homage, and betrayal. Tradition's capital, in other words, only ever seemingly secured, is always displaced elsewhere as "other" to itself.

Contributors are encouraged to consider any of the following questions:

• What constitutes tradition's survival and/or maintenance?

• How are traditions understood via their faithful and/or unfaithful inheritors?

• What politics are involved in the transnational or transcultural migration of traditions away from predominate capital hubs?

• How do subjects or individuals defined as "eccentric" to traditionally inclusive groups (enforced along regulatory lines of race, gender, family, sexuality, native languages, region, the state, capital centers, etc.) both constitute and undermine tradition's stability?

• How does literature transgress, undermine, or produce tradition's hegemonic structure?

• How do cultural or literary efforts to maintain (or transform) tradition point up limits to tradition's claims of veracity—as well as those of the literary itself?

• What other media or discourses (aesthetic, scientific, political) inform literature's relation to tradition?


When submitting proposals to the ACLA website, be sure to specify that submissions are being made to the "Detouring Tradition's Capital" seminar on the online submission form.

Seminar Organizers:
Peter Lurie (University of Richmond), Tyler Williams (SUNY Buffalo)