ACLA 2014 @NYU: Complicating Diasporas: Homeland and Hostland as Capitals of Imagination (Extended Deadline: November 15, 2013)

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American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA)
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Definitions of diasporas have changed radically over time. Derived from the original Greek word speiro (meaning to sow, scatter seed), diaspora, in its early usage, described such victimization or traumatic events (Van Hear 1998) as the Jewish diaspora and later the African slave trade. William Safran's (1991)groundbreaking article "Diasporas in modern societies" recognizes new definitions of diasporas to include an expansive metaphoric use of the word as characterizing all kinds of displacement. This definition is consonant with what Robin Cohen (2008)calls "emerging patterns of international migration" (xiv) and "deterritorialization of identities" (2) with many features and contours, including race, ethnicities, religions, peoples, hostlands and homelands. These "new diasporas" in turn reconfigure how (and why) they are represented in new ways in both written and visual texts. This seminar will focus primarily on Safran's and Cohen's notions of contemporary diasporas and their cultural and artistic representations in literature, film, television, digital and social media. These representations, that re-imagine homeland/hostland relations, are comparative by the very nature of their connection to multiple contexts of creation.

By looking to contemporary travel, transitional spaces, migrations, and dislocations, this seminar will concentrate on exploring where these new displacements and representations intersect and how these new "capitals"are imagined.

Possible questions include (but are not limited to):
How do contemporary diasporas and texts respond to diasporic multivalent perspectives?
How might Hamid Naficy's (2001) concept of "accented cinema" be applicable to other artforms?
In what creative ways have diasporic subjects reimagined homeland/hostland relations?

The 2014 ACLA conference will take place at NUY over the weekend of March 20-23. Please submit paper proposals (max. 250 words) through ACLA's website and select this seminar from the drop-down list: