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Call for Papers: English Language Notes 52.2, Fall/Winter 2014

Cartographies of Dissent
Resistance and Revolution in the Transnational Imaginary

In recent years, the transitive practice of “worlding” literary studies has often, implicitly or explicitly, presupposed a globalized cartography. Global literary forms are symbolically mediated in the peripheries of the world-system (Moretti); global cultural capitals bestow the status of littérarité on the otherwise not-quite-literatures of the world (Casanova); global cosmopolitan norms determine the ethico-political viability of third-world texts for domestic audiences (Brennan); global literary markets publish postcolonial texts on the basis of their exotic or authentic commercial appeal (Brouillette, Huggan); and globalization itself, its capitalist sublime, demands the reinvention of comparative literature from a planetary perspective (Spivak). Et cetera. While certainly critical, such approaches bear the largely unacknowledged, unexamined weight of a cartographic imagination that has been historically in the service of the very structures of power they criticize. As early as Orientalism, Edward Said foregrounded the overlaps between the cartographic impulse, what he called “imaginative geography”, and the imperial impulse to designate boundaries and define others. Along with the category of “literature” itself as forged in the crucible of philological orientalism (Mufti), can what might be called “cartographic orientalism” also be considered part of the political unconscious of world literature? Through its globalized cartography, does world literature inevitably, as Djelal Kadir suggests, “circumscribe the world into manageable global boundedness”?

This special issue of English Language Notes builds on the previous, “Imaginary Cartographies” (ELN 52.1, Spring/Summer 2014), edited by Karen Jacobs, but seeks to redirect its investigation of cartography to the problematic of world literature. The questions of geographical scale, historical scope, and methodology that have animated this field might, we contend, be fruitfully reassessed through close critical attention to the uses and misuses of mapping therein. Through such attention, we aim to envision alternative cartographies of world literature, what we call “cartographies of dissent”, that cut across, intersect, or elude the circuits of globalization.

English Language Notes welcomes essays, shorter position papers, clusters, roundtable discussions, book reviews, and other forms of scholarly inquiry related to the issue’s theme. Contributions are welcome from scholars working across the fields of literary studies, and from those in other disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and beyond.

Questions contributors may wish to address include, but are not limited to:

• What spatial (spatio-economic, spatio-temporal, etc.) assumptions have guided critical trajectories of literary influence and exchange?
• How might we revise such assumptions through critical geography (Foucault, Harvey, Huyssen, Jameson, Soja), geocriticism (Tally, Westphal), or other approaches?
• To what extent does Eurocentrism still provide the dominant paradigm for tracing chronologies, periodicities, and developmental narratives of literary history, such as of the rise of the novel?
• How might models of “minor transnationalism” (Lionnet, Shih), “the other global city” (Huyssen, Mayaram), the “Mediterranean encounter”, the “pre-European” or “five thousand year” world-system (Abu-Lughod, Frank, Gills), or “untranslatability” (Apter) provide the grounds for alternative cartographies?
• How might a transnational imaginary alternative to that of globalization be mapped through literary and cultural representations of resistance across borders, through the circulation of revolutionary or otherwise illicit texts, or through material practices of dissent in transnational contexts?

Please submit abstracts of 500 words to the guest editor, Karim Mattar (, by December 15th 2013, including the following information:

- Name
- Institutional affiliation
- Contact details
- Brief bio
- Format of contribution:
essay, position paper, cluster, roundtable, review, etc.
- Description of contribution

Specific inquiries about this special issue should also be addressed to the guest editor.

Final submissions are due by April 1st, 2014. Submissions will be reviewed by external readers, and should adhere to the Chicago endnote citation format. Please email double-spaced, 12-point font, .pdf file submissions, of a maximum length of 25 manuscript pages, to:

Managing Editor
English Language Notes

cfp categories: 
modernist studies