Security and Hospitality: New Literary Perspectives

full name / name of organization: 
Jeffrey Clapp and Emily Ridge
contact email: 
jmclapp@ied.edu.hk

Security and Hospitality: New Literary Perspectives
Call for Contributions to an Edited Volume of Essays

In exile in the early 1940s, Stefan Zweig looked back on his youth in pre-war Vienna as the ‘golden age of security’. In Zweig’s narrative, a shared sense of private and public stability was soon shattered by the onslaughts of two world wars, giving rise to a generation perceived to have ‘long since struck the word "security" from [its] vocabulary as a myth’. Yet immediately following the war, the very word ‘security’ began to acquire a new currency and resonance which intensified through the paranoid military and diplomatic manoeuvrings of the Cold War and has increasingly come to define our own digital age. Security talk is now ubiquitous, heightened by the war on terror on the one hand, and the possibilities of new information technologies on the other. Following revelations about the extent to which security agencies have penetrated daily lives, we believe that the time is right to examine how the discourse of security has come to control major features of contemporary experience.

In particular, security concerns are reshaping conceptions, discussions, and practices of hospitality. Security and hospitality have long been uneasy bedfellows. If security is that which one purports to offer in extending hospitality, it is also that which one puts at stake. As technologies, processes, and imperatives strive to forestall adverse events, security activities could well endanger hospitable relationships between friends and among strangers. From the individual’s telephone and data, to the threshold of the family home, to the borders of the nation, sites of securitization confound hospitality’s injunction to openness, gifting, and refuge. Modes, etiquettes and platforms of hospitality are, moreover, evolving. It seems that as we are increasingly “always on”, we extend our means of being “at home” to one another; at the same time, we find ourselves password-protecting caches of passwords. Further, home twins homeland: people move more than ever, yet they move through borders which are progressively militarized.

Such questions—questions at once novel and perennial, intimate and universal, ethical and political—are amplified in modern and contemporary literature. Indeed, writers themselves can be found to invite and repulse their very readers in ways which meditate on the meanings of security and hospitality. We call on contributors to examine literary texts, in any genre or language, which consider how subjects, citizens, communities, or states negotiate the mutual, and potentially exclusive, desires to secure themselves and offer hospitality to others. We are particularly interested in interdisciplinary engagements. While our emphasis is on modern and contemporary experiences and expressions, we are also open to considerations of the literatures of earlier periods.

In addition to the established theoretical discourses around hospitality and security, contributors might mobilize a wide range of adjacent ideas, including:

-privacy and surveillance
-strangers, neighbors, others
-risk, insurance, planning
-cosmopolitanism
-information technology
-valences of “domesticity”
-world literature and translatability
-globalization and glocalization
-development and neoliberalism
-human rights
-displacement, immigration, asylum
-networks and diasporas
-friends and enemies
-security theatre

Please submit a 500-word abstract for an 8,000-10,000-word essay to Dr Jeffrey Clapp (jmclapp@ied.edu.hk) and/or Dr Emily Ridge (eamridge@ied.edu.hk) by 30 May 2014. Please also include a brief biography. Completed essays will be expected by 31 September 2014. Enquiries welcome.

cfp categories: 
american
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
interdisciplinary
journals_and_collections_of_essays
modernist studies
postcolonial
twentieth_century_and_beyond