CFP: [Ethnic] "Comparative Blackness": Black Presences and Representations in the Americas

full name / name of organization: 
Brian Russell Roberts
contact email:

American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) Annual Meeting April
24-27, 2008 in Long Beach, California.

Seminars for the ACLA convention contain 9-12 papers and meet for 2-3
consecutive days. Submissions should be sent through the ACLA webpage.

“Comparative Blackness”: Black Presences and Representations in the

This seminar seeks to explore literary and cultural representations of
blackness in the US and throughout the Western hemisphere. We are
especially interested in essays that trace how various depictions of
blackness interact within and across ethnic, racial, linguistic, and
national lines. We hope to examine the creations and contingencies--the
arrivals and departures--of blackness within the American hemisphere to
gain a greater view of how a range of American identities rely upon
and/or react against blackness for self-definition. Proposals may address
representations of blackness in literature, religion, political rhetoric,
law, film, music, sports, the news, etc.

Possible questions of interest include:

How have literature, film, music, etc., embraced by dominant national
populations relied upon blackness to forge national identities?

In what instances has blackness been erased or hypostatized--by what
mechanisms and in the service of what interests?

How has international movement--by independent travelers or under
governmental auspices--disrupted or affected varying traditions of
interpreting (comparatively) darker skin tones?

How have white supremacist ideologies emerged from and/or acted as
catalysts for various movements that embrace blackness within the Western

How have groups associated with blackness interacted with other minority
identities in the Americas? How, when, and why have minority groups
forged and broken aesthetic, social, or political alliances?

Deadline for Paper Proposals, November 1, 2007

Brian Russell Roberts, The University of Virginia
Emron Esplin, Michigan State University

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Received on Mon Oct 08 2007 - 14:48:14 EDT

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