CFP: [Ethnic] ACLA panel on Non-Western Living Epics and Myths:Memory, Community and Identity

full name / name of organization: 
Ronita Bhattachrya
contact email:

This is a cfp for a panel in the ACLA (American Comparative Literature
Association) annual conference to be held in Long Beach, CA from April 24-
27. All interested participants should submit a 250 word abtract to the
ACLA website by Nov. 15. I am including the relevant links to this
website in my post. As one of the panel organizers I will be happy to
answer your questions.
Ronita Bhattacharya
Comparative Literature
University of Georgia
          Non-Western Living Epics and Myths:Memory, Community and
Seminar Organizer: Nandini Dhar, UT Austin, Ronita Bhattacharya, U of
This seminar is interested in exploring the scope of the South Asian and
other non western “living epics” as they evolve in interactions with
multiple literary and artistic forms, influencing a culture’s religious,
political and social dimensions and invoking multitude of audience
reactions and responses. Thus, “living epics,” by definition, resist
attempts to be tied down to official, standardized versions. This becomes
especially evident if we attempt to compare the respective ideological
universes of the multiple versions of the two South Asian epics — the
Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
Questions that the contributions might address include but are not
limited to:
1.What role do living epics play in constructing national identities and
imagined communities?

2.How have the epic traditions in India/South Asia contributed to the
consolidation and reification of the dominant
classed/gendered/casteicized hegemony? Similarly, how have the epics been
used by the marginalized groups in South Asia as modes of narrative and
political resistance?

3.What were the narrative/artistic/ideological/political choices made by
19th/20th century South Asian writers and artists when they revisited the

4.How have the epics functioned in diaspora?

5.How have Indian epics influenced the culture industry, both within and
outside India? (TV serials, comic books, Bollywood films, anime,

6.What is the pertinence of these questions with respect to “living
epics” that are beyond the realms of South Asian tradition?

7.Can these questions be addressed in context to a mythological character
that does not belong to any epic tradition per se but have similar
importance among its significant audience as epic characters?

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Received on Fri Oct 19 2007 - 11:01:58 EDT

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