CFP: Literature for Our Times (8/30/06; 8/07)

full name / name of organization: 
Paul Matthew St. Pierre
contact email: 

The Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (ACLALS)
14th Triennial Conference

August 2007, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Call for Papers

Literature for Our Times

At the 2005 World Social Forum, held in Porto Allegre, Brazil,
Booker-Prize-winning author Arundhati Roy spoke about the function of
literature for our times: "Our strategy should be not only to confront empire,
but to lay siege to it… With our art, our music, our literature… —and our
ability to tell our own stories." In an article, "The Arduous Conversation
Will Continue," published in The Guardian on July 19, 2005, Hanif Kureishi
voiced a similar opinion: "…the only patriotism possible is one that refuses
the banality of taking either side, and continues the arduous conversation.
That is why we have literature, the theatre, newspapers—a culture, in other

Are there other roles, besides the ones suggested by Kureishi and Roy, that
literature has played in the era of colonialism and continues to fulfill now in
this young Twenty-First century of ours, amidst the upheavals of regime changes,
wars for resources, loss of faith in elected representatives, genocide, suicide
bombings, resistance struggles and environmental disasters? Is literature a
force for reconciliation and cross-cultural understanding or only an instrument
for aesthetic pleasure of the privileged? Does literature provide us, in the
famous phrase of Kenneth Burke, with "equipment for living," or does it only
obscure reality and deflect resistance?

Papers are invited to engage with all aspects of the above theme. They could
address, by referring to the literary, critical and other kinds of cultural
texts, the following questions:

Literature as an institution and ideologies of 'literature'
Commonwealth versus Postcolonial versus World literature
Literature as resistance
Literature as "arduous dialogue"
Literature as "equipment for living"
Literature as pedagogy; Pedagogy of literature
Literature of human survival (including issues of poverty and prosperity)
Literature of Human Rights (including the right to access knowledge and
Literature of Apocalyptic and Utopic imaginings
Literature for promotion of Peace and Justice
Literature of real and imagined Ethnicities
Literature of cultural affiliations (Race, Gender and/or History)
Literature as a world language
Literature in a global cultural economy
Literature in translation
Literature of healing and reconciliation

Abstracts of approx. 300 words for papers of 20 minutes duration, and approx.
400 words for three-paper panels (with the names of the panelists) which engage
with these and other relevant questions should be e-mailed, with a short
bio-note (50 words) and contact address to no later than August
30, 2006.

Address for regular mail:
Dr. Paul Matthew St. Pierre
ACLALS Secretary-Treasurer
Department of English
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, BC
Canada V5A 1S6

ACLALS website:

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Received on Sun Aug 28 2005 - 14:34:34 EDT