CFP: Catharsis and Genealogy in African Literature (Ghana) (1/30/06; ALA, 5/17/06-5/21/06)

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African Literature Association
32nd Annual Meeting and Conference

Accra, Ghana

May 17-21, 2006

Calls for papers
Panel title: "Historical Catharsis and Genealogical Consciousness in African Literature"

The ideal of a cathartic departure from a traumatic colonial past into a free and autonomous future has been intimately associated with most political agendas informing anticolonial liberation struggles—from the more peaceful to the more violent ones. If this cathartic ideal promised to free the colonized native from a deep-rooted inferiority complex that breeds despair and inaction, as Fanon argued, it also represented the past as a coherent narrative that allowed for uncritical and naturalized oppositional identifications—innocent colonized vs. abusive colonizers, among others—that set the stage for what Fanon perceived as a post-colonial politics founded on the scissions of a moral consciousness. An alternative model of coming to terms with historical trauma is genealogy—a model of historical investigation that focuses on the contingent aspects of history and by generating a more arbitrary knowledge of the past that can be employed as heritage to present-day politics, a
lso generates a more flexible and complex political consciousness that can establish its agency in the past rather than beyond it.

This panel invites paper proposals that address the engagement of African literature both with the desire of historical catharsis associated with overcoming and/or purging a traumatic past, and/or with a genealogical investigation of the past so as to defamiliarize and unsettle its place in the contemporary political imagination—producing a genealogical consciousness that functions as what Fanon called an "open door of every consciousness": the consciousness of the questioning body.

Please send 250 word abstracts and brief CV to Yianna Liatsos ( by January 30th, 2006.

For more information please visit the ALA conference website:

Please note: Participants must be or become members of the ALA.

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Received on Tue Dec 27 2005 - 11:45:28 EST