CFP: Singapore/Malaysian Literature in English (Singapore) (5/1/06; 9/28/06-9/30/06)

full name / name of organization: 
SIM Wai Chew \(ELL\)
contact email: 

Singapore/Malaysian Literature in English Panel

English Literature Conference - Singapore:


28-30 September 2006 NTU Singapore

The dominance of postmodern and poststructuralist nostrums in social and
critical thought means that the postcolonial literature field is
saturated by terms such as migrancy, hybridity, liminality, and
marginality. These and other cognate and semi-cognate terms have an
arguable purchase for minority and migrant writers in metropolitan
social formations. But to the extent that they lead to what one critic
describes as an "undifferentiating disavowal of all forms of
nationalism" they are also problematic for many writers from
non-metropolitan locales, because in the decades after independence the
questions, "Who are we?" and "Where are we going as a
nation/people/culture?" remain pressing and exigent.

The "national culture/literature" question is admittedly vulnerable to
appropriation by local hegemonic and dominative arrangements, with the
result that different kinds of social exclusion will potentially be
fostered. In an age of resurgent imperialism, however, it returns with a
renewed urgency.
What is the role of the Singapore and-or Malaysian writer given the
concerns outlined here? Is this manner of framing the issue helpful? Is
it responsible? Irresponsible? How else can issues be framed? What else
emerges from the writing? These and other vexed questions will be
explored by the proposed panel.

Proposals (250 words) are invited on any conjunction of
Singapore/Malaysian Literature and irresponsibility, or resistance to
fixed standards and paradigms, and should be forwarded to (Dr.) Wai-chew
Sim at This panel has been agreed by the conference

Other suggestions for panels or papers related to any aspect of
Singapore/Malaysian Literature in the context of (ir)responsibility are
most welcome.

Deadline: 01 May 2006

Please find further details about the conference below.

Inaugural English Literature Conference: IRRESPONSIBILITY
Division of English, NTU, Singapore, 28-30 September 2006

Opening address by Professor Shirley Chew; Plenary address by Professor
J. Hillis Miller; keynote address by Professor Eugene O'Brien.

Literature tells us-before psychoanalysis, before deconstruction-that
our crimes are overdetermined, our ethical concepts unstable. Yet the
facile deployment of the rhetoric of responsibility and
irresponsibility, in all manner of debate, indicates the widespread
abuse of the concept of responsibility, if not its bankruptcy. With our
title "Irresponsibility," we hope to provoke a conversation aimed at
assessing both the contribution of literature to our understanding of
the concept of responsibility and its vicissitudes, and the possible
resistance within literature and literary studies to cheap distinctions
between responsibility and irresponsibility. We hope also to provide a
forum for those interested in determining the responsibility of literary
studies today, both within its own domain, and in its relation to other
disciplines. We welcome a wide variety of approaches to our theme, and
encourage a broad understanding of its scope.

We invite papers and proposals for panels (of 3-4 papers). Suggested
topics include, but are not restricted to, the following:

- Representations of irresponsibility in the literature of any period or
- Irresponsible characters, narrators, authors, or literary critics
- Responsibility after Freud (or Kierkegaard, or Sade, or Marx, or
Nietzsche, or Derrida)
- Interdisciplinary irresponsibility: Literature and Philosophy,
Literature and Science, Literature and Law, Literature and Film Studies,
Literature and Cultural studies
- The pleasure of irresponsibility: Libertinism; Sadism; Pornography;
Trash Cinema
- Irresponsibility and Postmodernism, Postcolonialism, Poststructuralism

- Irish Literature and Irresponsibility, or Subversion in the
Anti-Realist tradition
- Moral didacticism, moral dilemmas, moral anxieties in Literature or
- Primal guilt: Adam, Eve, Oedipus, Antigone
- Victorianism and the rhetoric of responsibility
- Irresponsibility and Insanity, Dilettantism, Hypocrisy, Scepticism,
Faith, the Sacred, Violence, Polemics, Politics, War
- Irresponsibility in responsible Singapore: Singapore literature, the
arts, and culture
- Responsibility in the age of terror
- Culpatory and exculpatory rhetoric
- Irresponsibility as resistance
- The ethics of reading

Please send abstracts of 300 words either by email to
<> or by mail to Conference Committee,
English Division, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, NTU, Nanyang
Avenue, Singapore 639798. Further information will soon be available at
our conference website:

Deadline: 10 April 2006

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Received on Tue Mar 28 2006 - 09:31:37 EST