CFP: [General] Departures That Remain: Political Violence and the Witness from Within

full name / name of organization: 
Jennifer Orth
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"Departures That Remain: Political Violence and the Witness from Within"

Panel for 2008 American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting
April 24-27, 2008
California State University, Long Beach
Deadline for Papers: November 15, 2007
Submit proposal to

What does it mean to write the history of political violence from the
inside of the experience? That is, from the perspective of a survivor?
How does literature become a privileged position for inscribing oneself
into the political space when one has been ejected to an existence
outside all political designation - beyond borders, political parties,
and the rights of man and citizen? This seminar seeks to place this
"departure" from the political as perhaps an "arrival" to literature
within the context of political violence. However, we hope to
complicate a finite sense of "arrival" by looking at how this political
departure remains central to narrating the history of catastrophe in
which the writer was a victim. For example, is there shame, not only
the shame of being a victim, but shame in having escaped when others
perished? Or, is there a conscious, strange distancing from personal
experience within the larger event? Is there a sense of ethical
responsibility or is there a more aesthetic orientation in such a work?
And, at another level, this seminar seeks to examine the ways in which
literature - whether a genre, a discourse, a practice, or a form of
thought - articulates the question of political violence itself, poses
the question of what counts as violence, and renders certain violence
properly political. Is it possible to move from the literary
representation of personal and collective tragedy to the question of
the political, of what it means to act politically?

For more information, contact Jennifer Orth at or Armando
Mastrogiovanni at
Please see ACLA's website for more information about the annual meeting

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Received on Mon Oct 29 2007 - 12:56:24 EST