CFP: [Rhetoric-Composition] Writing at the Edge of the Empire: Composition and Postcolonial Studies

full name / name of organization: 
Justin Hayes

American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting

Harvard University

March 26-29, 2009

Writing at the Edge of the Empire: Composition and Postcolonial Studies

This seminar invites papers that contribute to the growing exchange
between composition and postcolonial studies. While the latter has
sought to uncover mechanisms of domination and their historical legacies
of oppression, it has also been criticized for ironically serving the
metropolitan agendas of an intellectual class. Some critics have
focused, in particular, on an alleged tendency among postcolonialists to
speak for their student writersâ€"to ignore idiomatic constructions that
might otherwise expose and decenter hegemonic operations of language
pedagogically reproduced by Western academic discourse. Meanwhile,
compositionists have closely attended to student writing marginalized
within the academy, and have begun to recognize historically
underprivileged uses of language as positive sites of agency and
inquiry. And yet, compositionists, most often working without the
important insights of postcolonial theory, have tended to
essentialize “the student writer,” casting her in binary opposition to
academic discourse and thereby erasing diverse negotiations of language
across student populations. In building upon the recent cross-
disciplinary conversations represented here, how might further dialogue
between composition and postcolonial studies advance a critical praxis?
What is at stake, if we address this question in the context of
globalization and the risks it may increasingly pose to local productions
of knowledge?

Paper proposals must be submitted by November 1 via the ACLA conference
Please send inquiries to the seminar chair, Justin Hayes, at

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Received on Wed Sep 24 2008 - 14:41:20 EDT