The Ethical Turn to Literature -- NEMLA, April 7-11, 2010, Montreal

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Northeastern Modern Language Association
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41st Anniversary Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
April 7-11, 2010
Montreal, Quebec - Hilton Bonaventure

"The Ethical Turn to Literature":

The recent ethical turn in critical theory has inspired a reevaluation of literature's capacities to catalyze ethical problematics. In The Singularity of Literature (2004), Derek Attridge argues that "there is an ethical dimension to any act of literary signification" (130). Attridge locates this ethical dimension within formal innovations that make demands upon readers akin to the demand of the Other. In contrast, some critics, following Gilles Deleuze, propose an ethological view in which literature diagnoses modes of Life and participates in movements of becoming, whereas others, following Alain Badiou, insist upon the pursuit of "truth" as the primary ethical work of literature. This panel seeks to build on these diverging accounts through papers that explore the ethical dynamics of literary form. Presentations might address (but are not limited to) the points of intersection and opposition among the above theoretical positions; the ethical dynamics of specific literary genres; and/or the distinctions between literary texts that "represent" ethical problems such as the relation to the (racialized, gendered) Other, and those that employ language and form to instantiate an ethical encounter in a literary event itself. Of particular interest are presentations that compliment their theoretical discussion with readings of literary texts that work to elaborate, in their own terms, literature's ethical possibilities.

Please submit 250 word abstracts to Tyler Bradway (
Deadline: September 30, 2009

Include with your abstract:

Name and Affiliation
Email address
Postal address
Telephone number
A/V requirements (if any; $10 handling fee)

Please note:
The 41st Annual Convention will feature approximately 350 sessions, as well as dynamic speakers and cultural events. Details and the complete Call for Papers for the 2010 Convention will be posted in June:

Interested participants may submit abstracts to more than one NeMLA session; however panelists can only present one paper (panel or seminar). Convention participants may present a paper at a panel and also present at a creative session or participate in a roundtable.

Travel to Canada now requires a passport for U.S. citizens. Please get your passport application in early.