Call for Papers: Ports of Call---Cultures of Exchange, UCLA

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UCLA Comparative Literture Graduate Student Conference

As gateways to other worlds and world-systems, port cities, such as Tangier, Istanbul, London, Manila, and Kobe, one of Japan's most important ports, are sites of economic and cultural exchange. They are at the cutting edge of global trends and transnational movements that promote the export and import of goods, people, ideas, and ideologies. At least as early as the 16th century, port cities, such as Cadiz in Spain, Cambay in western India, and Sao Salvador da Bahia, in Brazil, to name only a few, have nurtured utopias and launched a thousand dreams into a yet to be conquered horizon. Port cities have been both the crate of colonial desire and the locus of revolutionary fervor. Beginning with the 19th century, the onset of a globalized economy has placed port cities, evermore, at the forefront of new cultural and social practices. Lettered cities, in many ways, port cities, such as Havana, Barcelona, and Algiers participate in both the dissemination of literature and its political underpinnings, inviting new and unexpected points of comparison among literary traditions. It is the goal of this conference to encourage the study of port cities across historical, cultural and disciplinary lines, as well as to promote comparative literary practices through the study of port cities.

This conference will consider the following questions: How are port cities represented in advertising, tourism, literature, and film? How do discussions about the nature of port cities invite discussions about notions of space and the spatial imagination? How do port cities underscore the connection between politics and translation? What are the advantages of a critical approach that looks at the common characteristics of port cities? How do history and nature come together to endow port cities with very particular architectural characteristics? How does a global economy impact the cultural exchanges between port cities? How does the postcolonial and/or neocolonial moment impact the role of port cities in illegal or clandestine immigration? How do port cities shelter and promote the existence of categories such as the social misfit and the sexually deviant? How are these same categories destabilized by the very transient nature of port cities? What are the relations and connections between coast and interior?

The conference encourages the following topics or thematic combinations:
Port cities and desire
Port cities and utopias
Modern pirates, piracy, and port cities
Clandestinité and port cities
Colonial nostalgia and port cities
Postcolonial melancholy and port cities
Ruins and port cities
Labor and port cities
Disease and port cities
Sex work and port cities

We welcome contributions in all disciplines relevant to the project.

Submission deadline: October 1, 2009.
Proposals should be submitted for a 20-minute presentation delivered in English plus 10-minute discussion. Abstracts should be at most 1 page in length, including examples and references, using a 12pt font with 1-inch (2.5 cm) margins on all four sides. All examples and quotations must be translated into English.

Submissions in English (in doc. format) should be sent to the following address:

There is no participation fee, and refreshments and a light lunch are provided on both days. Travel and accommodation is at the participants' expense, although at least two hotels in the area will be offering conference rates. Transportation to and from the conference will be provided.