Theory, Practice, Engagement [deadline 11/1/2010] (ACLA 2011, Vancouver, 3/31-4/3/2011)

full name / name of organization: 
Geoffrey Baker
contact email: 

This approved panel for the American Comparative Literature Association's annual meeting (Vancouver, Canada, 31 March - 3 April 2010) seeks papers that address aspects of the long debate over literary and intellectual engagement. Which types of texts are best suited to such a mission, and how does a text's activist agenda affect its form? How might realist or naturalist texts, whose aim is to "unveil [dévoiler]" (in Jean-Paul Sartre's words) for their readers the practical injustices around them, really make these readers feel responsible for ending those injustices? How do avant-garde texts accomplish what Theodor Adorno terms an altering of our "fundamental attitudes [Haltung]" or what Caroline Levine calls a needed provocation of democracy? Are there texts or theorists who occupy a middle ground between the allegedly opposed realism and avant-garde, or between practice and theory, and what form might such a middle ground adopt? What is the state of the direct political engagement of intellectuals, or the role of the "activist theorists" to whom Gayatri Spivak refers? Submissions on any genre (non-fiction, fiction, poetry, drama, film, visual arts, performance arts, etc.) are welcome.

Submit abstracts for 20-minute presentations at the American Comparative Literature Association's website, . Click on "Propose a Seminar or Paper," and, when prompted, select the seminar "Theory, Practice, Engagement: Texts and Intellectuals in the World."

Feel free to contact the panel organizer, Geoff Baker, with any questions at gabaker at csuchico dot edu.