Why Allegory Now?

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University of Manchester
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Call for Papers: Why Allegory Now?
A One-Day Interdisciplinary Conference

University of Manchester, Friday April 1st 2011

Confirmed plenary speaker:
Professor Jeremy Tambling, English and American Studies, University of Manchester

The University of Manchester invites scholars and early researchers to submit papers for the conference 'Why Allegory Now?', an interdisciplinary event which will allow a forum of discussion on the disparate ways in which allegory has been used throughout history, and consider how such an elusive yet prominent form can be interpreted today.

The conference asks: What is allegory and why is it relevant today? Can allegory be best understood as a genre, a technique, a mode, a rhetorical device or a trope? Is allegory the practice of writing, interpreting or representing? Can allegory only be understood in relation to its history? Is all allegory ideological? Is all language allegorical?

From early Greek examples, such as Plato's Allegory of the Cave, through to Renaissance poetry, Orwell's Animal Farm and The Matrix trilogy, allegories have been used by philosophers, theologians, artists and authors to express complex ideas in simplified and universal terms. Despite Maureen Quilligan's suggestion that 'the status of allegory has been low since the early nineteenth century' (Quilligan, 1992), it underpins many aspects of modern life, as Brenda Machosky points out: 'embedded in museum displays, providing structure for scientific thought, underlying the legal system, evading the hegemony of the idea, allegory is thriving in the twenty-first century' (Machosky, ed., 2010). Machosky's argument is potent given the number of recent studies on the topic (Machosky, ed., 2010; Tambling, 2004 and 2010; Struck and Copeland, eds., 2010), which have served to renew interest in the various forms and uses of allegory across the arts, humanities and languages. As such, this event will consider allegory in fictional and non-fictional literature, film, art, history, religion and cultural theory.

We warmly invite proposals for twenty minute papers from postgraduates and early career researchers from any branch of arts and humanities. Key topics may include (but are not limited to):
• Myths and fables from Ancient Greece to modern film
• National allegories in colonial and postcolonial contexts
• Medieval and Renaissance secular or religious allegories
• Allegorical concepts of history
• Theories of allegory and allegoresis
• Sign, symbol, emblem and allegory

Please send your abstract of 250-300 words to whyallegorynow@gmail.com along with your name, affiliation and title of paper.

The deadline for submissions is Monday January 3rd 2011. Acknowledgement of receipt of proposal will be sent. Selection of papers will be done by Monday January 24th 2011.

We are also delighted to offer two bursaries of £100 which will be awarded to postgraduate speakers on any Renaissance-related topics courtesy of the Society for Renaissance Studies, www.rensoc.org.uk.

If you have any questions regarding the conference and/or proposal, please direct all enquiries to Jade Munslow Ong and Matthew Whittle at whyallegorynow@gmail.com. Registration will open from January 31st 2011.