Empire on Its Ear; deadline 11/12/2010; conference 3/31-4/3 2011

full name / name of organization: 
American Comparative Literature Association 2011 Annual Conference
contact email: 

Accepted Seminar: "Empire on its Ear"

A significant number of works of contemporary world literature feature representations of Western (often "classical") music spanning genres and periods from Bach to rock. Salman Rushdie's Ground Beneath Her Feet, Vikram Seth's An Equal Music, J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace, Ian McEwan's Amsterdam, and Kashuo Ishiguro's Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall are just a few of the authors that embrace Western music as their chosen subject material. This recent proliferation raises the question: Why are writers of oppositional, often postcolonial, texts concerned with the aesthetics of largely European musical style? And further, what might literary theory gain from the inclusion of Western classical music theory and practice in its formulations? This panel seeks to explore the intersections of music aesthetics, history, and ideology to develop new critical tools for reading and analysis, in the mode of Edward Said's contrapuntalism and beyond. The aim of the panel is the expansion of a relatively new field of critical study to elucidate effects of dominant musical culture on the themes and structures of world literature today and on the critical paradigms that might be generated by musical thought.

Please submit an abstract of 250 words to Cameron Bushnell at Clemson University (cbushne@clemson.edu) by November 12.