Cannibal Modernisms

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King’s College London Programme in Comparative Literature Annual Graduate Conference

Friday, November 8th, 2013.

Call For Papers Deadline: August 10th, 2013

Keynote Speaker: Professor Xudong Zhang, Professor of East Asian Studies and Comparative Literature, New York University.

Cannibal Modernisms will be a one-day colloquium exploring the metaphorical implications of cannibalism in relation to literature. Taking as a starting point poet and polemicist Oswald de Andrade's Manifesto Antropófago (1928), which uses the metaphor of cannibalism to describe Brazilian artists' capacity to absorb and reconstruct a dominant European culture, we will expand the scope to encompass a wider investigation of cannibalism as a metaphor for literary practices. Literature as form is one that thrives on autophagy as a means of regeneration; in fact, we could say that literature has always had the capacity to imbibe, reinvent and "make new" even before the advent of modernism codified these terms in ways now familiar. Thinking about literature, and by extension, critique, through the lens of these cannibalistic tendencies offers an array of possible approaches, ranging from:

- Literary, artistic, or theoretical cannibalism as a strategy of
political resistance
- Recuperation,
- Devouring genres,
- The text as Corpus
- Textual mutilation,
- Regurgitation and plagiarism
- Book materiality and decay
- Mimicry
- "Trash" theory
- Immanent or absorbed readings
- Self-erasure and anonymity
- Allegories of the human
- The post-human and trans-human conditions
- Frontiers between self and other
- Any other topics or metaphors pertaining to theme.

Abstracts of 300 words should be sent to by August 10th, 2013. Conference details will be updated on

Xudong Zhang

It is with great pleasure that we announce our keynote speaker, Professor Xudong Zhang, Professor of East Asian Studies and Comparative Literature at New York University, where he is also Chair of the Department of East Asian Studies. Xudong Zhang's teaching and research focuses on modernism and modernity within and beyond the Chinese context. He is author of several books, including: Chinese Modernism in the Era of Reforms: Cultural Fever, Avant-Garde Fiction, and New Chinese Cinema; and Postsocialism and Cultural Politics: The Last Decade of China's Twentieth Century. He has also edited Whither China? Intellectual Politics in Contemporary China. and co-edited (with Arif Dirlik) Postmodernism and China. In Chinese, he is the author of The Order of the Imaginary: Critical Theory and Modern Chinese Literary Discourse, Traces of Criticism: Essays on Theory and Cultural Politics and Cultural Identity in the Age of Globalization: A Historical Rethinking of Western Discourses on Universalism. He has translated into Chinese Walter Benjamin's Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism; co-translated (with Ban Wang), Illuminations, and edited The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism: Selected Essays of Fredric Jameson. Professor Zhang's visit to King's College is kindly sponsored by the Lau China Institute at King's College London.