MLA 2017 Special Session: Engaging with the Poetics of Peripheralization

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Jenna Sciuto
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Engaging with the Poetics of Peripheralization

According to Hosam Aboul-Ela, the poetics of peripheralization differ from those of modernism. While both manifest similarly at the level of the text through experimental techniques, such as multiple stream-of-consciousness accounts, circular narratives, and anti-linear accounts constantly shifting between the past and present, the poetics of peripheralization purposefully engage with the political histories and economies of peripheral regions. This volume of essays explores the ways in which the literatures of the Global South combine modernist aesthetics and a commitment to exposing the traumas, violence, and skewed relationships resulting from the sustained impact of colonial ideologies on the region.

This panel seeks essays interested in the intersection between spatial, socio-political concerns and aesthetics, for instance in William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!, Michelle Cliff's Abeng, or Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things. How does this literature employ the poetics of peripheralization to challenge colonial and neocolonial structures of power? What work can be done through a focus on the poetics of peripheralization, as relates to the politics of peripheralization? How do these poetics address discontinuous histories, the histories left out of History, the history that appears and disappears at the moment of action?

How do experimental aesthetics engage with/represent the political histories and economies of the margins? Seeking papers exploring poetics and spatial, socio-political concerns. 250-word abstract by 10 March 2016; Jenna Sciuto (

This panel is linked to a special issue of The Global South to be published in the fall of 2017, "Engaging with the Poetics of Peripheralization," co-edited by Hosam Aboul-Ela and Jenna Sciuto. If interested in submitting to both, note that the time frames will vary.