Borders and Borderlands: Liminal Textualities in Contemporary Literature

full name / name of organization: 
York St John University

Borderlands are defined as being both 'an area of land close to a border between two countries' and 'an area between two qualities, ideas or subjects that has features of both but is not clearly one or the other' (Oxford Dictionaries, 2016). The significance of borders and borderlands has become particularly prevalent in contemporary society. Literature has always responded to the issues of its context of production such as Burke writing on the French Revolution up to and including Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche's 2013 novel Americanah addressing global concerns of nationality and migration. Following recent events such as the refugee 'crisis', the Scottish Referendum, issues of borders are constantly being reshaped, creating liminal spaces in which literature can respond and has a tradition of responding to.

This one-day symposium invites critical reflection on the role of 'borders' and 'borderlands' in contemporary literature (from 1975 onwards). We aim to celebrate and reflect on a number of issues in current literature addressing 'the border' in its multiple forms: What do we mean when we talk about borderlands? How are borders represented in literature? Is role of the border more significant to different types of people? How is the role of the borderland important in modern literature? To what extent can both geographic and conceptual borderlands be considered social constructs?

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the topic, we welcome proposals for 20 minute critical papers and also invite creative responses from researchers working across the Arts and Humanities. Submissions might address, but are not limited to, the following:

• Physical and imagined borderlands
• Representations of gender
• Racial 'mixedness' and cultural hybridity
• Identity borderlands
• (Post)colonial borderlands
• Age borderlands
• Narrative liminality
• Transformative borderlands
• The representation of the frontier
• Urban borders and the cartography of the city
• Borderland between the State and Ideology
• Genre as a narrative border
• Cultural and political borders
• Colonisation and the creation of physical borders

Please send abstracts of 300 words to by Monday 2nd May.