The Politics of Literary Cartography

deadline for submissions: 
September 21, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Rebbecca Brown (Western Kentucky University) and Christopher S. Lewis (Western Kentucky University)

ACLA 2018 Seminar: The Politics of Literary Cartography
March 29-April 1 at UCLA

Broadly situated alongside Peter Turchi’s concept of the writer as cartographer in Maps of the Imagination, as well as Ricardo Padrón’s theorizing of cartography as an act of empire and colonization in The Spacious Word, this seminar will address the ways in which writers spatially and/or conceptually map both real and imagined worlds at times in the service of, and at times in opposition to, broad hegemonic forces.  Taking a capacious approach to what constitutes mapping, this seminar will address the relationship between mapping and literary genres, the body, nationhood, race, cosmology, empire, and empiricism.  We hope to approach this topic by examining both the hegemonic limitations and the potential for progressive world-building that literary cartography makes possible.

 Questions to consider include:
--How have colonialist writers used cartography and mapping in the service of colonization and racism?
--How have anti-colonial writers of color used cartography and mapping in opposition to racism and colonialism?
--How does literary cartography participate or intervene in scientific discourses on maps as a means of discerning reality, race, nation, and/or the body?
--Through what venues and on what surfaces are literary maps created and/or contested?
--How can the notion of marked and/or unmarked space violate vulnerable bodies and/or make vulnerable bodies legible in an affirming manner?
--What is the relationship between literary cartography and phenomenology?
--What tools do contemporary digital spaces and social media offer literary cartographers?
--What is the relationship between literary cartography, literary tourism, and nation?
--In what ways can literary cartography be understood as a gendered and/or sexualized enterprise?

We seek to develop a transnational and multilingual approach to the discussion of literature as cartography. We invite submissions that address these questions across a range of eras and literary traditions.