Just Representations: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Justice in World Literature

deadline for submissions: 
February 18, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
York University English Graduate Students Association


Just Representations: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Justice in World Literature

Conference Date: May 4-5, 2018
Conference Location: York University, Toronto, Canada Call

NEW Deadline: February 18, 2018

“Universalism is implicated in both imperial schemes to control the world and liberatory mobilizations for justice and empowerment.”
-Anna Tsing

The York University English Graduate Students Association (EGSA) is pleased to announce our 2018 graduate colloquium, “Just Representations: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Justice in World Literature.” Taking place May 4-5, 2018, at York University, this colloquium seeks to bring graduate students and faculty together through their work on a broad range of topics, including international justice, political science, law and literature, world literature, postcolonial studies, and contemporary literature.

Since World War II, there has been a concerted effort by the world's major powers to develop a global mechanism capable of dealing with crimes against humanity. The International Police, the UN Security Council, and the International Criminal Court have all been tasked with meting out justice on a global scale. Not only are these attempts at justice deeply flawed, they have also failed to address the still present injustices of colonialism, ecological devastation, and capitalism. Concurrent to the rise of international justice is the resurgence of world literature as a field of study. In ways similar to international justice, world literature attempts to make connections across social, cultural, and geographical borders and to address the crimes of the past five centuries. By highlighting the connections between international law and world literature, this colloquium embraces the variety of ways in which justice, restitution, and revolution work to change our understanding of global-scale inequities.

We are interested in papers that explore the literary representations/ramifications of international justice through a world literary lens. What does a novel about the Nuremberg Trial of Nazi war criminals have to show us about the difficulties of international justice, especially after the horrific death and destruction of World War II? How does drama that addresses truth and reconciliation in South Africa resonate in other colonial countries, who are experiencing similar processes (Canada, Australia, New Zealand)? How do region-specific representations of environmental crisis contribute to larger conversations about justice in a global context? How does the study and practice of world literature affect the role of literature in understandings of international justice? These are the kinds of questions we hope to begin unpacking.

Potential topics include (but are not limited to):

- Fictional representations of international criminal courts - Issues of justice in world literature
- Environmental justice/ecocriticism
- Fascism and eco-fascism

- Right-wing populism
- Representing/representations of the Holocaust
- Israel/Palestine Studies
- Voices of survivors of cultural genocide
- Memory and poetics
- Post-Apartheid drama and literature in South Africa
- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in a Canadian context - The case for and problematics of reparations
- Indigenous resurgence, resistance, restitution
- Diasporic literature
- Refugee experiences
- Critical Race Studies
- Decolonial love

Please submit a 250-word abstract for a 15-20 minute presentation, and a short biographical statement, to Julianna Will at justrepresentations2018@gmail.com by February 4, 2018.

As a complement to the colloquium, the theme of the 2019 issue of EGSA’s academic journal, Pivot, will also be “Just Representations.” The journal invites submissions for publication from colloquium participants.