Two-day international seminar "Secrecy and community in contemporary narrative in English"

deadline for submissions: 
May 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Research Project “Secrecy and Community in Contemporary Narrative in English

Secrecy and community in contemporary narrative in English

University of Granada, Spain

4th-5th October, 2018

Organized by the Research Project “Secrecy and Community in Contemporary Narrative in English” (ref. FFI2016-75589-P), funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness

This two-day international seminar welcomes proposals about the role of the secret in contemporary narrative in English in order to articulate the relation between the individual and community. Secrecy may adopt different forms, often in dialectical confrontation. It may stand for the essence or substance (purity, sacrifice/violence, the sacred, political conspiracy) upon which the exclusive and excluding character of a community is built. On the other hand, secrecy – manifested as silence, interruption, marginality, alterity or death – may emerge as the space and language of illicit social bonds, forbidden identities and peripheral voices in the face of normative and essentialised forms of community and their discursive codification. Finally, we also find communities of secrecy that do not respond to traditional and conventional collective forms based upon national identity, social class, ethnicity/race, gender or sexuality. The secret articulates the disembedding from totalitarian communities, such as the patriarchal state, heteronormative relationships, the colonial empire, or the ethnically/racially pure nation, and the emergence of new relationships and spaces of freedom, based on a secret sharing of love, friendship, or other non-homogenising communitarian bonds, perpetually open to the difference of the other.

The concept of the secret traverses the communitarian thought of Jean-Luc Nancy, Maurice Blanchot and Jacques Derrida, the three of whom have argued against immanent communities, through an ethico-political gesture that puts the emphasis on collective forms characterised by irreducible singularity, secrecy and otherness. Critics and theorists such as Frank Kermode, Matei Calinescu, Derek Attridge, Nicholas Royle, J. Hillis Miller, Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok, or Esther Rashkin have also offered important insights into the narrative, thematic, ideological, ethical or political role of secrets.

Suggested paper topics may deal with the secret in relation to the following concepts: the inoperative community (Nancy), tensions between traditional and elective communities of secret sharers (Blanchot), cryptonomy and the ‘transgenerational phantom’ (Abraham and Torok), unconditional secrecy (Derrida), Attridge’s singularity of literature, the uncanny (Royle), speech acts in literature, autobiography, trauma, the body, death, ethics.

We welcome proposals dealing with any of these topics and related ones as articulated in contemporary narrative/fictional texts in English. Please submit your 400-500 word abstracts by May 1st, 2018 to Abstracts should include a short biographical note.

Selected papers will be considered for publication.


Confirmed keynote speakers:

Prof. Derek Attridge (University of York, UK)

Prof. Nicholas Royle (University of Sussex, UK)


Organizing Committee


University of Granada:

Mercedes Díaz-Dueñas         Gerardo Rodríguez-Salas         Pilar Villar-Argáiz


University of Córdoba:

María Jesús López Sánchez-Vizcaíno               Paula Martín Salván

María Luisa Pascual Garrido              Juan L. Pérez-de-Luque