Historical Unfamiliarity: Racial Illegibility and Confusion across Time

deadline for submissions: 
September 27, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
MELUS: The Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States
contact email: 

CFP for panel proposal to the annual meeting for MELUS (The Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States) from 2-5 April 2020 in New Orleans, LA.

The MELUS conference theme (Awakenings and Reckonings: Multiethnic Literature and Effecting Change–Past, Present, and Future) calls for comparative and interdisciplinary analysis of representations and imaginings of the past, present, and future as they relate to race, ethnicity, citizenship, and diaspora.

In accordance with the conference theme, we welcome abstracts about fiction, poetry, performance, or other narrative media that unsettles, troubles, or deconstructs historically established paradigms of race/ethnicity, their (historcal) representation(s), and ideas of belonging and exclusion.

Of particular interest are proposals about strategic misremembering, misrepresentations and their affect, and historical confusion and its relation to visions of futurity in African American literature and performance.

Possible questions might include:

- What strategies might contemporary artists use to confront historically entrenched assumptions about race and racial belonging?

- In what ways might the historical knowledges that make race and ethnicity feel familiar—such as popular representations of historical events/persons—be used to make race and ethnicity feel unfamiliar?

- What new perspectives—of the past or the future—might emerge out of such disorienting confrontations?

Email abstracts (200 words) and a short bio statement to John.brooks2@emory.edu.

Deadline for submission: Friday, 20 September 2019.