ACLA 2020: Albania at the center of the world: Minor literature in a comparative frame

deadline for submissions: 
September 23, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Julia Musha
contact email: 

Seeking contributions for a seminar at the Annual Meeting of the ACLA in Chicago, March 2020. Deadline for paper proposals is September 23 via the ACLA portal.

This seminar places Albania—a small country with a minor language spoken by about 10 million people worldwide—at the center of theoretical questions about concepts of national literature, comparison, regionalism, globalization, migration, Europe, post-socialism, and postcoloniality, in the hopes of beginning a conversation about this understudied literature and culture. We begin with the proposition that to study Albania one must assume a comparatist attitude, and we aim to explore what shape those comparisons might take.

Contributions are invited on all areas of Albanian literature and culture examining authors major and minor; problems of definition (what does it mean when a significant portion of the cultural production that can be termed “Albanian” takes place outside of the country's national borders and in other languages, for example?); the discovery of lost or dissident authors, and how dissidence has been defined; Albania’s cultural exchanges with the socialist bloc, the "Third World," and China during the Cold War; post-socialist cultural production and the pressures of the global literary market on local developments; the cultural production of Albanian immigrants abroad; considerations of the country in a postcolonial frame; the place of Albania in various regional frames (the Balkans/Eastern Europe/the Mediterranean); questions of periodization and synchronous vs asynchronous comparisons; etc. Contributions focusing on literature, film, reportage, or the arts welcome. 

In addition, we invite presentations on the larger problem of working on minor literatures that fall outside of traditional languages and literatures departments, and the challenges and opportunities this presents.