06/01/20) "Spaces," SCLA Oct 29-Oct 31 2020, Austin TX

deadline for submissions: 
June 1, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Society For Comparative Literature and the Arts
contact email: 


2020 Meeting of the Society for Comparative Literature and the Arts

October 29-31, 2020

Hilton Garden Inn

Austin, Texas


Call for Papers


Space. It is hard to imagine any category, besides Time, that is more foundational if we wish to think about our situatedness and our finitude. And not just ‘our’ situatedness, but that of stones, plants, animals, and the environment in general. Human beings are ‘there’ in space and time, but might we already contest the privilege of humans to describe, and delimit where ‘there’ actually is? Following the “spatial turn” in the humanities and social sciences, critics have increasingly turned their attention to matters of space and place, to geography, architecture, and mapping. Who we are, it seems, is ever more noticeably connected to where we are – and where everything else is too.

            Space, then. Or better, spaces – the plural locales where the arrogance of human and humanist mapping and world-delimitation can be contested in the name of the many entities and non-entities that also inhabit and need the world. But it is not just the recognizable, habitable and homely world that is at stake. For intellectual, literary, and artistic thought has imaginatively explored isolate islands, polar regions, marine profundities and desert landscapes. It has invented many alternative spaces – utopias, and the worlds of science fiction, for instance. Distinctive locales, regions, landscapes, or other pertinent geographical features are often crucial to the meaning of literary works. Entire genres may be defined by spatial or geographical characteristics – the pastoral poem, for example, the travel narrative, or the urban exposé. Many literary works are complemented with maps, whether included in the text or merely projected and held in the mind of the reader. Visual and physical artworks address space in manifold ways as well: consider the question of frames and framing, or the installation of works in a given exhibition space, or works that sometimes inscribe themselves directly on the land, and even under the sea.

            The objective of the 2020 conference of the Society for Comparative Literature and the Arts is to assess how the spatial turn has come to the forefront of critical discussions of literature and the arts. In cooperation with Texas State University, it will be held in Austin, Texas from October 28th to the 31st. The SCLA invites proposals for individual papers and panel collaborations on topics related to “spaces,” broadly conceived. Topics might include the following:



Liveable and Unliveable Spaces                                            

Real and Imagined Architectures

Literary Geographies: Land, Sea, Air and Outer Space        

Borders and Liminalities       

Diasporic Spaces

Translation and Non-translation Zones


Utopias, Dystopias, and Heterotopias

Gendered Spaces

Tourism and Travel

Negotiating World, Earth, Globe, and Planet

Pre-Modern Spaces, or the Mappa Mundi

Finding the World: European Colonialism and the ‘Age of Discovery’





Please submit panel proposals (500 words) and individual abstracts (250 words) by June 1, 2020 to the following email address: 2020scla@gmail.com.


Please include in the body of the email your name, academic affiliation, status (faculty, grad student, etc.), and mailing address. For panel proposals, include the names, addresses, and affiliations for all participants.


The SCLA is committed to increasing graduate student participation at academic conferences. To that end, the SCLA offers a limited number of travel stipends in order to facilitate attendance at the conference. If you wish to be considered for a stipend, please indicate so in your paper proposal submission.