Dispossessions in the Southern Cone (NeMLA 2021 Panel)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association, 2021
contact email: 

How do we understand dispossession and subjections that result from imposed demarcations, displacements, and deprivations? How do we see the dispossessed or subjugated as re-articulated in literary works, and what functions can those re-articulations of present/spectral absences play in the literary analysis of the dispossessed territories or bodies, and beyond? In dialog with Judith Butler and Athena Athanasiou (Dispossession: The Performative in the Political), this panel aims to explore literary works from the Southern Cone that discuss such topics as the loss of land, community, and/or culture rendered through normative or normalizing acts of violence – some executed in the name of nation building or nationalism, and in an attempt to foster specific subjectivities at the expense of others in processes of disposability. It delves into ideas of (dis)possession, inter-relatedness, and power structures that have designed the parameters or acceptable practices for society, politics, and culture, and it explores how literary works have treated those represented within and against the produced order. It likewise considers how acts of resistance to those dominant forces and the fabricated parameters are addressed - for example, how have texts represented the idea of remaining “in place,” in defiance of the political motions imposed from above for dislocation or deterritorialization (that is, in defiance of one’s “assigned proper place”)? It also asks if re-possessions are possible (and to what extent?) and, if so, how are those illustrated, and to what effect?

The examination of works from the nineteenth century that engage such issues are particularly welcomed.