Violent Affects: Imperialist/Racist Texts and Decolonial Praxis

deadline for submissions: 
October 31, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
American Comparative Literature Assosiation's Annual Meeting (Virtual), April 8-11, 2021
contact email: 

Violent Affects: Imperialist/Racist Texts and Decolonial Praxis

Seminar Co-Organizers: Soumitree Gupta and Tanushree Ghosh

Deadline for submission of paper abstract: October 31, 2020 by 11.59 p.m. EST

ACLA Annual Meeting (Virtual), April 8-11, 2021

Seminar Description

Taking Chinua Achebe’s critique (1977) of Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness (1902) as a starting-point, this seminar seeks to interrogate imperialist and racist texts, which are routinely taught as part of the literary canon and potentially inflict epistemic and affective violence on communities of color. We draw upon Achebe’s urgent call for “the work of redressing” this violence to examine the affects and politics of decolonial praxis for educators and students that are beneficiaries as well as victims of imperialism and white supremacy.

Seminar papers may address but are not limited to these questions: 

  • What are the pedagogies, affects, and politics of engaging with imperialist/racist texts and their inherent “discursive colonialism” (Mohanty 1984) in our classrooms during the current times?
  • How can literature--specifically "English"--departments and educators reimagine their curricula and pedagogies in ways that are attentive to the visceral affects (Khanna 2020) of imperialist/racist texts for readers from historically oppressed communities?
  • What kinds of trauma-informed practices, which go beyond just "trigger warnings" in the syllabus, and ethics of care need to be centered and cultivated toward decolonizing Eurocentric literature curricula, pedagogies, and classrooms?
  • Are the practices, affects, and politics of decolonizing Eurocentric literature curricula and pedagogies different in the global North versus the global South?

Submit your paper abstract (350 words) here: OR

Be sure to select the seminar title "Violent Affects: Imperialist/Racist Texts and Decolonial Praxis" from the dropdown menu in the application form as part of the submission process.

Please contact seminar co-organizers Soumitree Gupta ( and Tanushree Ghosh ( if you have questions about the submission process.