CFP: 55th Annual Comparative Literature Conference "Outcasts and Outliers in Literature, Music, and Visual Arts"

deadline for submissions: 
February 15, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Comparative World Literature, CSULB

CFP: 55th Annual Comparative Literature Conference

Outcasts and Outliers in Literature, Music, and Visual Arts

Wednesday and Thursday, April 7-8, 2021


The Comparative World Literature Program at California State University, Long Beach,

invites abstracts for presentations at its 55th annual conference in Long Beach,

California on the topic of Outcasts and Outliers. In accordance with university policy,

this conference will be virtual. It is the hope of the conference committee that this

virtuality will enable a more diverse group of academics to participate.


From the canon wars of the 1980s and 1990s to the debates over the place of genre

fiction, popular culture, and digital media in the classroom, to the more recent

amplification of critical race and ethnic studies and the appreciation of creative

production by people from historically marginalized groups, the question of what to

include—and what to omit—continues to provoke debate and response. But what do we

do with those texts, topics, and people who have been cast out, or those who are such

outliers that they were never included? Likewise, how do we challenge the authority of

those who wield the power to decide who / what is included?


This conference will focus on examining and interrogating the notions of outcasts and

outliers of literature, music, and the visual arts. That may mean attention to little-known

texts, genres that are not typically addressed in a Comparative Literature context,

characters and communities pushed into the margins, and the notion of marginality

itself. We encourage papers centering the perspectives of Black, indigenous and

racialized people of color and other marginalized communities.


We invite papers on the following topics:

• Ambivalent, hybrid, fragmented, or conflicting identities

• Mixed race and interracial interactions

• The interstices of ethnicity, gender, and race

• Intra-racial and inter-racial discrimination

• The alienated “other” as a trope

• Vulnerability and precarity in the time of COVID-19

• Sites of erasure and institutional violence (e.g., deportation centers, police

brutality, healthcare policies, lack of emergency response to natural disasters)

• Questions of trans and genderqueer identity

• Settler-colonial legacies of injustice

• Afrofuturism, speculative fiction, and inclusive futures

• The concept of misfits and misfitting

• Intersections with disability justice, crip time, and embodied difference

• Kinship, community, and the politics of care in the margins

• The exilic intellectual (e.g., Said)


We are thrilled to announce that the Plenary Talk will be given by Dr. Theri Pickens,

Professor of English and Chair of Africana at Bates College. The title of Dr. Pickens’ talk

is: “After almost 100 days: Race, Disability, and A Head.”


Proposals for 15-20 minute presentations should clearly explain the relationship of the

paper to the conference theme, describe the evidence to be examined, and offer

tentative conclusions. Abstracts of no more than 300 words (not including optional

bibliography) should be submitted by February 20, 2021. Please submit abstracts as a

Word document as an email attachment to (

Please do not embed proposals in the text of the email. The conference committee will

review all proposals, with accepted papers receiving notification by March 2, 2021.