ACLA Undergraduate Seminar: “Thinking Race in a Comparative Perspective”

deadline for submissions: 
February 12, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
American Comparative Literature Association annual conference, April 8-11, 2021
contact email: 

2021 American Comparative Literature Association annual conference

April 8-11, 2021 (via Zoom)



Undergraduate Seminar: “Thinking Race in a Comparative Perspective”


The American Comparative Literature Association ( invites undergraduate students to participate in the Undergraduate Seminar at the American Comparative Literature Association annual conference, which will take place virtually, April 8-11, 2021.


Races have no biological substance and are, rather, social and cultural constructs. Nonetheless, the construction of race has played and continues to play a crucial role as a powerful tool to categorize individuals and groups.

The undergraduate seminar “Thinking Race in a Comparative Perspective” addresses questions of race and racial identity with comparative and interdisciplinary approaches, in different genres, at different epochs, on and from various geographical locations.

How have the construction of race and the identity of specific racial groups changed across time? What analogies and differences emerge from racial representations in different social, historical, and geographic contexts? What role do space and place play in the understanding of race and/or racial inequalities? What relationships emerge between discourses about race and those about other forms of difference, such as class or gender? What do such connections reveal about power relationships?

What spectrum of representations and responses have literatures, the arts, media, and other discourses and cultural productions offered to these issues?


We welcome student papers that engage with these or similar questions and explore conceptualizations and representations of race in relation to (but not exclusively):


Colonialism and postcolonialism

Serfdom, slavery, castes, nobility of blood

Physiognomy, anthropology, and color lines

Idealization of ethnic otherness

Biographical and autobiographical accounts on racial identity

Power, space, and place

Class, gender, religion



Cross-racial and transnational connections

Hyphenated identities


Please send 400-word abstracts to Professor Nicoletta Pireddu, ACLA Program Committee Chair ( by February 12, 2021.