(DEADLINE EXTENDED) "Spaces" Austin, TX Oct. 14-16, 2021

deadline for submissions: 
July 20, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Society for Comparative Literature and the Arts (SCLA)
contact email: 


2021 Meeting of the Society for Comparative Literature and the Arts

October 14-16, 2021

Hilton Garden Inn

Austin, Texas


Call for Papers


Spaces, long taken for granted or relegated to the mere background, have become much more significant in cultural theory in the twenty-first century. To be sure, the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the significance of spatiality in innumerable ways, with restrictions on travel, remote learning, “lockdowns,” and the now ubiquitous concept of “social distancing” coming to dominate daily life in the present moment. With so many people limited in their movements, space and place seem all the more salient today.

            Following the “spatial turn” in the humanities and social sciences, critics have increasingly turned their attentions to matters of space and place, spatial relations, geography, architecture, and mapping. Who we are and what we do, it seems, are ever more noticeably connected to where we are, to our location vis-à-vis others, and our place within both a geographical setting and a more abstract, spatial framework, such as social hierarchies or orders organized around center and periphery, for instance. Matters of space and spatiality are, in some senses, nothing new to literature and culture. Distinctive locales, regions, landscapes, or other pertinent geographical features are often crucial to the meaning and the effectiveness of literary works, and entire genres may be defined by such spatial or geographical characteristics, such as the pastoral poem, the travel narrative, utopia, or the urban exposé. With its discrete line breaks or presentation on the page, poetry often exhibits a markedly spatial form, and many literary works are complemented with maps, whether actually included in the text or merely projected and held in the mind of the reader, which are intended to help guide the reader through the storyworld or geography of the text. However, the last few decades have witnessed a profound reassertion of space in humanities, as matters of space, place, and mapping have come to the forefront of critical discussions of literature and culture. This “spatial turn” has had powerful repercussions for literary and cultural theory and practice in the twenty-first century.

            For its 2021 conference in Austin, Texas, on Oct. 14-16, 2021, the Society for Comparative Literature and the Arts (SCLA) invites proposals for talks related to “spaces,” broadly conceived, as well as to other topics of interest, which might include some of the following:


Lived Spaces                           Abstract Spaces            Space and Place

Architectural spaces                 Literary geography        Urban Planning

Textual spaces                         Landscapes                   Visualization

Borders                                  Contact zones                Liminality

Cognitive mapping                   Orientation                   Diaspora

Postcolonial spaces                  Globalization                 Spatial ontology

Oceanic spaces                        Territory                       Conquest

Buildings                                 Rooms                         Heterotopia

Utopian spaces                        Imaginary worlds          Science fictional spaces

Outer space                            Localities                      Fluvial spaces

Cities                                     Rural spaces                 Non-places/Atopias

Race and place                       Gendered spaces           Spaces of memory

Institutional spaces                 Environmental issues     Spatial representation

Politics of space                      Spatial theory               Geocriticism

Tourism and travel                  Public vs. private           Toponyms




Email: 2021scla@gmail.com;


Panel and paper proposals related to the conference theme are especially encouraged, but all topics are welcome. Please submit panel proposals (500 words) and individual abstracts (250 words) by July 20, 2021. 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.
Graduate students submitting a paper proposal may be eligible for an SCLA travel scholarship.