Dis/placed Subjects: Home and Belonging in Postcolonial Women's Narratives

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
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What is the approach of postcolonial women writers to issues of home and multiple belongings? How do they narrate the encounter with estrangement and familiarity?

This panel focuses on the interaction between the female body and space, understood as either physical (in the sense of mappable) or symbolic (in the sense of conceptual), in impacting upon the construction of the subject’s sense of self. It thus invites the exchange of ideas on the interplay of gender and race and how these are negotiated in the process of making one’s ‘home’. To this end, it will look at the fictional enactment of counter-strategies that are developed to redefine what belonging is, and to make the unliveable liveable — in defiance of the well-known postulation of the ‘unhomely’ as a paradigmatic postcolonial condition. Challenging a patriarchal representation of ‘home’ as a static and apolitical space, it will explore the representation of agency in postcolonial women’s writing, looking not only at expressions of overt resistance, but also at community-making strategies and practices of mediation between self and Other.

Possible topics of discussion include, but are not limited to:

- ‘nomadic’ subjectivities

- sisterhood and feminist allegiances

- sex, gender, and migration

- food at the intersection of tradition and resistance

This panel will offer significant insights into female agency and the role of literature in opening up spaces for political imagination in which new homes can emerge. It promises to achieve this by bringing to light the transnational undertaking of women authors in undermining the pretence of national and cultural homogeneity at a time when — in the light of a pressing migration crisis and a widespread upsurge of new nationalisms — the porousness of our borders appears more exposed than ever before.