Reliving Orature: Orality in the Age of Post-Literature (Special Issue of the "Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics")
Reliving Orature: Orality in the Age of Post-Literature
(Special Issue of the "Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics")
Guest Editors: Mukulika Dattagupta (Adamas University, Calcutta, India) and Gourab Chatterjee (KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, India)
In a report published by National Endowment for the Arts in 2002, it was reported that the habit of literary reading in the adult population in the US has declined dramatically during the last two decades of the past millennium due to new developments in the field of electronic media and cyberspace. It is needless to say that the scenario is not different in other parts of the world and deteriorated more in the first two decades of the present millennium. If we look at the statistics of the book publishing industry worldwide, the gradual downfall in the graph can hardly be overlooked and it was worsened by the global outbreak of COVID19. In a situation like this, are we supposed to declare literature as a dying art or as a part of the literary community it becomes a mandate for us to redefine verbal arts and go beyond the definition of literature. Literature, as the etymology suggests, comes from the Latin word ‘littera’ and refers to ‘writing’ and thus, as a term, it is associated mostly with the written body of texts. Historically speaking, verbal arts in written forms, like the way we know it today, has become a global phenomenon not more than 500 hundred years ago. Verbal arts in oral forms existed even much before the advent of ‘literature’ and we may also hope that it will continue to exist even after this gradual decline in the book-reading population. However, the change in the reading habits of people around the globe, their increasing dependence on cyberspace, shortened attention span, and the hybridized and intermedial mode of storytelling signify the beginning of a new era, which does not rely much on ‘written’ texts, rather goes beyond that. We term it as ‘post-literature’.
Post-literature, by incorporating different modes of producing texts and different perspectives, calls into question the picture of a grand narrative consisting of homogenised and“globalised” cultures across the world, promoted by the “global” market. The age of ‘post-literature’ is the age of no segregation among the disciplines, rather it calls and creates room from the practice of verbal and non-verbal arts, science and technology together under the same umbrella. These lines of demarcation between, what we used to classify as artistic and as non-artistic, probably are no more watertight categories. The age of pandemic and lockdown has to a greater extent affirmed this position.
Scholars like Deleuze and Guattari have spoken about the aspects of image, figure and concept. These key aspects may also be of importance to understand post-literature. Both the scholars have re-considered the categories of ‘disciplines’ – arts, science and philosophy -as the Chaoids. Post-literature could be understood as the platform to bring together these three Chaoids and make them interact and overlap with each other. At this juncture we may witness the interlinked thought processes and interlaced identification with the world around us. It is also capable of challenging our given understanding of almost everything around us by bringing us face to face with something that does not fit into our given framework of thought processes. It is thus all about breaking the boundaries and questioning the norms. It is also about developing a new perception for our world and negotiating space between the existing fields and the emerging genres.
The Age of Post-literature questions the unidirectional ways of reading books and calls for a more interactive platform where the audience and the performer may contribute to the formation of the text and thus destabilises the assurance of fixity in written forms. It may also remind us of the world of orality, where texts, authors and readers are not fixed and always build a dialogic relationship. The key objective of this issue would be to attempt the dismantling of the given and rigid framework of literature and to challenge its limitations towards the inclusion of newly evolved or evolving platforms of both oral and literary productions. We call upon the contributors to examine, evaluate and analyse the concept of post-literature that might be located in the subthemes given below. We would also like them to understand that these subthemes are only suggestive and in no way restrictive. As a contributor, you are welcome to break the norms and boundaries and think beyond to offer some creative and critical insights on post-literature.
Orature and Literature; Newly emerged Oral Genre; Orature on a new platform; Orality and globalisation; Orality as a commodity; Orality and the problems of identity; Orality and Cultural Imperialism; Orality and the issues of language; Orality and comprehension of social and textual relationship; Traditional Orature and New Media/Archiving Orature
Deadline for submissions: 31 July 2022
Submissions must be properly typed out in MS Word (Times New Roman, 12 Font), not exceeding 8,000 words and not below 5,000, complete with an abstract of 100 words alongside 4 or 5 keywords, incorporated within the essay itself. All essays shall be peer-reviewed (refereed) and those abounding in solecisms, catachresis, or insufficiently argued shall be returned unread. ‘Works Cited’ and 'Notes' must preferably follow the MLA 8th convention without exception.
Each essay submitted must carry a declaration that it has not been published or submitted for publication elsewhere. The least suspicion of plagiarism will result in an outright rejection of the article.
The cover letter should include a brief author’s bio with no revelation of the author’s identity in the paper itself. An acknowledgement shall be sent upon receipt. A further communication shall be made only after the editor(s) considers the paper worthy of publication.
Revisions must be returned in two weeks without further delay. The author is implored to wait at least two months before withdrawing his article, in case no communication has been made. Simultaneous submissions are not allowed.
ABOUT THE JOURNAL
The Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics (ISSN 0252-8169) is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal published by Vishvanatha Kaviraja Institute, India since 1977. Vishvanatha Kaviraja, most widely known for his masterpiece in aesthetics, Sahityadarpana or the Mirror of Composition, was a prolific 14th-century Indian poet, scholar, and rhetorician. The Institute was founded by Prof. Ananta Charan Sukla (1942-2020) on 22 August 1977, coinciding with the birth centenary of renowned philosopher, aesthetician, and art historian, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy (1877-1947), to promote interdisciplinary studies and research in comparative literature, cultural theory, aesthetics, philosophy and criticism of the arts, art history, and history of ideas. He edited and published the journal for over 40 years as the founding editor.
The journal is committed to comparative and cross-cultural issues in literary understanding and interpretation, aesthetic theories, and conceptual analysis of art. It also publishes special issues on critical theories of current interest. It has published the finest of essays by authors of global renown like René Wellek, Harold Osborne, John Hospers, John Fisher, Murray Krieger, Martin Bucco, Remo Ceserani, J B Vickery, Menachem Brinker, Milton Snoeyenbos, Mary Wiseman, Ronald Roblin, T R Martland, S C Sengupta, K R S Iyengar, V K Chari, S K Saxena, Gordon Epperson, Judith Lochhead, Charles Altieri, Martin Jay, Jonathan Culler, Richard Shusterman, Robert Kraut, T J Diffey, T R Quigley, R B Palmer, Keith Keating, and others. Some of these celebrated essays have been published by Routledge (London & New York) in book format.
The journal is indexed and abstracted in the MLA International Bibliography, Master List of Periodicals (USA), Ulrich’s Directory of Periodicals, ERIH PLUS, The Philosopher’s Index, CNKI, WorldCat Directory, PhilPapers, EBSCO, ProQuest, Literature Online, Gale (Cengage), ACLA, Academic Resource Index, United States Library of Congress, and the British Library. It is also indexed in numerous university (central) libraries, state and public libraries, and scholarly organizations/ learned societies databases.
Celebrated scholars of the time like René Wellek, Harold Osborne, Mircea Eliade, Monroe Beardsley, John Hospers, John Fisher, M H Abrams, John Boulton, and many Indian and Western scholars had been members of its Editorial Board.