Genres of the Atlantic

deadline for submissions: 
October 3, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
contact email: 

In his seminal work, Poetics of Relation (1990), Édouard Glissant posited the term “commonplace” as a means to rethink the role of genre in a transatlantic frame. Taking as its object the "flood of convergences, publishing itself in the guise of the commonplace,” this formulation complicates any attempt to read genre as a closed system of inherited traits. Rather, the notion of the commonplace draws our attention to the unspoken norms that sustain literary communities across time and space. Positive in Glissant’s account, commonplaces have also worked to police the boundaries of what counts as literature and who is counted within its canons of literary value. This panel will investigate the impact that transatlantic colonialism had on the emergence and transformation of literary genres through the course of the long eighteenth century. Whereas the relationship between genre, empire, and racialization has been addressed within the study of performance and the novel, this topic remains more inchoate in genres such as epic, or the ode, whose modern development has been read principally in relation to antiquity. By expanding the range of texts that can be considered Atlantic this panel reexamines how the histories of slavery and colonial exploitation can inform the study and teaching of literary form in the present. Possible topics include: readings of the lyric with and against ideas of civilizational progress, the relationship between racial melancholy and tragedy, and the influence that narratives of the formerly enslaved had on the rise of the novel.

NB: Abstracts must be submitted here: ASECS CfP 2023