ACLA 2023 Seminar: Emotion and the Future of the Nation

deadline for submissions: 
October 31, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
American Comparative Literature Association
contact email: 


Sheera Talpaz (

Mazalit Haim (

In conceptualizing nationalism and “nation-ness,” Benedict Anderson considered not only their emergence and historical transformations but also “why […] they command such profound emotional legitimacy” (Anderson 2006, 4). Intrinsic to the widely accepted understanding of the nation as a politically powerful construct is its affective depth, which shapes the atmospheres, spaces, bodies, and relations of national life.

Today, when “tropes of postnationalism inhabit the global imaginary,” nation and nationalism are no less affectively driven than they once were (Pease 2011, 10). This panel aims to explore not only how emotion and affect play an important role in national identity formation but also in the cultural construction of the transnational and the global. The resurgence of familiar forms of nationalism—protectionist, nativist, and other reactionary ilk—all bring to the fore the role that emotion plays in forming the political within a historical process that hovers between the transnational and the national. 

We seek papers that examine various forms of media to revisit, rethink, or even undo the concept of the nation in light of the following:


    • Emotion as a methodological framework for thinking about the nation within the global imaginary


    • The role that emotion plays in fostering and disrupting national attachments 


    • Situating affect vis-a-vis national temporalities 


    • The “canon of affective practices” that constitutes the calendar of national life


    • The regulation of emotion within civic and political engagement in literary forms and genres 


    • The role of “political emotions” and affective politics in fostering social transformation or maintaining the status quo


Prospective panelists should submit abstracts of up to 300 words through the ACLA portal by Monday, October 31st.