deadline for submissions: 
August 31, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Pei-Wen Clio Kao/National Ilan University

Call for Papers

CONRAD IN THE FAR EAST, Editor: Pei-Wen Clio Kao (National Ilan University)


The Maria Curie-Skłodowska University – Columbia University Press Conrad Project

Lublin: Maria Curie-Skłodowska University Press; New York: Columbia University Press, to be published in 2027.                                                                  


This Call for Papers invites contributions from Conrad scholars, whether based in the Far East or outside the Far East, to address issues of Conrad’s relation to the Far East. We encourage the Conradians to reread and rethink Conrad’s works from the perspective of the Global South, and reconsider how Conrad’s modernist works have inspired and motivated our critical mentality as well as positionality. We welcome academic articles based on the perspective of the Third World as inspired by the decolonizing waves of the 1960s. We also suggest analysis of Conrad’s Eastern or Malay tales in relation to his maritime life. A comparison of Conrad and his Asian counterparts or followers is also particularly in alignment with our volume profile.


In “Decolonizing University” (2024), Paul Giles proposes three agendas regarding teaching and studying literature in the university: decolonizing the iconography in the university; decolonizing the curriculum; and decolonizing the racial representation in the university. The thrust of the decolonizing university project is not to discard the Western cultural as well as literary tradition, but to incorporate Africa, Latin America, Asia and Oceania into the epistemological frame. As Asian Anglo-American literary scholars based in the Far East, the curriculum and pedagogies of decolonizing university have incited us to rethink our epistemic and political positionality, and reevaluate our given philosophical framework or even biases. Besides, as the literary scholars from the Global South who are situated in the heyday of postcolonialism, how to make relevance of Conrad’s works to our time has become a pressing issue awaiting the Asian Conradians to address.


During 1883 to 1888, Conrad sailed to Singapore, and the impression of this seaport city has become the materials for his later writing career. Conrad’s influences have gone beyond the confines of Europe and America to reach the Third World, including Asia. Numerous Asian scholars and critics are claimed or self-proclaimed protégé of Conrad. We could see the legacy or traces of Conrad in the works of Asian academic moguls like Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, and Homi Bhabha, etc. In the 2014 film adaptation of Conrad’s “The Secret Sharer,” Peter Fudakowski transformed both the setting and the characters from the European to the Far Eastern. We can see familiar faces of the Chinese and the Taiwanese stars in the film, which demonstrates the importance of Conrad’s influence in Asian literary as well as cinematic circles. 


Terry Collits maintains that there are two methodologies for the contemporary readers to read Conrad’s works. One is “objective reading,” which is to see literature as the vehicle of disseminating moral truth. Another is “subjective reading” that centers on the reader’s subjective historical-spatial position. The 19th-century literary critic Matthew Arnold served as the representative of the former approach. In “The Function of Criticism at the Present Time” (1864) Arnold emphasized the way to treat literary works as an object, and the responsibility of the literary critics “to see the object as in itself it really is.” The latter approach is embodied in the works of the contemporary American leftist critic Fredric Jameson. He highlighted the importance of historical context in The Political Unconscious (1981), and argued that the reader’s subjective positionality has affected the interpretation of literature. We encourage both “close reading” and “political reading” to approach Conrad’s works and tease out the embedded meanings for the Far Eastern readers and beyond.


Topics included in this volume are listed as follows, and other related topics are also welcome:


˙Conrad and postcolonialism

˙Conrad and the Global South Studies

˙Conrad and decolonization

˙Conrad and the Third World Perspectives

˙Comparative studies of Conrad and Asian writers

˙Conrad and Asian studies

˙Conrad’s biography and the Far East


Please send 300–500-word abstracts, along with brief 100–150-word biographies, to Pei-Wen Clio Kao at before August, 2024. The full manuscripts are due in September of 2025. All manuscripts will undergo double blind peer-review for consideration. As of now, the book volume is set for publication in 2027.