Friday, September 10, 2010

CFP: Foreign Affairs: Romance at the Boundaries

In 2011 the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) will be holding its annual conference at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver from March 31st to April 3rd.

Eric is organising a seminar on "Foreign Affairs: Romance at the Boundaries":
The 2011 ACLA conference theme invokes “the freshness, excitement, and, yes, fear of experiencing the ‘foreign.’” In the experience of love, that mix of emotions is also on display, not least when the “foreign” other turns out to be ourselves, “shattered” (in Jean-Luc Nancy’s terms) by the impact of desire. This seminar will explore how literary and popular texts represent the transformative encounter of self and other, mind and body, old self and new, in romantic love.

How do texts enact encounter aesthetically, through contrapuntal discourses, genres, allusions, or traditions? From Ottoman lyric to Harlequin novel, the literature of love is often highly conventionalized. How have such texts incorporated the freshness of the “foreign,” renewed within—or slipping past—the boundaries of genre?

What are the politics of xenophilia, within or outside of texts? What ethics (and erotics) shape our acknowledgement, violation, or fetishizing of alterity? How does power shift when texts and tropes of love move from language to language, medium to medium, period to period, audience to audience?

Is scholarship also a “foreign affair”? What pleasures and shames shape academic encounters with popular romance, the abjected Other of “literature”? What happens when men study (and write) texts commonly construed to be “by women, for women,” or when women study (and write) male romance? As queer readers study heteronormative texts, and straight readers, queer ones—when East meets West, and South, North—might love of the “foreign” be read as a critical practice, or criticism, a practice of love?
According to the ACLA's submission guidelines:
The ACLA's annual conferences have a distinctive structure in which most papers are grouped into twelve- person seminars that meet two hours per day for the three days of the conference to foster extended discussion. Some eight-person (or smaller) seminars meet just the first two days of the conference. This structure allows each participant to be a full member of one seminar, and to sample other seminars during the remaining time blocks.
The deadline for proposing a paper is 1 November 2010. More details about this year's conference can be found here and proposals should be submitted via the ACLA conference website.

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