12 February 2008

CFP - Flogging a Dead Horse: Are National Literatures Finished? (11-12 Dec 2008; Victoria U of Wellington) Deadline: 1 August 2008

CFP - Flogging a Dead Horse: Are National Literatures Finished?

The Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies and SEFTMS are organising a conference to be held on 11 and 12 December, 2008, at Victoria University of Wellington.

Cultural nationalism has been at the centre of literary history in New Zealand, as in other literatures. In New Zealand the intense period of literary activity of the 1930s and 40s produced a body of work that sharply influenced thinking about national identity. The 1890s shaped thinking about the defining characteristics of an assertively nationalistic Australian literature, while Canada after World War II sought a cultural identity separate from the overpowering proximity of US nationalism. These nationalist moments still influence critical discussion and cultural formations but are now being challenged by alternative nationalisms, the outward gaze of contemporary writers, the growth of fantasy and other genres, and, above all, globalism. Questions about the relevance of nationalism in literature are relevant everywhere.

The keynote speaker will be Professor Leela Gandhi, Department of English, University of Chicago, who will address the conference title. Professor Gandhi is the author of Affective Communities: Anticolonial Thought, Fin de Siecle Radicalism, and the Politics of Friendship (Duke University Press, 2006) and Postcolonial Theory: A Critical Introduction (Columbia University Press, 1998). Other speakers will be announced.

Papers are invited a range of topics, including:

* The nation in literature
* The ‘canon’
* Globalism and literature
* Book markets and readerships
* Alternative literary nationalisms
* Contemporary postcolonial and critical theory on the nation
* Culture and literature
* Dispossessed nationalisms
* Fantasy and the nation
* Minority literatures
* Diasporic literatures and nations

Speakers are not restricted to New Zealand topics. Comparative papers are welcome.
Organisers: Lydia Wevers and Mark Williams

250 word abstracts should be submitted to Lydia.Wevers@vuw.ac.nz by 1 August, 2008.