Call for Papers: The Substance of African and Middle Eastern Literatures
(3/23/03; MLA 03 in San Diego)
Papers sought for a panel on the intersections between the natural resources of Africa and the Middle East and the literature and expressive culture of the regions.
From the scramble for Africa to the latest proposal for war, Africa and the Middle East have been seen from the outside as spaces of endless natural wealth and raw resources. Diamonds, oil, gold (to name a few) have held coveted spaces in the imaginations of European and American prospectors, employers, patrons and corporations, and have impacted national and regional mappings.
Although there has been much work on the histories of exploration, there is less sustained thought as to how the resources are viewed from within, and as to how “cultural wealth” reflects and intersects with the reality and mythology of African and Middle Eastern substances. Panel organizer seeks papers that creatively engage the intersections between the natural resources of Africa and the Middle East and the literature of the regions. Approaches may be eclectic and comparative, and may take an aesthetic, historical, textual, anthropological, geographical, or other perspective.
Areas of exploration may include:
Examination of the way resources (“substances”) are represented in literature, film, performance
Representations of those who work with the resources (at any stage and in any role) as reflected in literature and film
Resources and modernity and development
Resources and indigenous environmental discourses
Examination of the representations of resources in oral literatures or other “traditional” texts and performances
Historical approaches to the ways natural resources emerge in discourse
Examination of generic forms emerging as responses to conflict over natural resources
Examination of funding sources, corporations and how profit serves (or doesn’t) the arts of the regions
New emergent subjectivities in response to the discovery and engagement
300-500 word abstracts via email (attachments or in-email accepted) by March 23, 2003.
Program in Comparative Literature
University of Texas at Austin
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