November 8-9-10, 2007, Université Paul Valéry (Montpellier III)
From Shakespeare to the Gothic novel to Salman Rushdie, the ghost has always been a recurrent figure in literature. This conference aims at examining haunting phenomena in the postcolonial world: is there a specifically postcolonial kind of haunting? Who/What are the postcolonial ghosts? How do they show themselves? Can they be conjured or exorcised? How?
To answer these questions, and many others, the presence of ghosts in the new literatures in English (Africa, India, Caribbean…) can be examined; issues tackled may include magic realism, neo-gothic writings, folklore, ghosts (guilty or innocent), and the various ways in which they manifest themselves. Ghosts may also be more abstract : haunted texts, literary or cultural ghosts from the past…Writers as diverse as André Brink, Edwige Danticat, Fred D’Aguiar, Denise Harris, Wilson Harris, Nalo Hopkinson, Margaret Laurence, Arundhati Roy or Wole Soyinka, to quote only a few, can be looked at.
Another possible aspect is the presence of colonial “ghosts” in institutions, politics, historiography, education, museums… The various “truth and reconciliation commissions” established to deal with – exorcise? – the ghosts of the past may also be looked at. Many other examples can of course be dealt with.
Finally, linguistic ghosts also haunt the postcolonial world : accents, creolization, “englishes” where the colonisers’ language is haunted by the colonised’s (and vice versa), etc. It will therefore be interesting to try and understand how, and to what extent, postcolonial language(s) is/are haunted.
This conference should then be open to those who deal in literature, as well as to those interested in cultures, history, techniques or linguistics, in the British Empire and the Commonwealth, delivering their paper in English or French.
Please send your proposals (title + abstract of 250 to 300 words) as well as a short bio to Mélanie Joseph-Vilain (firstname.lastname@example.org) and to Judith Misrahi-Barak (email@example.com) by December 31, 2006.
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