It has been generally accepted that the idea of a unified and smoothly functioning British Empire was a product of the imagination and that similar fantasies informed the public perception of all European empires. But it is still a matter of speculation how such ideas originated and retained their salience beyond the formal dissolution of colonial demesnes.
This conference is aiming to uncover the discursive strategies that disseminated attitudes and mentalities in favour of colonial enterprises. A major goal will be to re-assess postcolonial theory for its capacity to explain the illusions, fantasies and material promises disseminated through factual and fictional descriptions of the encounter between colonial ‘masters’ and their subjugated peoples.
We welcome studies of the different kinds of narrative that tried to make sense of the cross-cultural encounters and called into existence fantasies of Western superiority. Further topics of interest relate to the conflict-ridden attempts to theorise sovereignty in overseas territories and the formation of postcolonial nation states.
This interdisciplinary conference is relevant to scholars in the fields of critical theory, literary studies, cross-cultural studies, history, art history, politics, law and related disciplinary fields.
Please send your abstract of 250-300 words to Christa Knellwolf (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Margarete Rubik (email@example.com) before 15 April 2007. For conference registration, go to www.univie.ac.at/stories.
Department of English and American Studies
Universitätscampus AAKH, Hof 8
A-1090 Wien, Austria
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