Papers invited for an M/MLA panel entitled "Speaking
of Suffering -- Trauma, Realism, Narrative."
The impulse to document the ‘reality’ of traumatic
events like the Holocaust, South African apartheid, or
the AIDS crisis still persists, despite a growing body
of scholarship that re-defines the act of witnessing
in terms of a fundamental inability to bear witness.
Writers continue to draw upon realist literary
conventions in order to lend some shape to an
experience that cannot be fully understood or
represented through established artistic practices.
This panel invites papers that explore the aesthetic,
epistemological, and ethical questions surrounding the
lingering obsession to bridge the un-navigable gulf
between the everyday and the extreme. Topics might
include but are not limited to: the challenges posed
by trauma studies to various conceptions of realism or
the real (Auerbach, Jameson, Lacan); tensions between
and tendencies toward realism and anti-realism; the
preservation or ‘passing on’ of traumatic stories; the
narrativization and fragmentation of atrocity stories;
the uses and abuses of the archive; the persistence or
punishment of objects and bodies; or the recreation of
events from significant generational, geographic, or
Please send abstracts of 300 words
by April 15 to Drago Momcilovic, Dept. of English,
University of Wisconsin (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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