CFP (deadline: Nov. 15, 2007)
Annual Meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA)
“Arrivals and Departures”
Long Beach, California
April 24-27, 2008
Seminar topic: "Exodus: 'Where We’re Goin’/Where We’re From'"
Seminar organizer: Eliza Slavet
As a grand narrative of radical transformation, the Biblical story of Exodus has been used to model, explain and produce political, theological and social change. Yet it has also been used to cement particular racial, religious and national identities and to establish a sense of continuity with the past. Particularly in the last three centuries, a number of literary authors, composers, film-makers and political leaders have turned to Exodus as a source of inspiration. Each version embraces particular events and characters of the Biblical narrative while it suppresses others. For example, while Michael Walzer focuses on the liberatory potential of the Exodus narrative, Edward Said emphasizes the ways in which it has been used to support colonial conquest, domination and oppression. And while Walzer and Said emphasize the secular political potential of Exodus, Jonathan Boyarin recalls the explicitly religious contexts in which it has been used.
This seminar will use Exodus as a point of departure to explore the tensions between spiritual redemption and earthly political action, between universalist liberation movements and particular ethnic-religious interventions, between utopian dreams of the future and visionary appropriations of particular pasts, and between departures and arrivals.
Topics may include but are not limited to the following: responses to Walzer, Said and Boyarin; interpretations of works by Sigmund Freud, Zora Neale Hurston, Ahad Ha’am, Martin Buber, Bob Marley, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Burning Spear, and Arnold Schoenberg; comparisons of Puritan, Zionist and Pan-Africanist or Jewish, Christian, and Muslim uses of the Exodus narrative.
Paper title: max. 20 words
Paper proposal: max. 250 words
Bio: max. 50 words
Submit information before Nov. 15, 2007
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