Historical and fictional figures alike, from Odysseus, to Neil Armstrong, to thousands of twentieth and twenty-first century refugees, have struggled with a persistent and defining question: where can one be in the world? Implied in this question are both the parallel, complementary question of where one cannot be, and the complex determinants behind habitation, belonging, exile, and other spatial states. The English Graduate Students’ Association at McGill University will consider these and other issues at its 16th Annual Conference, A Measure of Place: Space in Text and Context. “Space” is here understood in material, public, domestic, digital, and institutional terms. What are the politics of space in a climate of diaspora, mass-migration, and genocide? What are the relations and tensions between public and private space in a given text, or at a given historical moment? What does it mean to speak of virtual or digital space? How do we live and perform our subjectivities in space, and what are the ways in which those spaces are policed? How do these overlapping spatial considerations find articulation in cultural practices of artistic, religious, and intellectual expression?
While this conference emerges from the field of literary studies, our contention is that answering these questions demands an interrogation of the very intellectual paradigms from which they are asked; thus, we invite contributions dealing with space from a range of historical, political, theoretical, and disciplinary points of view.
Please send abstracts of 300 words or less, together with a short biographical statement of no more than 50 words, to email@example.com by 20 November 2009. You may propose a paper on a particular topic, which will then be grouped into a panel; alternately, contributors may coordinate to propose panels of two or three papers, so long as all relevant abstracts are submitted together, along with a brief description of the panel, by the 20 November deadline.
Topics to consider include:
-aesthetics of space: auditory, visual, tactile, and aromatic environments
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