REFLECTIONS: IDENTITY AFTER CRISIS
at the University of Texas at Austin
September 30th-October 1st, 2011
Keynote address by Tulane University's Idelber Avelar*
From our vantage point ten years later, it is obvious that September 11th, 2001, was more than a moment of collective tragedy -- it precipitated a fundamental shift in the ways the United States, and to an extent, the world, understood itself. In this sense, we join a host of societies throughout history that have sought to reflect, revive and rebuild in the wake of large-scale traumatic events. This conference will explore language and literature as tools in that rebuilding, considering the many ways that the notion of crisis has intersected with ideas of personal, national and global identity in the last decade and throughout history. We seek to consider whether literature helps to heal the wounds of trauma or encourages them to fester, whether it works to erect identity borders or whether it can also act as a bridge between identities, and what the role of scholars and educators is in shaping language and literature study in this context.
Proposals & Submission Information:
The conference encourages participants to critically consider the words “crisis”, “trauma”, and “response”, and to read papers that expand our understanding of those and related terms. We invite interdisciplinary and multilingual discussions that explore a wide range of crises and the equally diverse number of responses. Abstracts must be submitted before August 5, 2011. To submit your abstract, please visit our online submission site: http://goo.gl/am4Kw.
Possible topics include:
• The formation of personal, national, and global identity, who is included and excluded, and how identity is perceived by others.
• Responses to crises of national security such as September 11th, change of regime (in Egypt and elsewhere), terrorism, militarism, politically-motivated assassinations and “disappearances,” contested borders, access to natural resources or immigration.
• The interaction between language instruction and security interests.
Responses to environmental crises such as Hurricane Katrina, earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and Japan, tsunamis in Indonesia and elsewhere, pollution, global warming, or extinction.
• Actions taken to prevent potential crises such as Y2K, 2012, or extra-terrestrial invasion.
• Responses to violations of human rights such as slavery, apartheid, genocide, institutional sexism and/or racism, persecution of people of difference, criminal interrogations, or the consequences of despotism.
• Responses to medical crises such as body image, eating disorders, HIV/AIDS, the spread of infectious disease, malnutrition, or the access to medical resources.
• Responses to artistic crises such as censorship, the political persecution of artists, or creating art under an oppressive regime.
• Responses made by observers rather than obvious stakeholders (for example, how communities have reformed themselves in response to crises witnessed in other communities).
• The role of legal and diplomatic responses to crises, such as international crime courts, economic sanctions, or financial reparations.
• The construction of monuments, memorials and museums such as the World Trade Center Memorial currently under construction or the preser-vation of conservation camp sites.
• Depictions of crises, allegorical or otherwhise, in literature, art, music, film, television, architecture or other creative disciplines.
• Explorations of post-colonialism, eco-theory, trauma theory, queer theory, or other related literary and/or cultural theory.
For additional information about the conference, please email organizers Dustin Hixenbaugh & Roanne Sharpe at email@example.com or visit UT’s Program in Comparative Literature’s website: http://www.utexas.edu/cola/progs/complit/.
*Idelber Avelar is a Professor of Latin American Literatures & Intellectual Histories and Critical Theories & Cultural Studies at Tulane University. A graduate of Duke University, he is the author of The Untimely Present: Postdictatorial Latin Ame-rican Fiction and the Task of Mourning (1999), winner of the MLA Kovacs prize, as well as The Letter of Violence: Essays on Narrative, Ethics and Politics (2004), not to mention the more than 50 articles he has contributed to journals on both sides of the Atlantic on Latin American literature, culture and music. He is co-editor of Brazilian Popular Music and Citizenship (2011) and in 2010-2011 received a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies to pursue a new book project entitled “Rethinking Masculinity in Contemporary Brazilian and Argentinean Literatures.” The Unversity of Texas at Austin is very pleased to wel-come him as keynote speaker for the 2011 GRACLS conference.
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