The American Comparative Literature Association's 2012 Annual Meeting will be held at Brown University from March 29 to April 1 2012.
At a time of generalized crisis, when the discourse of calamity, from economics to politics and the environment seems to have become the new master narrative of the 21st century, it is particularly relevant and timely to engage in a critical appraisal of the rhetoric of catastrophe and discuss its impact and effects. Moreover, it also useful to discuss the way literature contributes to shape social and cultural perceptions of a disastrous future. Although literature is singular and tends to stress the singularity of any given catastrophic event, the fact of the matter is that notwithstanding the factual contingency, the specific materiality of the medium of representation and its creative uniqueness, there are rhetorical figurations that travel across time and space and contest representational singularity. It needs to be argued that singularity does not simply pertain to what is unique and unrepeatable, it is not a property, but rather the result of an event (Attridge, 2004:64) that is culturally and socially produced. Yet, even though the representation of different catastrophes may partake of similar rhetorical tropes they are never identical and work their differences by means of an iteration without overlapping. Without denying either the uniqueness of the aesthetic or the situatedness of the event, the seminar on the critique of singularity wishes to challenge the narrative of exceptionality at the roots of national figurations of disaster and understand the role played by representation in the processing of catastrophe in modernity.
ACLA conference seminars seek 8 or 12 participants to meet together across 2 or 3 daily 2-hour sessions. Attendance of the full seminar is required of all presenters.
Please send an abstract up to 350 words and a brief bio note(no longer than 50 words)to the organizers Isabel Gil (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Daniela Agostinho (email@example.com) by November 15th.
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