Scholars ranging from Rey Chow, Miyoshi, and Harootunian have pointed out how area studies’ emergence as collaborator with the U.S. state continues older European colonial structures that narrate non-Western nations in developmental terms. In the most ambitious revision of area studies, Miyoshi and Harootunian argue that the consequence of area studies as the tool of Cold War management means that Euro-America remains the center of theory-production whereas the non-West are rendered as “pure facticity.” In The Creolization of Theory, Francoise Lionnet and Shu-mei Shih more directly argue that the recent pronouncement of the death of Theory corresponds to Theory’s continual resistance to consider the rise of ethnic studies and various strands of anti-colonial studies as “real theory.” This leads to “a highly effective division of labor: the theorists do theory, while the area studies ‘experts’ do area.” Panelists are invited to theorize the possibility of thinking area studies in conversation with queer theory in an attempt to unsettle these disciplinary divides. Other topics on specific literary and cultural productions of alternative gender and sexuality are also welcomed.
Topics of interest may include, but are not limited to:
•How queer theory can de-center area studies’ insistence on national and linguistic coherence
•Take up Peter Jackson’s recent term “multiple queer modernities” by locating the rise of national cultural markets that emerged historically in parallel to Western capitalism
•Explore queer regionalism (Gayatri Gopinath) or methodology of "queering Asia" (Ara Wilson) that may bypass the national and the diasporic altogether
•Theorize a “new area studies” (Jing Tsu’s term) or a new queer critique that may emerge in the aftermath of thinking these two fields together
While this panel will take place in a scholarly meeting in the discipline of Comparative Literature, it is my hope that scholars from other disciplines like American Studies, cultural studies, anthropology (just to name a few) or anti-disciplines who are interested in these topics can contribute to our discussion.
Instructions for submitting your abstract: Please log on directly to the ACLA submission portal for individual papers at (http://www.acla.org/submit/index.php). Please note the 5PM CST deadline on November 15, 2011. Select "Queering Area Studies" as your interested seminar when you submit the abstract. You need not be a registered member at the time of submission. Feel free to direct any inquiry about the conference and my seminar panel to Alvin Wong (email@example.com).
Panel format: ACLA conference has a unique seminar format where each panel has 8-12 participants that meet over 2-3 days for 2 hours everyday, with roughly 4 people presenting each day.
Department of Literature
University of California, San Diego
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