Eastern Resonances 2: India and the Far East
Contrary to ‘the echo’ or ‘the trace’, which both imply an enduring, but fading prolongation of a presence, ‘resonance’ suggests not only a continuation, but a reinforcement of a sound or image, provoked by a reflection on another surface. Taking from Stephen Greenblatt’s definition of ‘resonance’ as ‘the power of the object displayed to reach out beyond its formal boundaries to a larger world, to evoke in the viewer the complex, dynamic cultural forces from which it has emerged’ (‘Resonance and Wonder’, in Learning to Curse, p. 170), this conference aims at studying the moves, shifts, transformations and translations through which the idea of the East resonated in Europe in general, and Britain in particular, from the early modern period to the romantic age.
Calling into question the adversarial nature of Orientalism as defined by Edward Said, our conference will address the deterritorializations and reterritorializations (to borrow the concepts developed by Deleuze and Guattari in Anti-Œdipus) through which the East reshaped itself in the West through its many reflections and reverberations. Our focus will not just be on what was lost and what was gained along the routes of such recuperations, but we also wish to chart in greater detail the routes themselves, the people who crossed them and the motivations underpinning these attempts at reaching, understanding and picturing the East.
The first of our series of two conferences on ‘Eastern Resonances’, to be held at the University of Montpellier 3 (30 May-1 June 2013), will focus on the Ottoman Empire and Persia. Details about this conference and its programme can be found on . We are now welcoming proposals for the second conference, on India and the Far East, to be held at the University of Paris Diderot – Paris 7 (5-7 Dec. 2013).
Suggested areas of reflection for this conference could include:
1) Texts and their circulation/translation: What were the Sanskrit, Chinese and other texts that resonated in the West in this period? Through what channels did manuscripts and books travel? Why and how did they reach Britain in adapted or translated forms?
2) Places and their memories: What did travellers look back to in historical and cultural terms as they embarked on their journeys to the East? What images did they bring back with them from their eastern encounters? How did these reverberate as literary and artistic artefacts at the receiving end of the journey?
3) Actors and intermediaries: Who went East or West, and why did they? Who were their interlocutors or mediators there? Why and how were ‘contact zones’ created? On what terms was trust granted and collaborative research carried on?
For ‘Eastern Resonances 2: India and the Far East’, short proposals in English (250 words) and a brief biographical statement are to be sent by October 31, 2012 to the conference organisers:
-Dr Claire Gallien, University of Montpellier 3 firstname.lastname@example.org
-Pr Jean-Marie Fournier, University of Paris 7 email@example.com
-Pr Ladan Niayesh, University of Paris 7 firstname.lastname@example.org
Papers should be 30 minutes in length and may be presented either in French or in English. We intend to publish a selected number of papers from the two conferences in a volume of essays on the topic of ‘Eastern Resonances’.
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