This three-day conference will bring together scholars specializing in American literature and culture to explore the problem of American ‘wild zones’ from their respective fields of study. The concept of the wild zone – originally introduced into literary studies by Elaine Showalter – can be used to demonstrate the position of the 'muted' groups/categories in relation to the language of the dominant majority, the language sanctioning itself as universal. We propose to identify/rethink a variety of American wild zones by paying attention to what areas of experience were excluded from the dominant culture, and how and why they were constituted. The existence of the marginalized and the repressed demonstrates that political, or better still ideological, criteria still determine who and what is recognized/approved of in culture. We welcome papers aiming to re-consider what may be referred to as ‘wild zone’ communities or groups that were or – perhaps – still are, to a lesser or greater degree, excluded from ‘mainstream’ cultural memory (literature, television, film, video and computer games). The range of critical approaches to the conference’s main issue includes, but is not limited to, the following: Ecocriticism, Feminist Criticism, Gender and Queer Studies, Marxist Studies, New Historicism, Postcolonial Criticism, Psychoanalytic Criticism, Semiotics. We invite papers exploring a variety of American wild zones, and confronting problems and questions such as:
• mechanisms of establishing order(s) and hierarchies in American culture (a historical perspective); cultural ‘value’ and ‘hierarchy’ in historically specific situations; cultural canon(s) as cultural hegemony; marginalized ethnic minorities and their cultural ‘idiom’; sexual agendas and their cultural (mis)representations;
• the rebellious vs. the conservative; partisan political literature and film, now and in the past; the spirit of Civil Disobedience in contemporary America; ethical transgressions in American culture; debunking the myth of political correctness;
• travelling to, invading, colonizing and appropriating ‘wild zones’; poaching on the territory of the Other; experiences of war against Them;
• symbolic power in American pop culture; outside the American ‘habitus’ – the rejection of acquired schemata, sensibilities, dispositions and tastes; subverting dominant standards of beauty and elegance; ‘Bartleby reactivated’ – anti-consumerism in contemporary America; semiotics of cultural niches;
• ‘wild zones’ lost and regained – memories of and nostalgia for ‘wild zones’; American ‘wild zones’ at present.
Malin Pereira, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA
Marek Wilczyński, University of Gdańsk, Poland
Tomasz Basiuk, The University of Warsaw
Białowieski Park Narodowy, Park Pałacowy 11, 17-230 Białowieża
Conference Fee 350 PLN
The fee includes all conference proceedings and meals (without breakfast). Accommodation is not included in the conference fee and must be arranged separately.
Abstracts (200 words) should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by 31 July 2014. Notification of acceptance will be sent by 15 August 2014.
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