The theme of this year’s American Comparative Literature Association conference is “Global Positioning Systems.” We are seeking participants for our seminar on “The Margin’s of King Arthur’s World.” Camelot was at the heart of one of the most important medieval literary global positioning systems; that is, Arthurian literature created an ideal court at the center of its textual world and used it as a point of reference from which to position characters in relation to the court. The knights of the Round Table go on quests that take them on a circular journey from the core to the periphery and back again, having traversed the borders of real and imaginary lands and encountered known and unknown communities. Like King Arthur’s knights, the texts themselves emanated from a central area and spread throughout medieval Europe. Over the centuries the popularity of the legends continued to radiate outwards as witnessed by the vast array of post-medieval interpretations produced in societies around the world. While King Arthur and his court remain central to both the medieval and modern versions of the legend, we believe that there are benefits to redirecting our gaze from the center to the margins. In organizing this seminar, we hope to provide a forum for scholars from any literary discipline to present their work on all aspects of the Arthurian margins, including real and imagined geography; borderlands between the secular, the sacred and the supernatural; displaced, non-human and marginal figures; lesser-known texts; manuscript marginalia and illustrations; modern adaptations; and marginal media such as graphic novels, videogames, television adaptations, etc. Our goal is to promote interdisciplinary scholarly dialogue and contribute to the exploration of the pan-European Arthurian tradition.
The ACLA conference will take place in Toronto, Canada on April 4-7, 2013. Abstracts of 250-300 words are due by November 1, and should be submitted on the ACLA website (http://www.acla.org/acla2013/). Abstracts will be reviewed and the the ACLA seminar panel will be finalized by November 15, 2012.
We are also planning an edited collection on the same theme, tentatively entitled _On the Margins of King Arthur’s World_. Although the ACLA seminar is open to works from all time periods, the volume will focus solely on medieval texts. If you are interested in contributing to this collection, please submit a 1-2 page abstract with a preliminary bibliography to both editors (Dr. Tara Foster and Dr. Jon Sherman; firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com) by November 1, 2012. We will respond to all submissions by December 1, 2012. Essays should be 7,000-10,000 words in length (including references) and the first draft is due May 15, 2013.
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