Theory, Practice, Engagement [deadline 11/1/2010] ACLA 2011, Vancouver, 3/31-4/3/2011 | cfp.english.upenn.edu
by Jessica C. Murphy
This approved panel for the American Comparative Literature Association’s annual meeting Vancouver, Canada, 31 March – 3 April 2010 seeks papers that address aspects of the long debate over literary and intellectual engagement. Which types of texts are best suited to such a mission, and how does a text’s activist agenda affect its form? How might realist or naturalist texts, whose aim is to “unveil [dévoiler]” in Jean-Paul Sartre’s words for their readers the practical injustices around them, really make these readers feel responsible for ending those injustices? How do avant-garde texts accomplish what Theodor Adorno terms an altering of our “fundamental attitudes [Haltung]” or what Caroline Levine calls a needed provocation of democracy? Are there texts or theorists who occupy a middle ground between the allegedly opposed realism and avant-garde, or between practice and theory, and what form might such a middle ground adopt? What is the state of the direct political engagement of intellectuals, or the role of the “activist theorists” to whom Gayatri Spivak refers? Submissions on any genre non-fiction, fiction, poetry, drama, film, visual arts, performance arts, etc. are welcome.