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Call for Papers

St Anne’s College, Oxford, 10th-11th September 2014

Both comparative criticism and translation cross borders. Yet borders that have been crossed still exist. Even a border that has been dismantled is likely to reappear in a different place, or as a less obvious set of limiting practices: migrant texts and migrant ideas, like migrant people, may not achieve full citizenship in their new locations. Of course, there is a creative aspect to borders too, as postcolonial theory in particular has emphasized.  Borders are contact zones (Pratt), generators of hybridity (Bhabha), spaces of exchange, cross-fertilization, and enrichment. For all these reasons, borders require minding – thinking about, managing, even in a sense policing.

Rather than celebrating the crossing of borders, or dreaming of their abolition, our conference will trace their troubling and yet generative resilience. We will explore how borders define as well as exclude, protect as well as violate, and nurture some identities while negating others. We will think comparatively across geography, politics, cultural circulation, creativity, and the structuration of academic disciplines, hoping that the analysis of borders in one domain may illuminate their workings in another (and therefore reconfigure the borders between them). We welcome modes of presentation which question or disrupt the apparent borderlessness of anglophone academic discourse. Whatever other form a border takes it is always also a border in the mind.

We anticipate arranging and interweaving our discussions along the following lines:

Borders in places / in people / in language / in cultural production / in academia

Speakers confirmed so far include the geographer Davide Papotti (Parma), the philosopher Michael Wheeler (Stirling), the freelance writer and artist Caroline Bergvall (London & Geneva). and the writer and scholar of Mediterranean literature Adrian Grima (Malta).

Podcasts from the conference will appear on the OCCT website, and the gathered papers will be published as a book in Legenda’s new comparative series Transcript.

Please send a 200 word proposal and a short biography to comparative.criticism@st-annes.ox.ac.uk  by Monday 15th June. If you would like to contribute in some other way, for instance in a group presentation or planned discussion, please write to the same address by the same date.

The programme will be finalised by early July, and registration will open thereafter.

Please visit the OCCT website for updates: http://oxfordcomparativeliterature.com/conference

Organising committee: Nicola Gardini,  Adriana Jacobs, Rosie Lavan, Xiaofan Amy Li, Ben Morgan, Mohamed-Salah Omri, Matthew Reynolds, Céline Sabiron.