The frontier emerged as an important critical concept for an understanding of American history over a hundred years ago, and its status has changed from a celebrated catchphrase to explain away the perplexities of American identity, through an F-word not tolerated in the progressive circles, leading finally to a rehabilitated, more inclusive use. Its variations include terms such as periphery, edge, and borderland, and the very proliferation of the term suggests that its provocative character still inspires critics and artists in the Americas today. The purpose of this conference is to explore the borderlands between critical theory and other ways of interpretative thinking, such as art. The idea that poetry or photography can be and indeed are a form of critical praxis, has been suggested widely in contemporary literary, and especially ecocritical, studies. Treating the permutations of the meaning of the frontier as a point of departure, the conference organizers hope to attract an international gathering of scholars interested in surveying the borders between literary theory and other practices of critical consideration.
Contributors may consider the following questions:
- How have the historical conceptions of the frontier and the borderland changed over time, and with what implications?
- What are the philosophical implications of the use of the term?
- What are the ethical implications of the artistic choices of inhabiting the peripheries of a discipline, an art form, or a critical tradition?
- How do contemporary debates in posthumanism, ecocriticism, and feminism reshape our understanding of the frontiers?
Alternative approaches to the issues of frontiers are also encouraged, particularly those regarding the American imaginary.
Scholars who wish to present a paper are asked to submit an abstract of 300 words, including the title of the presentation and institutional affiliation to firstname.lastname@example.org. Presentations will be limited to 20 minutes. The language of the conference is English and Spanish. The conference fee for the prospective presenters is 100€. The deadline for sending proposals is May 16th. The prospective presenters will be notified of acceptance by May 31st. A selection of papers is expected to be published in an edited collection.