CFP: Global Capitals (Northeast Modern Language Association) March 21-24 2019

Amanda Lagji's picture
Call for Papers
September 30, 2018
District Of Columbia, United States
Subject Fields: 
Literature, Urban History / Studies, African History / Studies, Humanities, Immigration & Migration History / Studies

Call for papers for an accepted panel at the 2019 Northeast Modern Language Association conference in Washington, D.C., March 21-24, 2019. 
Deadline for Submission: September 30, 2018.

This panel will explore whether global city fiction is a viable category for global Anglophone fiction, and if so, whether the genre can facilitate revisions of dominant concepts in postcolonial or global studies. 

To celebrate NeMLA’s 50th year, this panel takes its cue from the convention’s location: Washington, D.C. “Global Capitals,” will be organized around the concept of global cities with “capitals” broadly defined—as seats of government, or centers of power, economics, or cultural exchange. Recent global Anglophone fiction, such as Teju Cole’s Open Cityand Imbolo Mbue’s Behold the Dreamers, map New York City’s cityscape through migrants who traverse their streets, laying their personal experiences alongside colonial and postcolonial histories. Phaswane Mpe’s Welcome to Our Hillbrow depicts not only the cityscape of Johannesburg, but also of post-apartheid South Africa more generally. The characters of Ghana Must Go, as well as its author, Taiye Selasi, affiliate primarily as “locals” of various global capitals rather than national citizens. For many global Anglophone authors, global capitals are thus dynamic fictional spaces to negotiate affiliation and belonging, colonial and postcolonial histories, globalization and localization, and the urban and rural.

This panel invites papers on topics that take up the new conceptual terrains produced by a focus on global cities and capitals. Papers may address any of the following questions: How might the genre of “global city fiction” intersect with established genres like crime or detective fiction, urban fiction, the pastoral, magic realism, the picaresque, and others? How might attention to the space of the city also invite reconfigurations of time, memory, and/or mobility? What narrative strategies and aesthetic characteristics do authors employ to represent sprawling global capitals? How do cityscapes challenge popular conceptual terms like the global, local, urban, national, transnational, cosmopolitan, or Afropolitan?

300 word abstract (for 15 minute paper presentations) should be submitted via the NeMLA website by September 30, 2018. Accepted panelists must be NeMLA members by December 1, 2018.

To submit an abstract, go to and follow the instructions there to create a user account. Once you have created an account, you can follow the prompts to submit your abstract directly to the Global Capitals panel.

Please include with your abstract: name and affiliation, email address, and A/V requirements.

Please contact NeMLA Support Staff regarding any questions you have about using the new submission system; please contact regarding any questions you have about this panel.

Contact Info: 

Amanda Lagji

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