ACLA 2020 Proposed Seminar: Memory and Materiality in Postcolonial and Postsocialist Literatures

Diviani Chaudhuri's picture
September 23, 2019
United States
Subject Fields: 
Literature, Oral History, Urban History / Studies, Middle East History / Studies, Architecture and Architectural History

Following is the CFP for a proposed seminar at the American Comparative Literature Association annual meeting to be held at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Chicago, March 19th-22nd, 2020:

From heirlooms and objects of daily use to monuments and private residence, materiality prompts and shapes memoryscapes. Material culture and the built environment are mobilised to reappropriate and reconfigure the past. The proliferation of digital platforms of curation have engendered new ways of remembering and commodified commemorating which do not involve institutions but are rather initiated and managed by private actors. This seminar invites papers that discuss the interplay between discourse, material culture, bodies, and the environment in literary cultures of the postcolonial and postsocialist world, where imperial debris (Stoler, 2013) persists and is activated in different ways. In light of the material turn in the humanities and social sciences, as well as the emergence of memory studies as a compelling field of research, papers in this seminar will examine how forms of representation include or exclude the material world, how objects and the built environment prompt and shape processes of remembering and forgetting, how these processes percolate into literature, and how comparative literary studies might generate new insights and frameworks that help understand how postcolonial and postsocialist societies (re-)create usable pasts. Possible topics may include but are certainly not limited to:

Commemorative practices and literary cultures

Conflict and contested heritage

Monumentality and the everyday

Landscape and memory

Kitsch and nostalgia

Digital media, literature, and objects of memory

Comparative imperial nostalgias

Urban culture, materiality and the literary

Forgetting, overwriting, rebuilding

Interpreting objects and sites of trauma

Deadline for submissions is September 23, 2019. Please use the ACLA portal to submit proposals. The portal will be open for submissions post August 31. Please check here:

ACLA seminars usually consist of 8-12 participants who meet over the course of 2-3 days. ACLA does not allow more than two participants from the same institution in the same seminar.