CFP: Comparative Caribbeans: Interdisciplinary Conference at Emory

Comparative Caribbeans: an Interdisciplinary Conference*
Emory University, Atlanta GA
November 3-5, 2011

This is why we stay with poetry. And despite our consenting to all the indisputable technologies; despite seeing the political leap that must be managed…, the full load of knowledge to be tamed…, at the bow there is still something we now share: this murmur, cloud or rain or peaceful smoke. …We cry our cry of poetry. Our boats are open, and we sail them for everyone.

– Édouard Glissant

Recent debates in Comparative Literary studies have brought the very idea and practice of comparison under scrutiny. What are the limits and possibilities of comparison in a time marked by an ongoing process of globalization? What is the status of “world literature” as a category of analysis? What are the epistemological, political, and ethical stakes in doing work across disciplinary, linguistic, and geo-political boundaries?

This conference seeks to contribute to this ongoing discussion by taking the Caribbean as its point of departure. As a region marked by linguistic, historical, and geographical differences and as a site of displaced origins and rhizomatic identifications, the Caribbean not only necessitates comparatist perspectives, but may also help us reconfigure how comparison is thought and practiced.

We invite work that cuts across linguistic and disciplinary boundaries, bringing Caribbean art, literature, and culture into challenging dialogues with other traditions in order to map new trajectories for further comparative engagement. We are particularly interested in highlighting work that does not subsume Caribbean cultural and literary production under the umbrella of “area studies,” but instead draws on Caribbean aesthetic and philosophical traditions in an effort to rethink some of the theoretical and methodological axioms that underlie contemporary comparative studies.

Keynote Speakers:

Professor Guillermina De Ferrari (Spanish and Portuguese, University of Wisconsin, Madison)

Professor Natalie Melas (Comparative Literature, Cornell University)

Professor Mara Negrón (Comparative Literature and Gender Studies, University of Puerto Rico)

Professor Rubén Ríos Ávila (Comparative Literature and Hispanic Studies, University of Puerto Rico)

Possible areas of inquiry:

  • The Caribbean and Post-Structuralism
  • Caribbean Perspectives on Theories of Trauma and Memory
  • Comparative Post-Colonialities
  • Plantation Traces: The Caribbean and the American South
  • Theories and Poetics of Relation, Creolization, and Hybridity
  • Comparative Approaches to Migratory Movements and the Caribbean Diaspora
  • Eco-Criticism and Planetary Archipelagos: Remapping Geographies
  • A Post-Revolutionary Caribbean? Liberation and Alternative Philosophies of History
  • Artistic and Performative Engagements with the Caribbean
  • Caribbean Vulnerabilities
  • Caribbean Queer Mappings
  • Piracy, the Law, and the State: Revisiting Sovereignty, Empire, and Capital

Please submit your abstracts of 300-500 words with a short bio to by August 15, 2011. We invite submissions from senior and junior faculty, graduate students, and independent scholars.

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* Organized by the Graduate Students of Emory’s Comparative Literature Department

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