The journals Comparative Literature: East and West; Comparative Literature Studies; Neohelicon; and Theoretical Studies in Literature and the Arts are sponsoring a conference on Cultural Migrations hosted by Sichuan University, to be held from 28 to 30 August in Chengdu, China.
Papers delivered at the conference will be considered for the special issues on this topic planned by each of the journals. Papers related to the Conference theme or a sub-theme described below have greater chance of acceptance.
Abstracts of 250 words plus brief biosketch and contact email are to be submitted to this website through the form visible on the right-hand side of this page by no later than 31 January. You should receive a confirmatory email within a few days of submitting. If you do not, please also email your materials as a single document to email@example.com.
A frequent comparative practice is to investigate the literary contacts between different cultures and to trace the routes of literary phenomena traveling through literary cultures. Scholars have applied various metaphors to deal with cases when cultural practices, cultural (sub)systems, and cultural phenomena go from one place to another: we are accustomed to hearing of cultural transfers, cultural translations, and cultural contacts. This conference explores yet another concept: cultural migration, which could highlight two aspects of the phenomena to be discussed. On the one hand, to import a cultural product, sometimes a whole context needs to be imported too. It is not enough to translate a drama to the language of a culture that does not have dramas yet. A theatre is also necessary (which means not only a building, but also actors, directors, costumes), an audience (which has some ideas about what is going on when a play is staged), and maybe critics too. It is not enough to write a piece of literature following a foreign generic pattern which has not been cultivated in the given culture: the new genre needs readers who are aware of the pattern. On the other hand, when real people migrate they may bring with them their culture. Cultural contacts are created by real people, usually a large population of them. It is equally interesting whether migrant groups try to keep their culture intact in an alien environment and if they manage to create hybrid cultures in the target location. Another possibility is that emigrant groups initiate changes in the home culture. Migratory birds travel to and fro, which may or may not have a cultural parallel: does migration create a cultural route between cultures? In what ways are environment and ecology involved in migrations? When and how does class and alterity come into play? In what ways are patriarchal values involved, and how do current theories about gender and sexuality help shed light on how heritage, memory, and change are involved with cultural migration? What empirical criteria can be used with these kinds of questions, and are there any specific methodologies useful to (perhaps unique to) responding to these kinds of questions? The conference will address these and other questions.
Submissions on the following topics are especially welcome:
- Case studies in migration of literary institutions, systems, contexts, genres.
- Studies in the cultural aspects, consequences, impacts of migration.
- Migration as a topic of cultural discourse.
- Cultures of migration
- Theoretical errands in a word cloud: migrant, exile, refugee, nomad
- Colonialism, cultural and physical terraforming, and the politics of power and imposition
- Anthropocene values, xenophobia/ecophobia, and posthumanism
- Terror and climate change narratives and their impact on narratives and practices of cultural migration