CFP: Race Theory and Literature

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    Adam Toth
    Proposed Seminar for the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Comparative
    Literature Association (ACLA) in Utrecht, The Netherlands (July 6-9, 2017)
    Pauline Moret-Jankus, Friedrich-Schiller Universitaet, Jena
    Adam J. Toth, The Pennsylvania State University
    Race Theory and Literature Emerging out of the practices of colonialism,
    imperialism, and slavery/slave trade, race theory has seen renewed and
    reinvigorated interest in the last sixteen years. Recent scholarship has
    started to examine the relationship between these varying theories on race from
    philosophical, philological, theological, historical, biological, and other
    disciplines and literature (particularly prose fiction) from as early as the
    16th century, but flourishing prominently in the Enlightenment and later 19th
    century at first in European university and later in U.S. universities,
    developing concurrently and after these theories were developed and circulated
    in multiple discourses.
    This seminar proposes to look at the relationship between literature and the
    theorization of race in academic disciplines, primarily in the 18th and 19th
    centuries but also extending into the 20th century. Questions we wish to
    explore include, but are not necessarily limited to the following:
    - How and why do prominent and marginal authors adopt, reject, criticize,
    and/or apply theories of race to ethnic others within their works?
    - Is there a theory or are there theories of race within works of literature or
    in larger literary traditions and movements?
    - Theorists this seminar would like to examine include, but are not limited to,
    Buffon, Bernier, Voltaire, Meiners, Kant, Herder, Blumenbach, Hegel, Herder, de
    Gobineau, Darwin, Galton, Boas, Locke, Montagu, Du Bois, Appiah, Senghor,
    Alcoff, Hanchard, Ferreira de Silva, Omi and Winant. We will also consider
    theories of race from literary authors such as Céline and Tagore, for instance.
    This seminar seeks research comparing race theories alongside literary works
    from all over the world, as well as literary works that respond either directly
    or indirectly to race theories. We also welcome comparisons between race theory
    and visual culture, music, and other forms of artistic media.
    Please submit a 300-word abstract for a 20-minute presentation on the ACLA
    website ( during the submission
    period (September 1 - September 23, 2016).
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