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MLA 2020 CFP: \”Transmedia Engagement and the Performance of Place in SE Asia\”

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    Brian Bernards

    MLA 2020 (Jan 9-12, Seattle) CFP for Special Session sponsored by the CLCS Southeast Asian and Southeast Asian Diasporic Forum:

    \”Transmedia Engagement and the Performance of Place in Southeast Asia\”

    In Transmedia Television: Audiences, New Media, and Daily Life (2011: 1-2), Elizabeth Evans defines transmediality as “the increasingly popular industrial practice of using multiple media technologies to present information concerning a single fictional world through a range of textual forms,” including practices such as “franchising, merchandising, adaptations, spin-offs, sequels and marketing.”

    Added to the fact that transmediality has long been an essential feature of local cultural production throughout Southeast Asia—from literature and theatre to music, film, and the visual arts—are the intercultural, interfaith, and translingual encounters, aesthetics, and contexts from which such production has emerged. Episodes from the Hindu epic The Ramayana, for example, can be found in traditional practices of hsaing wang folk music ensemble from Myanmar, Phra Lak Phra Ram theatre performances from Laos, and wayang shadow puppet theatre from Java. Ramayana episodes have further been adapted, revised, localized, and updated for contemporary political critique in literature and cinema, such as in the Thai author Sri Dao Ruang’s collection of short fiction, A Drop of Glass (1983) and independent Indonesian filmmaker Garin Nugroho’s Opera Jawa (2006).

    The convergence of internet, digital video, and other participatory media has not hastened the disappearance of stage theatre and written literature but has merely expanded the field of cross-fertilization—in which different media forms become mutually imbricated and inter-referential—and has stretched the transnational basis for representing localities and subjectivities in Southeast Asia across a vast physical and virtual terrain. This special session seeks submissions attentive to transnational and transmedia storytelling in Southeast Asia, specifically in terms of how it transforms performances of “place” and locality and what the ramifications of such performances may be for a kind of multidirectional critique.Please send your 300-word abstracts and short bios to Brian Bernards (bernards@usc.edu) by March 15, 2019.

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