Call for Papers

Call for Papers: Migrations

Third Annual Graduate Center for Literary Research Conference

May 27, 2016

University of California, Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, California

Grandville's "Ring of Saturn"

The Graduate Center for Literary Research (GCLR) at UC Santa Barbara will be hosting an interdisciplinary conference exploring the topics of translation, memory and exchange within the context of migration. 

Efraín Kristal, Chair of Comparative Literature and Professor of Spanish and French at UC Los Angeles, will deliver the keynote address on philosopher and cultural theorist Peter Sloterdijk’s engagement with narrative via his seminal notion of the sphere, and what Kristal calls his “engagement with our contemporary dwellings” (Sloterdijk Now 164). Sloterdijk’s approach, which celebrates the dialogic relationship between philosophy and literature, complements the GCLR’s platform of comparison and informs the conference’s aim of bringing together interdisciplinary perspectives and voices.

We are interested in how questions of cultural transfer and linguistic translation—using translation in an expansive sense of the term—inflect textual and media representations of migration. Sloterdijk’s expansive and open-ended work highlights the shift from the fiction of a unified sphere to a plurality of contemporary, cross-cultural spheres—spaces that Kristal analyzes in relation to their varying degrees of continuity and discontinuity. In light of increased migration in globalized situations, the complexity of these heterogeneous spheres “needs to be taken into account, in order to move beyond deconstructive gestures towards the past” (Sloterdijk Now 156) and to address dilemmas and challenges of our moment. We invite papers that analyze the translative practice of migrant writers, artists, filmmakers and intellectuals as they navigate the increasingly ephemeral and shifting spheres of co-existence in the age of globalization. How does translation serve to mediate space, belonging and intersubjectivity in literature, film and art? How can we expand the fields of translation and literary studies to encompass these urgent questions of movement and migration? Papers need not engage Sloterdijk to be considered. Suggested topics include but are not limited to: language, history and identity; exilic literatures and media; refugee writers, artists and intellectuals; conflicts of nationalism(s); literatures of witness and testimony; documentations of loss; intergenerational transmission and storytelling traditions; narrative and mourning; translation and the afterlives of texts; cultural translation and cultural memory; postmemory and countermemory; multilingualism and polyphony; humanism and posthumanism, translation and world literature; studies of diasporic narrative; decolonial literature, film and art as intervention; translation, preservation and survival.

We invite presentations of twenty minutes. Proposals are due via email by Sunday, February 21, 2016. Please submit an abstract of 200-300 words to GCLR Student Coordinator Katie Jan, katieljan@gmail.com, and please be sure to include your presentation title, academic affiliation and contact information. Participants will be notified of their acceptance in March.

Please address any questions regarding the conference to GCLR Student Coordinator Katie Jan, katieljan@gmail.com.