Past Conferences

2016: Migrations

Our third annual graduate conference seeks to explore the topics of translation, memory and exchange within the context of migration.

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. 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. 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 demands our attention as scholars, in order to address dilemmas and challenges of our moment.

Papers 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?


2015: Cut 'n' Mixed

The term “Cut ‘n’ Mixed” summons the image of a sound engineer mixing at an editing desk, or a DJ juggling samples together at a turntable or even the creative insurgent who scavenges the resources of culture to produce new forms that challenge and resist. “Cut ‘n’ Mixed” displaces conceptions of cultural production that affirm originality and authenticity, valorizing instead the remix, sampling, multiple versionings and other forms of rewriting. The broader theoretical implications of an aesthetics of turntablism, with its rhizomatic roots in the Jamaican sound system and U.S. urban culture, demand engagement. Issues of cultural hybridity, intellectual property, culture jamming, the politics of reappropriating found objects and the aesthetic and social implications of electronic dance music and hip hop all converge in the coordinates of “Cut ‘n’ Mixed.” “Cut ‘n’ Mixed” successfully made connections between this paradigm and literary research; the conference remained interested in the ways cuts, breaks, mixes and improvisation can be incorporated in performances. Both traditional academic presentations and presentations that had a performative component were included.

Our plenary speaker was Sohail Daulatzai, UC Irvine associate professor in Film and Media Studies and African American Studies and author of Black Star, Crescent Moon: The Muslim International and Black Freedom Beyond America (2012) which maps the rich, shared history between Black Muslims, Black radicals, and the Muslim Third World, showing how Black artists and activists imagined themselves not as national minorities but as part of a global majority, connected to larger communities of resistance.

2013: Disclosures

The first annual GCLR conference centered upon the theme "Disclosure." While disclosure is often defined in terms of divulging information and sharing secrets, it also evokes hidden, withheld, or disavowed knowledge(s). Disclosure can serve as a destabilizing act or influence in a range of contexts, from sharing “forbidden” information on the internet (à la Wikileaks) to confiding difficult truths to a caregiver. As disclosures erupt into existing discourses, narratives, and epistemological landscapes, alternative topographies emerge: ideas about what can be known, what may be hidden, and what must be shared become mutable. Disclosure therefore suggests transformation; it prompts a (re)evaluation of the multiple contexts and positionalities that give shape to the ways we understand our worlds.