European Network of Comparative Literary Studies – Dublin, 24-28 August 2015

European Network of Comparative Literary Studies (REELC/ENCLS) 6th Biennial

 

Congress. Organised in collaboration with CLAI (Comparative Literature

Association of Ireland)

Themes: “Longing and Belonging”

Places: Dublin City University and National University of Ireland, Galway

Dates: 24-28 August 2015

 


The notion of belonging has often been examined from the perspective of location and of the

politics of relations to space and culture. Literary studies have helped map out and interrogate the

representations of topographical belonging, creating new possibilities for interpreting individual

and collective images. Politics of relations also explore the notion of becoming, as attached to

belonging, and the conditions out of which actions are produced, experience is built and beliefs

emerge. Artists and characters may adhere or resist systems pertaining to spatially, historically or

culturally defined groups, bringing political considerations to the fore, which can in turn entail

stylistic innovation involving transmutation or hybridization of classical approaches.

Adaptation and rewriting (prose, film, graphic novels) can be the vehicles of such action. While

providing new readings of iconic texts, they are intrinsic elements of a cultural heritage which

actualises traditional ideas and representations. This is particularly the case with the treatment of

fairy tales whose new versions have been developing, whether addressed to children or to adults,

in graphic novels, films, stage performances, etc. These transformations involve moving the

location of the original plot and characters to new contexts (realistic, utopian, dystopian or

digital, for example) thus challenging the social or cultural baggage transmitted by canonical

texts over time. They also apply to musical traditions in which the evocation of ancestral places

is of essential importance regarding ideological and aesthetic criteria. Adaptation and rewriting

can indeed operate through songs (operatic or popular), which skilfully describe places,

provoking strong feelings of nostalgia in their listeners, especially if the singers, lyrics or musical

instruments present a certain significance for the audience, resonating with memories and

emotions attached to specific spaces.

Identities are constructed and contested in a wide variety of contexts. Distinctions between

identities, whether cultural or gendered, relate to a sense of belonging to a powerful centre vs an

opposite periphery or minority. These distinctions can either strengthen or undermine the

perceptions of individuals and groups (their auto- and hetero-images). Hierarchical barriers can

also be constructed between affiliations and with regard to the value of certain forms of

knowledge. Authors and artists have often disrupted claims of cultural or national superiority

when grounded in political, racial or geographical specificity. Identities can be refined or

transformed across time and space by both global and local events. However, as different

literatures have revealed, after a sense of liberation from monolithic political systems, nostalgia

can occasionally set in, ideologies having shaped conceptions of self and community. Longing

for an idealised past can prove as painful as longing for a promised land, and artists may find

themselves in sublimated exilic states while seeking either a new home and new identity or a

way to come home to a former identity.

The notions of longing and belonging therefore lend themselves to a comparative exploration

through different disciplines, such as: Geocriticism, Diaspora Studies, Migration Studies,

Imagology, Myth- and Folklore criticism, (Post-) Colonial Studies; Sexuality Studies, Women’s

Studies, Gender Studies, Masculinity Studies; Ekphrasis, Adaptation Studies, Intermedial

Studies, Reception and Reader-response Theory, Children Literature; Literature and

Anthropology, Literature and Science, Literature and Psychology, Literature and Philosophy,

Ethics in/and Literature.

All subjects related to the main theme of the congress are welcome. For instance, avenues of

investigation may include the following:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

· What fields belong to Comparative Literature or does Comparative Literature belong

 

to?

· Belonging to and/or rejection of schools of thought: Comparative Literature as

 

independent practice

· Expressions and manifestations of longing and belonging, and of longing to belong

· Places of (be)longing (fantasy, dream, imagination, virtuality, heterotopia, homeland,

cradle, home, club.)

· Belonging to a nation, group (patriotism, ethnicity, religion, school, subscription,

 

allegiance.)

· Limits imposed or labels attached to individuals and groups

· Forced belonging (subjugation, arranged marriages, colonization, slavery.)

· Perceptions/images/stereotypes of a place, nation, group

· Belonging as catharsis

· Longing for the other/longing for the self

· Belonging to a gender or sexual identity / denegation of same

· Perceptions/stereotypes of gender or sexual identity

· Belonging to a specific art form/ subversion of same

· Text (be)longing to/for image and vice versa

· Denunciation of belonging to a group (religious, political.) or to a community

(including an interpretive community)

· Exile, immigration, emigration and longing

· Possible worlds, digital worlds, and virtual escapism

· Past allegiance (nostalgia, anthropology, mythology, rejection of tradition)

· Longing for inclusion/refusal to integrate

· Being unable to belong/no longer wanting to belong

· Dreaming of belonging/reality and belonging

· Reception as the expression of a desire or rejection.

We welcome proposals for individual papers and for thematic panels. Please send your 300-word

proposals and short biographies to Brigitte Le Juez: Brigitte.lejuez@dcu.ie and Hans-Walter

Schmidt-Hannisa: h.schmidthannisa@nuigalway.ie by October 1st, 2014.
 

Congress registration fees (these will cover coffee-breaks and lunches):

1) Participants presenting a paper

– Early-bird: ?85 (till February 14, 2015, thereafter ?120)

– Student, independent scholar and retired academic: ?75 (till February 14, 2015, thereafter ?100)

2) Participants not presenting a paper:

– By July 25, 2015: ?60 (thereafter ?75)

– Local university students: ?20 (possibility to receive an attendance certificate)

The languages of the congress will be English, French and Irish. However, poster sessions may

be organised in any European language.

The congress takes place on the East and West coasts of Ireland. Cultural visits and events

will be organised in and between Dublin and Galway.