[Msa-discuss] CFP: “The Ambassadorship of Literature” – a two-day symposium at New York University, 2-3 November 2012

Caroline Zoe Krzakowski czkrzakowski at gmail.com
Mon Aug 13 17:39:46 EDT 2012


*CFP: “The Ambassadorship of Literature” – a two-day symposium at New York
University, 2-3 November 2012*


*Organizers:*


Greg Londe: greg. londe at nyu.edu
Caroline Zoe Krzakowski: ck78 at nyu.edu


The figure of the diplomat has received relatively little consideration in
the study of transnational literature.  We are organizing a symposium on
diplomacy and literature that will bring together scholars and
practitioners to address the relationship between embodied statecraft and
the literary voice in realms of extraterritorial jurisdiction.  As agents
of mediation, alert to linguistic ambivalence, the ambassador and the
author alike fulfill a privileged role of joining and compromise, of
mediation and experimentation at the points where cultures and languages
meet.

 As Timothy Hampton writes in his path-breaking study of Renaissance
humanism and the invention of diplomatic rhetoric, *Fictions of
Embassy*(2009), “By considering the intersection of literature and
diplomacy we
locate the study of literary form in a dynamic context where the terms of
political culture are shaped through practices of interpretation and
linguistic exchange.  For diplomacy is the *symbolic* political act par
excellence…[entailing] the investment of language with multiplicities of
nuance, densities of sense, ‘a whole world.’”

We invite considerations of writer-diplomats such as Pablo Neruda and
George Seferis, of theorists of diplomacy from Montaigne to Isabelle
Stengers, and of fictions about ambassadors from Proust’s fastidious M. de
Norpois to the sci-fi Babel of China Miéville’s *Embassytown*.  We welcome
talks spanning across genres, from poetry to fiction to letters and
official documents.  While we seek the figure of the envoy across
historical periods, our primary focus will be on the development of modern
and contemporary ambassadorial practice and its languages.



We are pleased to feature a keynote address, “The Ambassadorship of
Poetry,” by Philip McDonagh, the current Irish ambassador to Russia and the
author of three books of poetry, *Carraroe in Saxony* (2003), *Memories of
an Ionian Diplomat* (2004) and *The Song the Oriole Sang* (2010).

Among the questions we hope to consider:


   -        How have writers negotiated their day-jobs as diplomats, or
   diplomats taken up the task of creative writing?
   - ·      What are aesthetic and formal implications of the public role
   of the envoy?
   - ·      How are the global aspirations of modernism recast when the
   state acts as cultural arbiter?
   - ·      What is the continuing role of state patronage in artistic
   production?
   - ·      What part have ambassadors played in the dissemination of
   artworks across national and geopolitical boundaries?
   - ·      What is the role of cultural diplomacy today in national and
   international relations?
   - ·      How have writers depicted the space of the embassy?
   - ·      Discipline, style, tact, discretion – what are the techniques
   of diplomatic conduct, in person or on the page?
   - ·      How have writers helped shape the diplomatic protocols in
   decolonizing and postcolonial states?

Please send a 200-300 word abstract and a 100-word biographical note by
September 15, 2012 to the conference organizers:

Greg Londe: greg. londe at nyu.edu
Caroline Zoe Krzakowski: ck78 at nyu.edu
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