[Msa-discuss] CFP: World Novels and 21st-Century Media at ACLA 2016

Jap-Nanak Makkar jkm5ar at virginia.edu
Mon Sep 7 15:55:26 EDT 2015

Please considering proposing a paper to an ACLA seminar on literature and
digital media. See CFP below.


*Seminar: “World Novels and 21st-Century Media”*


2016 Annual meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association

Harvard University

March 17-20, 2016

*Abstracts due September 23, 12am PST*; submit through the ACLA online
portal at http://www.acla.org/node/add/paper.

Organizers: Annie Galvin, University of Virginia (ahg8cy at virginia.edu) and
Jap-Nanak Makkar, University of Virginia (jkm5ar at virginia.edu)

As Jessica Pressman and Sven Birkerts have noted, digital media
technologies challenge the cultural priority we give to book-bound texts.
To a reader of a novel, the book is just one reading format among others in
our twenty-first-century media landscape. At the same time, Kathleen
Fitzpatrick, John Johnston and Daniel Punday have considered the fate of
literary fiction in a cultural environment saturated by a variety of visual
media, including television, film, the internet, surveillance apparatuses
and video games. These latter scholars suggest that novels compete with
other media to remain a culturally significant conveyor of meaning and
narrative. Challenges have been issued to both the novel’s materiality and
its representational strategies in the contemporary media ecology.

But rather than accept their inevitable displacement or even expiration,
novels respond by incorporating, using or refusing new media. Certain texts
that exhibit an awareness of twenty-first-century media have done so while
intervening in global political conditions, mobilizing the form of the
novel while incorporating visual media as part of their narrative and
representational approaches. Texts by authors including Ruth Ozeki and
NoViolet Bulawayo, among many others, render our new media environments an
issue of world politics. Other authors, such as Jonathan Safran Foer and
Ali Smith, respond to our media-rich environment by exploring new
storytelling potential within the medium of the book, their stories often
hinging on the materiality of the object in the reader’s hands.

This seminar invites reflection on the capacity of novels to narrativize,
use, or otherwise represent the contemporary media ecology. We welcome
papers that address the following questions or pursue any related lines of

   - How do novels represent concerns of digitization, “informatization,”
   big data, and new media ecologies?
   - How does the materiality of the book—or the materiality of
   information—become a resource for invention and innovation in a digital age?
   - How do global novels contend with an expanding media environment, now
   constituted by old media forms (print, film, photography, radio) as well as
   newer media (Internet content such as blogs, email, video games, SMS)—an
   environment which is inherently global in nature?
   - Are new forms such as electronic literature, the hypertextual novel,
   and print/digital hybrids fundamentally superseding the form of the print
   novel, or is there more to be said about the respective places that all of
   these forms might hold in our culturally mediated future?
   - Might concepts such as “world literature” or “global literature”
   provide a strong conceptual foundation for considering literature’s
   relationship to digital media?
   - Given the novel’s capacity for generic cross-pollination, how can the
   form incorporate adjacent media in addressing global conditions such as
   poverty, war, migration, or inequality, which are by nature difficult to
   apprehend, represent, or visualize?
   - What theoretical approaches might prove useful in analyzing the i
   ncreasingly complex imbrications of verbal literature, visual media, and
   global politics?

Please submit abstracts through the ACLA online portal, which opens
September 1 and closes at 12am PST on September 23rd:
http://www.acla.org/node/add/paper. Submitters are advised, also, to
familiarize themselves with the unique structure of the ACLA conference by
visiting http://www.acla.org/annual-meeting. Please contact the seminar
organizers with questions or concerns.
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