Deadline Extended: West Indian Literature Conference 2013

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Dr. Ian Bethell Bennett reminds us that there is still a call for papers out for the 2013 West Indian Literature Conference 2013—“Multiple Textualities: Imagining the Caribbean Nation”—and that the deadline has been extended to June 30, 2013! The conference will be held at The College of The Bahamas, October 11-13, 2013.

Description: Charles V. Carnegie in his multimodal text, Postcolonialism Prefigured: Caribbean Borderlands, argues that “nationalism both presumes and demands a fundamental sameness, whether through a common pledge of loyalty to a set of civic principles or through supposedly shared primordial characteristics such as language or ethnicity.” His text urges Caribbeanists to question the inflexibility of nationalist dialogues that construct West Indian identities. This and other recent critiques of nationalist discourse draw attention to the limitations of nationalism in conceiving and constructing individual and communal West Indian experiences.

Further, “this presumption of homogeneity”, Carnegie asserts, “sets up both external and internal oppositions,” and these oppositions undergird the conventional nationalist discourse coming out of the region.  New approaches to Caribbean literary analysis, such as that seen in Shalini Puri’s The Caribbean Postcolonial: Social Equality, Post-nationalism, and Cultural Hybridity, complicate this focus on homogeneity and apply the frameworks of hybridity and difference to produce post-nationalist interpretations of Caribbean literature.

It would seem, then, that there is something we’re missing in our articulations of the Caribbean experience when we interpret West Indian literature from the traditional perspective of nationalist politics and aesthetics. This conference welcomes critical practice and critical reflection on new interpretive models for West Indian literature, art, and critical discourse that stretch the boundaries of nationalist discourse. We especially invite examinations of multiple and multimodal texts that also stretch the boundaries of genre and disciplinary studies.

Some questions to consider include are: What is the relationship between Caribbean independence, nationalism and imagination? In what ways does the history of independence inform our critical approaches to West Indian art and aesthetics? How was and how is nationalism constructed in Caribbean literatures? How are nationalisms being challenged in West Indian art? In what ways can nationalist discourse be sustained as an integral aspect of the Caribbean literary aesthetic? How does multimodality impact representations of West Indian identity? How do artists utilize multiple modalities to construct the complexity of the West Indian experience?

Please submit 50-100 word abstracts to westindianlitconf2013@gmail.com by June 30, 2013.

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