Call for Submissions: “Reading, Teaching, and Theorizing Caribbean Texts”


Many thanks to Peter Jordens for sharing this call for submissions by Jeanne Jégousso (Center for French and Francophone Studies, Louisiana State University) and Emily O’Dell (Comparative Literature, Louisiana State University) for an edited volume: Reading, Teaching, and Theorizing Caribbean Texts. The deadline for submissions is June 1, 2018.

Description and Guidelines: The objective of this essay collection is to discuss alternative approaches to teaching, theorizing, and reading Caribbean texts from transnational and multilingual perspectives. In Une nouvelle région du monde (2006: 63), the Martiniquan essayist and poet Édouard Glissant explains that “The harmony of similars is neutral and infertile, but the meeting of differences, and which is not the harmony of opposites, accomplishes in and by a mutual overtaking that is the basis for the unexpected whole-world.” [1] Our goal is to query what new systems and criteria can be implemented to rethink and remodel our theoretical and pedagogical corpus and alter the lenses through which we study Caribbean texts.

Pedagogically, literature from the Caribbean, with few exceptions, has been neglected in the majority of classrooms around the world. What are some of the struggles that prevent Caribbean literature from being absorbed into the majority of mainstream academic (graduate and undergraduate) course offerings? Why doesn’t it have the same status as African or Asian literatures? Are there ways of surmounting these obstacles to create transnational perspectives of Caribbean literature? Or, are historical, geographical, and linguistic boundaries perpetually present?

In terms of theoretical approach, how can we go beyond the existing theoretical canon of postcolonial Caribbean literature? What can we do to distance ourselves from established theories or repurpose them to create new theoretical concepts? Are there ways to incorporate the study of new spaces in a way that would revitalize the study of the Caribbean? Is it possible to go beyond individual disciplines and specialties to create global theories without erasing the specificity of the primary texts?

Finally, when we read Caribbean literature, have we limited ourselves to the point that it is dominated by repetitive symbols and themes? Has the origin of literary texts dictated the amount of academic study they have received? Has there been a shift in how Caribbean literature is approached and analyzed? Has the importance of style altered how we interpret the themes in the literature? Have these two components (theme and style) been treated as equally important?

Those interested in participating in this project should send a 350-500 word abstract in French or English and a curriculum vitae to Jeanne Jégousso at (Center for French and Francophone Studies, Louisiana State University) and Emily O’Dell at (Comparative Literature, Louisiana State University). Deadline for receipt of abstracts is June 1, 2018.

[1] Our translation of: “l’harmonie des semblables est neutre et inféconde, mais la rencontre des différences, et qui n’est pas l’harmonie des contraires, s’accomplit dans et par un dépassement mutuel qui fonde l’inattendu du tout-Monde.”


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