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Calls for papers

CFP: Love, Sex, Desire & the (Post)Colonial

Senate House, University of London
28 – 29 October 2011

For the most part, postcolonial studies, quite understandably, has privileged the political. Historical and economic processes, forms of identification (race and, to lesser extent, gender) and categories of difference have been refracted through this particular lens. The affective, however, has received scant critical attention. Love, sex and desire are usually allegorized, often standing in as sites of political conflict. This mode of analysis was initiated by the critic who has most carefully attended to the dynamics of desire within colonial contact zones, Frantz Fanon. By contesting the universality of the psychoanalytic paradigm, his analysis of forms of colonial alienation is invariably circumscribed by the political. Alienation, desire, neuroses and psychosis are nothing other than indices of socio-political processes. Many postcolonial critics have followed his lead (e.g. Anne McClintock, Homi Bhabha, Robert Young, etc.).

However, there is an alternative tradition, such as represented in queer and feminist studies as well as recent work on ‘affective communities’ and performativity. Notably, Chicana, Asian, and Black feminists, queer theorists, and creative writers, such as Gloria Anzaldúa, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Hanif Kureishi, Mahesh Dattani, Audre Lorde, Reinaldo Arenas and Thomas Glave, have called attention to the power of the erotic, queer desire, and love. Specifically, these postcolonial authors and critics engage with forms of the affective that incorporate, exceed, threaten or destabilize the political. Special issues of WSQ on “The Global and the Intimate” (2006) and GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies on “Thinking Sexuality Transnationally” (1999) transgress a narrowly political perspective. Queer Diasporas (2000) explores the mobility of sexuality. Leela Gandhi’s Affective Communities (2006), Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity (2002), and Sara Ahmed’s work on affect explore new directions for love, sexuality and desire. This conference builds on such approaches and goes beyond the dominant analytical approach in postcolonial studies, which continues to place emphasis on love, sex and desire as a subset of the political.

The affective brings into play questions of sexuality and desire. Given the brutality, legal and extra-legal, directed against homosexuals in the postcolonial world, the issue of homosexuality needs urgent attention. Within postcolonial nationalist discourses, the figure of the homosexual, male or female, is often degraded and aligned with Western perversion in such a way as to secure the moral authority of the postcolonial state. At the same time, the queer often embodies alternatives to hegemonic and/or oppressive articulations of imagined communities and subjectivity. We are interested in papers which offer interventions to prevailing social and political discourses. These may include explorations of non-heteronormative forms of sexual expression within colonial and postcolonial contexts, discourses of desire, debates around the intersections between nationalist and rights-based discourses, the trope of the homosexual within literary texts, queer perspectives, reflections on alternative forms of citizenship, the dissident tradition, etc.

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, ideological and religious polarization has been disturbingly charged with explicit overtones of sexuality and desire. The troubling photographs of Abu Ghraib, the purported sexual and social oppression of Muslim women and girls, the projection of sexual desire onto political extremism, all testify to an older orientalism, which has been reconfigured, once again, to justify the West’s hegemonic ambitions.

In this fraught polarized world, various theories (by Jacques Derrida, Anthony Appiah, Pheng Cheah, etc.) around the filiative, ethical responsibility to others the post-postmodern turn to reconstructed universals (such as love and beauty), and cosmopolitan commitment are particularly resonant. Love, friendship and ethics have become renewed sites of an engagement with the other. Ethics, in recent postcolonial studies, has come to represent a means of going beyond the political, for better or for worse. In the putative absence of alternative political visions, philosophy, it seems, trumps politics.

This interdisciplinary conference is the first of its kind to bring together into productive confrontation issues of love, sex, desire and the postcolonial. It aims to promote collaborative work between academics, activists, and the non-profit community. We invite panel proposals or single presentations from a range of disciplines (including but not restricted to anthropology, legal theory, history, sociology, geography, literary studies, cultural studies, media studies, drama, political science, development studies) on any topic pertaining to the above concerns. We particularly welcome participants from Africa, the Caribbean and Asia.

This conference is co-hosted by Royal Holloway, University of London and the Brunel Centre for Contemporary Writing at Brunel University as well as the Brunel Interdisciplinary Network on Gender and Sexuality, West London.

Please send single abstracts of 250-300 words or panel proposals of no more than 1000 words as well as brief biographies to the convenors, Mark Mathuray, Lucienne Loh, and Wendy Knepper by May 1st, 2011. The time-limit for each paper is approx. 20 minutes.

Please email your proposals to Denise Odell at We hope to respond by June 1st 2011. For more details, visit the Institute of English Studies, University of London at

CFP: proposed Association for Asian Studies meeting panel -- Creolization and creole groups in (post-)colonial Asia and the Asian diaspora, Honolulu, (March/April 2011)

AAS-Meeting in Honolulu/Hawaii, March/April 2011:

Looking for participants in a panel on:

"Creolization and creole populations in (postcolonial) Asia and the Asian diaspora"

Creolization and creole populations have rarely been studied systematically and comparatively beyond the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean. However, processes of creolization have occurred around the world, particularly in colonial societies, not least in Asia and in the Asian diaspora in colonial societies elsewhere. Creole groups emerged, which, due to their heterogeneous background, were often situated in-between indigenous and exogenous populations and functioned as mediators between them. In many cases creole groups and culture have also played an important role in the creation of transethnic identity and in postcolonial nation-building. As a result of these particular social dynamics in specific historical and social contexts, creoleness -- whether it is (still) labelled as such or not--often continues to serve as an identitarian frame of reference particularly in such postcolonial societies which need to accommodate for their populations diversity with regard to origin, culture and language, and, at the same time, to foster and substantiate a sense of mutual belonging which cuts across such differences. Since diversity is conceptualized as a constituent, rather than an opposite, of creole identities, forms and practices, creoleness seems to correspond to postcolonial realities and experiences more adequately than Western concepts of modernity. On the other hand, creole groups and creole culture are also experienced ambivalently since they often emerged in colonial contexts and are therefore associated with colonial patterns which postcolonial societies strive to overcome. In this panel we would like to learn about creolization and creole groups in Asia and in the Asian diaspora.

If you are interested in participating, please send an email to: (Jacqueline Knoerr, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale, Germany).

PD Dr. Jacqueline Knoerr
Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology
Advokatenweg 36, D-06114 Halle/Saale (Germany)
phone: +49(0)345-2927 128
fax: +49(0)345-2927 502

CFP: The Worlds of V.S. Naipaul Panel at the NEMLA Convention (April 7-10, 2011), New Brunswick, New Jersey

Location: New Jersey, United States
Conference Deadline: 2010-09-30
Date Submitted: 2010-05-27
Announcement ID: 176501

Call for Papers-The Worlds of V.S. Naipaul Panel at the Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) Convention, April 7-10, 2011, New Brunswick, NJ Hyatt New Brunswick

This panel seeks papers on V.S. Naipauls travel writing and/or criticism that extends the examination of Naipauls literary relationship to writers Charles Kingsley, James Anthony Froude, Anthony Trollope, and Joseph Conrad. Panelists might explore Naipaul and the imperial gaze; new perspectives on his views of colonialism and post-colonialism, migration, diaspora, slavery, and exile. Please send a 1-2 page abstract and a brief biographical statement to Dorsa Smith Silva at with NEMLA in the subject line by September 30, 2010. Please include your A/V requirements (if any; $10 handling fee with registration).

Dorsa Smith Silva
University of Puerto Rico, Ro Piedras 
Visit the website at


CFP: Popular Culture in the Caribbean and the Caribbean in Popular Culture

The 2011 Annual Conference of the Caribbean Chapter of the College English Association will be held on April 15 and 16 2011 at the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras in San Juan.

The Caribbean Chapter of the College English Association, an organization uniquely situated in a space that synthesizes the Caribbean islands and their varied cultures with North and Latin American, European, African, and indigenous cultural traditions, welcomes proposals for its 2011 conference. For the 2011 interdisciplinary conference, the Caribbean Chapter of the College English Association invites teacher-scholars to submit proposals that investigate the role that popular culture has played and continues to play in the construction of the Caribbean at distinct cultural, historical, and intellectual moments and papers that analyze representations of the Caribbean found in popular culture in specific cultural, historical, and intellectual contexts.

Proposals are welcome on, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Caribbean Studies;
  • Colonial and Postcolonial Studies;
  • Film Studies;
  • Creoles, Pidgins, and Languages that Build upon Different Linguistic Heritages;
  • Television Studies;
  • Music Studies;
  • Travel Narratives;
  • Children’s and Adolescent Literatures;
  • Bilingual and/or Bicultural Texts;
  • New Media Studies;
  • Sports Studies;
  • Food Studies;
  • Visual Culture;
  • Cultural Geography Studies;
  • Advertising and Media Studies;
  • Autobiography Studies;
  • Oral Histories and Traditions;
  • Transnational, Transatlantic, and Transpacific Studies;
  • Interdisciplinary and Multimodal Texts such as Graphic Novels and Blogs; and Literary Studies

Please submit 250 word abstracts outlining your 15 minute proposed presentation by November 30, 2010 to Ricia Chansky and Eric Lamore, the Conference Coordinators, at For more information on the conference and the organization, please visit the CEA-CC’s Blog (

NB: If you are submitting a panel proposal, please submit one abstract that includes all presenters’ names and contact information. This single proposal may be up to 750 words depending on the number of presenters on the proposed panel.

All accepted presenters are required to become members of the Caribbean Chapter of the College English Association. Conference registration is included in the membership fee.

Please disseminate this Call for Papers to other interested parties.

The Annual Conference of the Caribbean Chapter of the College English Association is generously supported by the University of Puerto Rico and its individual campuses.