Friday, October 02, 2009

Imagined Communities Revisited

Dr. Faridah Manaaf sent me word of a literary conference that some of you may be interested in attending.

Imagined Communities Revisted : Identity, Nationalism and Globalisation in Asia-Pacific Literatures and Cultures
is organised by the Department of Languages and Literature at IIUM, and will be held 20-23 November at the Best Western Premier Seri Pacific Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.

This from the website :
There has been a vibrant body of literary and cultural texts emerging in the Asia-Pacific region, both in English and the indigenous languages, since the historical event of the Second World War which eventually reshaped and remapped much of the world. This corpus remains largely unexplored in a systematic fashion that seeks to bring them together into a category collectively, reflective of the energy and aspirations of a region rather than as part of the larger categories of “Postcolonial Literature” or “Third World Writings.” This conference will try to amend such approaches and perspectives by looking at the works as part of a regional category addressing some of the common and overlapping concerns affecting the peoples and cultures of this part of the world. It will revisit the concept of “imagined communities” popularised in the academia by Benedict Anderson and see how the writers and vanguards of culture have contributed and reacted to the intricate and philosophically/theoretically unstable notions of identity, nationalism and globalisation. The conference will further investigate the expressions and documentations of these notions in literary and cultural works against the larger backdrop of the socio-political-economic and military developments in the region – this with the view of tracing the directions the individual nations and the region as a whole have taken (or taking) towards building a collective future for itself vis-à-vis other regions and the world at large. The objective will be to create a discourse that will emphasise the commonality and differences in the experiences and imaginations of the peoples and countries in the region and suggest ways of developing a theoretical approach that will centre specifically on the literary and cultural texts of this region holistically without sacrificing the voices of the different language, ethnic and religious groups as well as nations in the region.

The aim of the conference is to bring together scholars from around the world to speak on contemporary issues of identity, nationalism and globalisation in the national and indigenous literatures of the Asia-Pacific region. It also aims to highlight not only the literal form of literature, but also the visual form i.e. films and cartoons in the development of literature. Thus, selected papers for the conference may include themes from the following list:
  • Ideas of Self and Home
  • Representation of Religion and Spirituality in Literature
  • Relationship between Literature and Other Art Forms
  • Relationship between Race and Nation
  • Relationship between Global and Local
  • Indigenous Literature and Oral Traditions
  • Language and Nation
  • Ethnicity and Globalisation
  • Nation and Globalisation
  • Gender and Diaspora in Asia-Pacific Literatures
  • Memory, Creativity and Identity Formation
  • Myths and Folklores in Asia-Pacific Literatures
  • Asia-Pacific Literature in the Global Market
  • New Directions in the Asia-Pacific Literatures
  • and Cultures
  • Theories in Asia-Pacific Literatures
  • Translation
More details are up on the website. Please contact the organisers if you have any questions.

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