Colloque « Imagined Communities, Recuperated Homelands. Rethinking American and Canadian Minority and Exilic Writing » 11-12 mars 2011

Organized by Monica MANOLESCU and Charlotte STURGESS

This conference will be centred on the way North American minority and exilic literatures problematize such generally received notions as home and belonging. Often localised on an anxious border between an originary, imaginary « homeland » — only recuperated through myth and storytelling — and the lived present, caught between here and there, departure and arrival, such literatures readily generate themes and tropes of nostalgia and the in-between: an « insider-outsider » status caught between community affiliations of origin and the social and cultural space of the adopted nation.

Yet at the same time « minoritized literatures remind us that nations are made, not born, and are thus open to refashioning » (Cho, 2007) suggesting that the « insider-outsider » both confirms and calls into question the norms and values that construct national unities. Do minority and exilic literatures therefore contribute to a dynamic political imaginary, envisaging alternative modes and discourses of citizenship? Can they contribute to reconceptualising the notions of home and nationhood and to challenging fixed assumptions of authentic origins?

In this case what strategies – patterns, themes, metaphors, images – serve to reflect on and reshape the network of relations tying the individual to the community? How does textual, representative space deflect or reflect the political and ideological?

Possible (non-exhaustive) avenues of inquiry:

  • Utopias
  • Auto-ethnography
  • Alternative, subjective cartographies
  • Embodied identities
  • Globalisation, transcultural, transnational discourses
  • Places and heterotopias
  • Racialised poetics
  • The body as politics
  • Mythmaking and revisions