CFP: JNT special issue “Historicizing Narrative Theory” – July 15, 2011

The Journal of Narrative Theory (JNT) seeks submissions for an upcoming special issue, “Historicizing Narrative Theory.”

Essays (max. 10,000 words) should address themselves to the relationship(s) of contemporary narrative theory to ethnic and/or postcolonial studies, and may examine both literary and cultural texts (visual and digital mediums, music, ethnographies, tourism guides, etc).

Structuralist, or classical, narrative theory – in the vein of Roland Barthes, Gerard Genette, and Tzvetan Todorov – sought to articulate a taxonomy of narrative, taking as its principle examples canonical texts of European and American literature, e.g. Genette on Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past. While feminist narrative theorists, such as Susan Lanser and Robyn Warhol, have demonstrated that gender and sexuality are constitutive considerations of texts, rather than simply extra-formal considerations, similar theoretical engagements with narrative theory in terms of race, capital, imperialism, and class still need to take place. Narrative theory remains only partly decolonized despite the increasing globalization of the contemporary novel, in form and content as well as production, distribution, and consumption. We know that race, nation, and class matter to literary form, but how and why do we account for it in narrative theory? And how does narrative theory have to change/reconsider itself in order to truly decolonize?

What would a “postcolonial” or “marxist” narratology look like? Is an “ethnic,” “postcolonial,” or “marxist” narrative theory even possible or desirable? What are the dangers/pitfalls of ghettoization and/or co-optation in engaging classical narrative theory? What kinds of questions does narrative theory need to ask in order to be historicized? For example, Dan Shen, Ming Dong Gu, and others have sought to articulate Chinese narrative theory that takes into account both specific Chinese aesthetic and cultural histories as well as considers mutual artistic and theoretical influences with the West. In his work on Latino comics and postcolonial writing, Frederick Luis Aldama argues for the universality of not only the narrative tools available to writers and graphic novelists, but also the very cognitive processes that inform our subjectivity and creativity. Michael McKeon’s 2000 anthology, Theory of the Novel: A Historical Approach, treats narrative historically but focuses only on fiction and includes only three essays on postcolonial writing.

We are looking for essays that engage with the limitations/possibilities of current narrative theory(s), either through explicit theoretical engagement with narrative theory and/or the practice/revisiting of it through innovative interpretations of texts.

Information about the journal can be found at the following address:

Contributors should follow the MLA style (7th edition), with footnotes kept at a minimum and incorporated into the text where possible.

Please send a copy of the submission by email attachment to each of the editors – Sue J. Kim ( and Priyamvada Gopal ( – by July 15, 2011.

CFP: Aliens and Allies (ALA 2011)

Aliens and Allies: Latino(a) and Asian American Literary Studies in Contemporary American Politics

The Latina/o Literature and Culture Society and the Circle for Asian American Literary Studies are cosponsoring a panel session on comparative Latina/o and Asian American Literary and Cultural Studies for the American Literature Association (May 26-29, 2011, in Boston, MA).  We are particularly interested in the state of literary and cultural studies in current state of racial politics as exemplified by Arizona’s SB1070, the rise of anti-Muslim sentiment, and the accompanying attack on Race and Ethnic Studies and the Humanities.  The virulence expressed in the mainstream about all and any of these subjects makes what we do in these fields particularly important in not only articulating a critical discourse to resist marginalization and racism, but also in identifying allies and imagining models of solidarity. Please send paper abstracts to Eliza Rodriguez y Gibson ( or Catherine Fung ( by January 5, 2011.

For more information on the ALA conference:

CFP: Panels for ALA 2011

Circle for Asian American Literary Studies
American Literature Association Conference 2011

The Circle for Asian American Literary Studies (CAALS) seeks papers for three panels and one roundtable discussion to be held at the American Literature Association Conference, May 26-29, 2011, in Boston, MA. Proposals should be emailed to each panel’s organizer by January 10, 2011. See individual CFPs for details. All are welcome to apply; accepted panelists are asked to become members of CAALS by the date of the convention.

For more information on CAALS, visit our website:
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For more information on the ALA conference:

1. Comparative Ethnic Religion in a Postsecular World
Chair: Khanh Ho, Grinnell College
Co-sponsored by the Latino/a Literature and Culture Society

What is the role of religion in a moment popularly termed “postsecular”? What is its potential place in the various disciplines of Ethnic Studies? Can the sacred be a site of intersectionality and coalition building? Or is it simply false consciousness– the cynical window dressing of the hegemonic state? This panel calls for papers engaged in comparativist interethnic investigation between Asian American Studies and any other Ethnic Studies group. It seeks to move the conversation about race, literature and religion beyond what Miguel De La Torre has termed the “impressive cul-de-sacs from which to master our particular disciplines.” In the spirit of this enterprise, all comparativist offerings are invited, as long as they promote deeper understanding about the uses of religion between the ethnic literatures. Of special interest are those papers that interrogate common strategies by which literary artists harness nonwestern spiritual traditions, including New Age or recently invented spiritualities. Please send 1-page abstracts and a 2-page CV to Khanh Ho ( by January 10, 2011.

2. Techno-Orientalism and Asian American Culture
Chair: David Roh, Old Dominion University

In literature, film and popular culture, we often see commodified renditions of Asian technology and sexualized bodies, sometimes blended into one (e.g., the android geisha). In Asia, technology differentiates and subsumes what some have termed “techno-Orientalism,” yet one of the prevailing derisive images of Asian America is that of the gamer or techno-geek. Why is it that high-tech Asian America is the subject of derision while Asia signifies the “cool” of science fiction? For instance, science fiction’s integration of Japanese culture and technology concomitant with the rise of Japan as an economic threat to the West articulates Asia as a product/commodity and blends old world Orientalism with the new. Taken a step further, the practice of adorning non-Asian bodies with (often incorrect) Chinese characters may be a byproduct of techno-Orientalism, a signification of both exotica and cybernetics, in the way that Sony, Mitsubishi, and Samsung represent high quality electronics. Furthermore, as Japan slowly gives way to China, Taiwan and Korea as an economic threat, how will the representations of Asia in literature and popular culture be complicated? This panel examines the seemingly paradoxical relationship of the Asian and Asian American body as signifier of both technological cool and uncool, and what that may mean in a global economy. Possible topics might include (but are not limited to): hackers, anime, manga, digital gaming, science fiction, cosplay, cyborgs, online communities, avatars, IT, tech support, giant robots. Please send abstracts in MS Word format (Name–Title.doc) not in excess of 250 words to David S. Roh ( by January 10, 2011.

3. New Perspectives on the Works of Meena Alexander
Chair: Trevor Lee, CUNY/Graduate Center

In conjunction with a planned reading by author Meena Alexander, the Circle for Asian American Literary Studies invites papers for a panel on the works of Alexander, who has crossed the borders of both nations and literary genres with her writing. As Alexander explains in her recent book Poetics of Dislocation (2009), “So it is when crossing borders – between India and America, or even between the rich multiethnic mix of New York and the white suburbs – I feel a transitoriness in the self, the need for a febrile translation. And somehow there is a violent edge to this process of cultural translation, the shifting worlds I inhabit, the borders I cross in my dreams, the poems I make.” We welcome papers that consider ways in which Alexander, as the author of two novels, eight volumes of poetry, and four books of criticism, has experimented with poetic and prosaic forms as a means of translating the transitory self. Also, we encourage papers that examine the critical connections between Asian American, South Asian, and transnational/postcolonial studies via Alexander’s texts. Please send a 1-page abstract and CV by email to Trevor Lee at by January 10, 2011. (Be sure to mention any technological needs for your presentation on your abstract.)

4. Pedagogy Roundtable: Asian American Studies, Literacy, and Education
Chair: Greta Aiyu Niu, University of Rochester

What does it mean to have literacy, or to be literate, in Asian American Studies? How do students and teachers understand and approach Asian Pacific American texts in American Literature surveys? This roundtable invites teachers in the Humanities and Social Sciences to share strategies and theories regarding the teaching of Asian Pacific American (APA) texts in a variety of classes. We welcome case studies that examine the successes and/or failures of incorporating Asian American works into courses that are NOT focused on APA materials. Participants might demonstrate ways in which APA texts are or are not marginalized in their disciplines. Illustrations of helpful pairings of APA works with other ethnic texts are invited. Interdisciplinary or multimedia examples are welcome. Please send 250-500 word abstract with some indication of the class and/or text(s) under discussion and short CV (no more than 2 pages please) to Greta Niu at

CFP: Asian Americanist Critique Outside Asian American Literature Courses, ALA 2010

CFP: Asian Americanist Critique Outside Asian American Literature Courses

American Literature Association Conference, San Francisco, May 27-30, 2010

Circle for Asian American Literary StudiesPedagogy Roundtable

Proposal deadline: January 15, 2010

As specialists in Asian American literature working in contemporary configurations of English studies, we often teach courses that are not organized around nor focused solely on Asian American literature as a body of work. At the same time, scholars and teachers of other categories of literature often turn to Asian American texts in their courses. In both of these instances, we place Asian American texts in conversation with other texts, but perhaps more importantly, we suggest the importance of Asian Americanist critique for courses and texts beyond the standard body of works we consider in the field. This roundtable panel focuses on pedagogical practices we use for such situations, especially as they reveal our investments in Asian Americanist critique as a kind of knowing that queries the contours of literary studies and the classroom as a site of learning.

To make our discussion more concrete, this call for ten-minute presentations asks for reflections on paper assignments, discussion activities, creative projects, or other concrete examples of what you do in the classroom to teach particular Asian American texts in these courses. Which texts have worked best for you? What activities or teaching strategies have helped to encourage students to read Asian American texts in critical ways without the benefit of a full quarter or semester to explore Asian Americanist issues, backgrounds, and contexts? Alternately, how has teaching particular Asian American texts transformed readings and discussions of non-Asian American texts in those courses?

Please submit a brief description (250-words) of an assignment that you want to share on the panel in the body of an email message to Please mention any technological needs for your presentation on your abstract. Also, please note that if your abstract is selected and you agree to present on this panel, you will need to become a member of CAALS before presenting.  For more information, please visit our website at

CFP: New Perspectives on Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, ALA 2010

“New Perspectives on Theresa Hak Kyung Cha”

Chair: Timothy Yu, University of Wisconsin

American Literature Association Conference, May 27-30, 2010, San Francisco
Standing panel organized by the Circle for Asian American Literary Studies
Proposals due: January 1, 2010

Since her death in 1982, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s work has moved from avant-garde obscurity to canonical status within Asian American literature.  Her bookDictée is now a classroom staple and has inspired a growing body of critical literature.  But critics’ focus on Dictée, and on that book’s more narrative elements, has left unexplored the full complexity of Cha’s work across genres and media, from autobiography and poetry to performance art, film, and artist’s books.  This panel will seek to build on more recent work that places Dictée in the context of Cha’s wider body of art.  Papers are welcomed that examine the less-frequently-discussed later sections of Dictée, which incorporate more visual and abstract materials and complicate the narratives of exile and migration that dominate the book’s earlier sections.  Papers that focus on Cha’s work beyond Dictée, such as her visual and video art or her critical writings, are also encouraged.  Cha’s archive of work, held by the Berkeley Art Museum and accessible through the Online Archive of California, provides a rich trove of materials that we hope papers for this panel will draw on, and we also hope that the conference’s location in San Francisco will allow us to view a sampling of Cha’s work in conjunction with the panel.  Send 1-page abstract and CV by email to Timothy Yu ( by January 1, 2010.

CFP: Dialogues of Displacement: Intersections Between the Literary Texts of African and Asian Diaspora(s), ALA 2010

“Dialogues of Displacement: Intersections Between the Literary Texts of African and Asian Diaspora(s)”

Chair: Trevor Lee, City University of New York (CUNY)

“It is from those who have suffered the sentence of history – subjugation, domination, diaspora, displacement – that we learn our most enduring lessons for living and thinking.” – Homi Bhabha, The Location of Culture

Salman Rushdie identifies the diasporic subject as “fantasist” who “build[s] imaginary countries and tr[ies] to impose them on the ones that exist.”  Focusing on the role of literature as a medium by which migrants both understand themselves and relate to society, The Circle for Asian American Literary Studies (CAALS) invites papers that explore the literary connections between African and Asian diasporic communities.  What might we learn by looking at the texts of African and Asian migrants comparatively?  We welcome papers that particularly compare and/or contrast ways in which the experiences of both African and Asian diasporic peoples open new textual possibilities.  Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

    * Transnational modes of literary production and circulation
    * Fictive depictions of the African and Asian homelands
    * New technologies as a literary medium of expression and communication for migrants
    * Diasporic science fictions, literary utopias/dystopias, or alternative worlds
    * John Ogbu’s distinction between “immigrant minorities” and “involuntary minorities”
    * Cosmopolitanism in Asian and African diasporic literature
    * Relations between immigrants and host communities
    * Intersecting racial political movements of Asian and African migrants and/or settlers
    * Literary criticism, canonization, and global literature
    * The various re/incarnations of hip-hop in diasporic communities
    * Literary depictions of conflicts among migrant peoples
    * Intersecting strands of magical realism in diasporic literature

Please send a 1-page abstract by December 18 to Trevor Lee via email:  Please mention any technological needs for your presentation on your abstract. Also, please note that if your abstract is selected and you agree to present on this panel, you will need to become a member of CAALS before presenting.  For more information, please visit our website at

CFP: Asian American Literature: Ambivalent Precursors, ALA 2010

“Asian American Literature: Ambivalent Precursors”

Chair: Merton Lee, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

American Literature Association Conference, May 27-30, 2010, San Francisco
Standing panel organized by the Circle for Asian American Literary Studies
Proposals due: January 1, 2010

The Circle for Asian American Literary Studies invites papers for a panel on critical reevaluations of Asian American literature before 1970.  According to Kandice Chuh, Asian American studies initially relied on claiming America as a nation to contest racist essentialism.  But more recently, shifts in Asian American studies towards transnational analyses demand more complex responses to early Asian American texts.  For example, literature previously dismissed as Orientalist might be recuperated as complex responses to both subnational and transnational affiliations.  Or canonical texts of Asian American literature might be re-situated in the context of a more open genealogy of precursors.  Additionally, reperiodization, different conceptions of time and the question of American neo-imperialism might all justify new approaches to how Asian American texts should be understood as literary history.  Topics might include understudied early 20th century American writers of Asian descent, writers of various ethnicities that are important to Asian American studies, or possibly corrective readings of well-known figures.  Please submit CVs and 250-350 word abstracts to

For information on the American Literature Association conference, please go to the following website:

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If you are selected and agree to present your work on this panel, you will need to become a member of CAALS. Membership requires a $10 fee ($5 for students and community members) and is open to all. Please see the following website for details: