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CFP: PAMLA conference 2023, special session (PAMLA 120th annual conference, Portland, OR, Oct. 26-29 2023)

Portland, OR
Organization: PAMLA (Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association)
Event: PAMLA 120th annual conference, Portland, OR, Oct. 26-29 2023
Categories: Postcolonial, American, Hispanic & Latino, Comparative, French, British, German, Literary Theory, World Literatures, African-American, Colonial, Revolution & Early National, Transcendentalists, 1865-1914, 20th & 21st Century, Medieval, Early Modern & Renaissance, Long 18th Century, Romantics, Victorian, 20th & 21st Century, African & African Diasporas, Asian & Asian Diasporas, Australian Literature, Canadian Literature, Caribbean & Caribbean Diasporas, Indian Subcontinent, Eastern European, Mediterranean, Middle East, Native American, Scandinavian, Pacific Literature
Event Date: 2023-10-26 to 2023-10-29 Abstract Due: 2023-05-31

Now accepting paper proposals for the special session "Literature and Emotion" at the 120th Annual Meeting of the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association (PAMLA), Portland/OR, Oct. 26-29 2023 

Literature affects us emotionally and can thereby profoundly shift our perspectives, expand our horizons or cause us to question our beliefs and opinions by employing literary techniques of defamiliarization or undermining (genre-specific) expectations. Literary texts can negotiate the ambiguities and complexities of emotions in a highly nuanced way and help us develop our "emotional literacy", that is our ability to read, understand and cope with our own emotions and those of others. Through modulations of narrative voice and focalisation, literature can, for example, teach us empathy by allowing us to adopt unfamiliar perspectives, or reflect upon the emotional impasses, contradictions and precarities faced by marginalized or "othered" individuals or groups (e.g. recent representations of neurodivergent people in literature/film that challenge derogatory stereotypes such as the presumed, unfeelingness’ or, lack of empathy’ of individuals on the Autism spectrum).

Vice versa, our emotions can affect the way we write, read and respond to literature and shift our interpretative perspectives, thereby always making our readings of texts subjective to a certain degree.

Furthermore, literature can participate in shifting the perspectives on specific emotions, e.g. by critically renegotiating emotions that were previously disavowed (cf. "ugly feelings" [Ngai, 2005]) or deemed "unacceptable" (e.g. the vocalisation of "female rage" by contemporary authors such as Ottessa Moshfegh or Rachel Yoder, or the critical subversion of the pejorative trope of the "Angry Black Woman" by Black women writers). By studying literary representations of emotions from comparative and diachronic perspectives, we can also gain insight into the cultural variability, historicity and social constructedness of emotions (for example the history of romantic love that has been and is still written by literary discourse to a significant degree, or the historically changing prevalence of certain collective emotions such as paranoia or nostalgia) .

This panel will offer an opportunity to examine the manifold interrelations between literature and emotion and welcomes exemplary readings of literary texts as well as theoretical approaches to literary "affect studies". In addition to discussions of emotions in and towards texts and the role of literature in the constitution, definition and renegotiation of emotions, the panel also aims to consider the significance of new developments in cognitive- and neuroscience for our ever-shifting discipline (e.g. empiric studies of emotional reader response or the neuroscience of embodiment).
Papers that engage with the 2023 PAMLA conference theme "Shifting Perspectives" (see https://www.pamla.org/conference/2023-conference-theme/ ) are especially welcome. 


Paper proposal submission: 

The deadline for paper proposals is May 31 2023.

The 2023 PAMLA conference will be held entirely in person and will take place in Portland, OR from Oct. 26-29 2023 (see https://www.pamla.org/pamla2023/) 

Please submit your abstract through the PAMLA paper proposal system: https://pamla.ballastacademic.com/Home/S/18748
(If you do not have an active PAMLA account yet, you will have to create one here in order submit your proposal: https://pamla.ballastacademic.com/) 

If you have any questions, please send an email to carina.breidenbach@lrz.uni-muenchen.de. 



Carina Breidenbach