EVENT Nov 06
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PAMLA special session (PAMLA)

Palm Springs, CA
Event: PAMLA
Categories: Comparative, Literary Theory, Cultural Studies
Event Date: 2024-11-06 to 2024-11-10 Abstract Due: 2024-04-30

Literary texts affect us emotionally. They can negotiate the ambiguities and complexities of emotions in a highly nuanced way and help readers to develop their "emotional literacy," that is the ability to read, understand and cope with one’s own emotions and those of others. Through modulations of narrative voice and focalization, literature can, for example, generate empathy or insight by allowing readers to reflect upon the emotional impasses, contradictions and precarities faced by marginalized or "othered" individuals or groups (e.g. recent media representations challenging the trope of the presumed "lack of empathy" of individuals on the Autism spectrum) and the cultural variability, historicity and social constructedness of emotions (e.g. the notion of "romantic love"). Furthermore, literature can participate in reconceptualizing specific emotions, e.g. by critically renegotiating emotions that were previously disavowed (cf. Ngai’s "ugly feelings") or deemed "unacceptable" (e.g. the vocalisation of "female rage" by contemporary authors such as Ottessa Moshfegh, or the subversion of the "Angry Black Woman" trope by Black women writers).

This panel offers an opportunity to examine the manifold interrelations between literature and emotion and welcomes both exemplary readings and theoretical approaches to literary "affect studies." In view of this year’s conference theme, "Translation in Action," we especially welcome contributions focusing on the ways in which emotions are involved in processes of translation between different languages, media and genres. Are there certain emotions or patterns of lack or excess of emotion that are especially connected to (specific types of) translation? What can the assumed "untranslatability" of some literary texts (such as Mallarmé’s poems) and certain emotion terms that only exist in one language (such as Japanese "natsukashii" or German "Schadenfreude"), or the notion that music or the visual arts can express "unspeakable" emotional experiences tell us about the concepts of "emotion" and "translation" respectively? How are emotions constructed and communicated in translations from one language into another or between different media? What happens when emotions are "lost in translation"? How does AI-generated translation figure into this? Can processes of translation also bring forth affective reactions that only arise from the tension between different languages or types of media? Do these reflections also imply the notion of a translation without original? Possible examples range from the literary projects of e.g. Anne Carson, Nancy Huston or Yoko Tawada to reaction videos and text-image social media communication.

If you have any questions, please send an email to the presiding officers, Carina Breidenbach and Katharina Simon, at Carina.Breidenbach@lrz.uni-muenchen.de and katharina.a.simon@gmail.com.



Carina Breidenbach (LMU Munich)