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PaMLA 2024: Translating Silence: Alternative Forms of Voice Beyond Speech (PaMLA)

Palms Springs, CA
Organization: PaMLA
Event: PaMLA
Categories: Postcolonial, Hispanic & Latino, Literary Theory, Women's Studies, World Literatures, 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: 2024-11-07 to 2024-11-10 Abstract Due: 2024-04-30

121st PAMLA Conference

Thursday, November 7 - Sunday, November 10, 2024

Margaritaville Resort | Palm Springs, California

Inspired by the conference theme “Translation in Action,” this panel seeks papers that explore conceptualizations of silence in literature not as a void but as a generative space where alternative forms of voice beyond linguistic speech might exist. Silence is a key concept in multiple fields including trauma studies, ecocriticism, and postcolonial studies. Although the key concept is often tied to literary discussions of language, panelists are encouraged to work across multiple disciplines and consider silences beyond speech, perhaps attending to other sensory modes, visual culture, and multispecies approaches.

This panel was inspired by postcolonial studies scholar Gayatri Spivak’s renowned essay “Can the Subaltern Speak?”, environmental humanists such as Bruno Latour in relation to his actor-network theory (ANT), and biosemiotics scholars such as Eduardo Kohn and Jesper Hoffmeyer. While silence is sometimes figured as a lack of speech and indeed agency, literary works often incorporate silent protagonists who express their perspectives and histories using modes of voice other than speech. In fact, some of these literary figures may not even be human and demonstrate communication through multispecies signs in the environment. This panel invites scholars to reflect on literary representations of silence and its stakes for their fields of study. Since this panel proposal works across disciplines, panelists are encouraged to situate their ideas within their respective fields in the abstract.

Some guiding questions include: What do these silences reveal or conceal within the larger political structures of these texts? How do the chosen literary texts call for an attention to and translation of silences into powerful and/or agential forms of voice? What kinds of reading methodologies are useful for interpreting and translating silences in literary texts? How do the terms of translation change when moving beyond the realm of linguistic speech? What are some forms of silence that are resistant to translation and might even be untranslatable?

Please submit a title, 50-word abstract, 250-500 word proposal, and a brief bio via the panel submission portal –https://pamla.ballastacademic.com/Home/S/19259.

The PAMLA 2024 conference will be held in person (participation via Zoom is not possible). For more information, see https://www.pamla.org/pamla2024/.



Kuhelika Ghosh