EVENT Aug 11
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Lawrence in México : Travel, Translation, and Transcultural Representation

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Mexico City
Organization: Co-ordinating Committee for International Lawrence Conferences
Categories: Postcolonial, American, Hispanic & Latino, Comparative, Interdisciplinary, British, Genre & Form, Popular Culture, 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, Adventure & Travel Writing, Children's Literature, Comics & Graphic Novels, Drama, Narratology, Poetry, Aesthetics, Anthropology/Sociology, Classical Studies, Cultural Studies, Environmental Studies, Film, TV, & Media, Food Studies, History, Philosophy, 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: 2025-08-11 to 2025-08-15 Abstract Due: 2024-06-15

In March 1923, D.H. Lawrence arrived in Mexico City; two months later, he wrote from Lake Chapala to his mother-in-law: “I always had the idea of writing a novel here in America. In the U.S. I could do nothing. But I think here it will go well.”  The novel in question was The Plumed Serpent, in which Lawrence grapples with various emotions concerning the difficulty of a functional blending of multiple cultures – here, white European and North American people with indigenous Mexicans and those of European descent.  The results are notoriously mixed and problematic.  The Mexico that Lawrence visited and about which he wrote was post-revolutionary, a nation concentrating on reestablishing its economic ties with the U.S. as well as Britain, France, and Germany.  This convulsive period of Mexico’s history also saw appeals to democratization, social rights, and the value of a pre-Hispanic past and of native cultures. Lawrence witnessed the strong ambivalence, contrasts, and contradictions of this panorama, but he often misunderstood and misrepresented what he saw.  It is this latter reality – the problems inherent in intercultural representation and the pervasiveness of these issues from Lawrence’s time to our own, and their lasting impact on literary criticism and translation – that lie at the core of the theme for the proposed 16th International D. H. Lawrence Conference in Mexico City.

As international Lawrence scholars come together in Mexico City in August 2025, we expect to engage with these topics from many angles and in many of Lawrence’s works.  Lawrence and Mexico, and Lawrence and the Americas, may be principal foci of the conference, but Lawrence scholars with a range of interests are welcome to participate and engage with the conference theme from vantages relevant to their own work.  Suggested topics for papers include the following:

What new ways of imagining and representing the world or its inhabitants were stimulated by Lawrence’s visits to Mexico?

How did Lawrence represent Mexico and Mexican people in his writings?  How did visiting Mexico affect the way Lawrence represented non-Mexican people?

What sorts of cross-cultural encounters did Lawrence stage?

What sorts of misrepresentation or distortion ensued?  Are such distortions inherently indefensible, or are they necessary in some way?

What impact does Mexico have on Lawrence’s stylistic and formal choices?

How does Lawrence approach translation – linguistic, or social, cultural, aesthetic?

How does translation considered as a metaphor suggest new readings of Lawrence?

How do translators approach Lawrence? 

How do translations of Lawrence into Spanish or any other language reshape the author’s writings and/or image?

How do adaptations of Lawrence writings onto film or television screens affect the way he is read and understood?

Does the theme of Lawrence in Mexico enhance or obstruct the idea of Lawrence as a world writer or global modernist?

Send an abstract of 250-300 words to Prof. Adam Parkes (University of Georgia, USA) at aparkes@uga.edu.  Deadline: June 15, 2024.  Abstracts will be reviewed by an international academic program committee; results will be communicated by the end of July.

Organizing Committee: México: Emma Julieta Barreiro, Anna Hilda Guzman Ahumada, and Pedro Servano (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México); USA: Julianne Newmark (University of New Mexico); Ben Hagen (University of South Dakota); Adam Parkes (University of Georgia)


Adam Parkes