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Seminar Organizers: Na'ama Rokem (Yale University) and Nirvana  
Tanoukhi (Stanford University)

Prose has come to present itself as a neutral category, as the form  
that writing naturally takes on in the absence of the intervention  
that creates bound language, meter and rhyme. As such a default mode  
of expression, prose seems to exist everywhere and always. But, as  
scholars of the European middle ages, for example, have shown, prose  
is a mode of expression that emerges as the result of concentrated  
effort or of cultural and linguistic translation and transformation.  
In fact, as our perspective widens beyond the modern west, we realize  
that more often than not prose is the object of intense cultural  
scrutiny. This panel refunctionalizes a term put into currency in  
Hegel’s Aesthetics - “prose of the world” as an invitation for a  
comparative discussion of literary form and its cultural and  
ideological underpinnings. One of our points of departure is the term  
itself: how do different languages call this thing? Under what  
conditions do historical and geographical “cultures” associate prose  
with the “prosaic”? At the most basic level, what are the different  
linguistic contexts in which prose is interpreted. For example, what  
are the different translations for “prose” and what is its opposite?
Our utilization of the concept prose and Hegel’s powerful conjunction  
of “world” and “prose” serves as a fresh entry into the question of  
world literature, and the implied relationship between prose and  
modernity in “postcolonial” or “peripheral” literature. “Prose of the  
world” is, therefore, meant to indicate the multiple and interrelated  
conceptions of prose in different languages and cultures.

Please submit abstracts at the ACLA website (www.acla.org) by  
November 15th. 
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The German Studies Call for Papers List
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