American Comparative Literature Associations Annual Conference April 24-27, 2008 in Long Beach, CA



CFP: Topographies of Arrival in Pilgrimage as Ritual, Theatre, and Literature.



Each arrival presupposes a departure. Who ever sets out on a journey seeks to re-enact the sacredness, the enthusing power, of the places of his/her arrival, be it profane or religious. In order to capture such an experience, in order to live through the moment of arrival as a meaningful caesura, as a moment of exception, a moment of relief from the time-bound conditions of regular life, preparation is necessary.

However, such places of exceptional significance, or sacredness, have always been converted into texts. Therefore their topography seems to be absolutely essential, and the conscious and conscientious traveller is required to merge his/her immediate perceptions with his/her abilities to imagine and conceptualise. The aim is to recognise, and reflect on a process of metamorphosis of oneself, internally and externally.

Pilgrimage is an example of such an experience. But, if travelling means to appropriate an art of articulate identity transformation, such experience may also apply, in a secularised form, to literary and performative acts of acknowledged self-disavowal in order to re-imagine the human self.

Travelling is the art of motion, motion results in moments of encountering, and such moments manifest themselves by unsettling linguistic repercussions. Places of arrival also function as inscriptions of such repercussions, inscriptions of the past crossing the present, of the other crossing the self.

We invite papers which explore places (such as Rome, Jerusalem, Mecca, Benares …), rituals, texts and scriptures as religious, or secular inscriptions – “topographies” – of such “arrivals”.


Seminar leaders:

Professor Snjezana Zoric, Philosophical-Theological College Bressanone, Italy;

Dr. Gert Hofmann, National University of Ireland, Cork


For questions regarding this panel please direct them to:

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The deadline for paper abstracts is November 15, 2007. To submit a paper

abstract, please go directly to the conference site at

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a Paper or Seminar" link in the left hand margin.


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