ACLA 2011 (
Simon Fraser University, Vancouver
March 31st – April 3rd, 2011
“World Literature / Comparative Literature”

Call for Paper Proposals

Seminar: AlienNation: Cyborgs, Migrants and other Liminal Beings

Science fiction, with its concomitant depictions of virtual and future
realities (e.g. Philip K. Dick, Kazuo Ishiguro, Larissa Lai), is designed
to offer alternative spaces and living conditions for its protagonists. In
cyberspace, for instance, physical appearance becomes fragmented and
disposable, thus providing the users with a creative space to choose
disguises and assume new identities. The immigrant, however, rarely
experiences this liberation from the material world. Yet, the science
fiction genre and the literature of migration (e.g. Chang-Rae Lee, Yoko
Tawada) share important features and motifs, such as hybridity,
liminality, transformation, transcultural identity, boundary
transgression, and alienation. In the postmodern world, cyborgs as well as
(im)migrants are thus nomads re- (or de-) territorializing themselves.

This panel will focus on these parallels and, as a consequence, proposes
to drop the absolute distinction between man and machine, the self and the
other, and to treat these terms as co-extensive. The panel also suggests
that the subject be described in terms of the interface rather than of the
"I". The interface does not refer to the self as substantial or to culture
as objective but rather to the places where they interact. Finally, formal
distinctions (e.g. the “SF genre” or “fiction”/“non-fiction”) are subject
to a de- and reconstruction.

Paper proposals should focus on motifs and/or theoretical aspects on the
subject of alien/alienation – for instance resistance against and fear of
the “foreign” – as well as investigate works that cross genre divides.

Please send 500-word abstracts until November 1, 2010 to 
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You will find the full description of the seminar online:

The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Assistant Editor:  Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: