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seminar: "Writing 1848"
American Comparative Literature Association annual meeting
Brown University, March 29 - April 1, 2012

Marked by revolution, political upheaval, collapse, and change throughout
Europe, 1848 represents a series of historical breaks: from the Communist
Manifesto to Balzac; from women taking up arms in revolutionary action to
the first moments of the women’s movement in Europe and in America; from
Wagner to Keller in Heidelberg and Stifter in Linz; from a new national
constitution in Switzerland to a new president in the French Second
Republic; from Romanticism to Realism, modernism and modernity and beyond.

If 1848 could be said to represent caesurae in politics and history, does
this also hold true for literature?  This seminar will explore the ways in
which texts document, celebrate, represent, react to, refuse, or perpetuate
this revolution, and welcomes submissions from all fields and areas of
interest.

Possible questions could include: How, to what extent, and in what forms and
voices does revolutionary, or reactionary, action find its way into text at
all?  What possibilities does the discourse of revolution open for
literature?  Does it demand, or create, new genres and new forms of
expression?  What is the role played by gender?  As women take up arms, do
they also take up the pen?

Could 1848 be understood as opening discourses on the genres, and genders,
of catastrophe that reach beyond the immediate moment of (failed)
revolution?

In short, are we still reading and writing the effects of 1848?


For more information on the unique three-day seminar format, see the ACLA
2012 website: http://acla.org/acla2012/.

Please submit abstracts for a 15-20 minute paper through the ACLA 2012
meeting site by November 15, 2011: http://www.acla.org/submit/index.php.

Kathryn McEwen
Vanderbilt University, Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages
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