Universität KonstanzExzellenzcluster „Kulturelle Grundlagen von Integration“

CfP: Contact Zones in Modern British Culture

15. Dezember 2008

The term ‘contact zone’, coined by Mary Louise Pratt and others, denotes the geographical and cultural space(s) in which European colonisers and indigenous peoples interact in the colonial peripheries. In recent postcolonial theory, the term has also been applied to texts in which western and non-western discourses and modes of representation are juxtaposed, a good example being Salman Rushdie’s collection of short stories entitled ‘East, West’.

The conference will draw upon both these dimensions of the term to focus on contact zones within the centre of the former colonial empire, specifically, on London. It will explore a variety of texts (understood so as to include films, music, visual images, contracts and political agreements) in which contact zones are represented. It will take these contact zones as points of departure for posing more general questions as to the nature of contemporary British identity/identities at a time in which these identities have come under pressure from both centripetal and centrifugal cultural and political forces; the former relating to Britain’s situation in Europe and the latter to the political situation within Britain itself. A further topic discusses the (self-)positionings of transnational authors, musicians, and artists based in London and the United Kingdom.

5-6 February 2009
University of Konstanz, Germany
Convenors: Prof. Dr. Christa Knellwolf and Prof. Dr. Silvia Mergenthal
Deadline for the submission of abstracts: 15 December 2008

Please submit an abstract of approx. 200 words by 15 December 2008 to
Christa.Knellwolf-King[at]uni-konstanz.de or Silvia.Mergenthal[at]uni-konstanz.de.

This conference is a cooperative initiative between the Australian National University and the University of Konstanz, supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

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