L’ÉCOLE NORMALE SUPERIEURE & AMERICANA
Organize Americana 11th Conference : Study Day
Minorities & "Americanness" In American Culture and Literature
December 08, 2012
Deadline for abstract submission: September 15, 2012
Venue : l’Ecole Normale Supérieure, Tunis.
When D.H Lawrence posited that « the American landscape has never been at one with the white Man. Never. And white Men have probably never felt so bitter anywhere, as here in America », he provided one of the most significant descriptions of the intriscally paradoxical process that marked the emergence of such binary notions as « mainstream America » and « minority groups in America ». The binary opposition has been central to much discursive practice in the theorizing and historicizing of American culture, but is has also been the target of much criticial revision, beyond the ‘polite’ relativizing urged by political correctness !
The highly paradoxical, even polemical terms to which the conception, definitions and handling of the category or concept of minority have been subjected are often reflected in the nature of issues raised and brought to the foreground of academic research and scholarly debate in the field of culture studies. In the area of American studies in particular, the sustained rethinking of the minority concept in relation to a critical recasting of eurocentrism (that prevailed even in the central position traditionally assigned to WASPs in the definition of « mainstream » America) and of the notion of « mainstream», has had a tremendous impact on the perspectives developed on such key themes as « Americaness », the « melting pot », cultural pluralism, American exceptionalism, etc. The recent scholarly interest in transnationalism, together with the consequent rethninking of the post-colonial paradigm, seems to have reinforced the tendency to conceptualize the cultural category of minority less within the web of binary oppositions, and more within the terms of paradox, of complex interaction (between the sense of local/ethnic community and the transnational matrix ; between the sense of racial or ethnic identity and the rethinking of Americaness, etc).
The study day oraganized by Americana and l’Ecole Normale Supérieure aims at creating a space for a scholarly debate of the issues- cultural and literary- that could be raised in relation to the question of minority (ies) in the field of American studies.
The following themes/issues could be addressed but they are in no way restrictive :
-The interaction between minority studies and the orientation(s) of multiculturalism in the area of American studies
-Minority studies/literature and ethnicity : importance of the ethnic factor in the various discursive articulations of minority identity
- The racial issue in minority studies/literature : what is the significance assigned to the racial factor in the representation or conceptualizing of minority identity or category
- Representations of minorities in mainstream and minority art
- Americaness and/ of minorities in media discourse and in artistic representation
-Minority studies in the context of globalization
The steering committee particularly welcomes contributions that would examine some of the theoretical or pedagogical issues emanating from the impact of minority studies on the major orientations in the field of American studies.
After a blind peer-review a selection of papers presented in the study day will be published by the E.N.S.
Please send a 200 -word abstract to the conference organizer : Salwa Karoui- Elounelli at either one of the two addresses listed below before September 15, 2012 :
L’Ecole Normale Sup. 8 Place des Cheveaux, Gorgani. Tunis