If Anglophone literatures and cultures worldwide once sprang from a contested terrain of solidarities emerging in the shadow of colonialism, many of them have been struggling with the legacies of these solidarities, with ideals of liberation that turned into new forms of oppression, and with the clamorous or muted appeal of old and new victimhoods for more than half a century now. Ethnic, racial or national victimhood and solidarity have been invoked in a cynical politics of exclusion all over the globe – from an aggressive assertion of Hindu hegemony in India to the militant Buddhism in the guise of nationalism in Sri Lanka and Myanmar, the abuse of anticolonialism as an ideology of oppression in Zimbabwe. In a quite different setting, victimhood has also become a mainspring of the anxiety-infested xenophobia spawned by right-wing populism in contemporary Europe. At the same time, the oppression of minorities and the plight of political, economic and environmental refugees has generated new forms of sociality as well as solidarity.
The 2022 Annual Conference of the Association for Postcolonial Anglophone Studies (GAPS) will engage in a wide-ranging reassessment of implicated subjects, of the uses and abuses of victimhood, of different forms of agency, and of the manifold implications of English as a medium of literary and cultural expression in anglophone literatures, cultures and media. Participants are invited to scrutinize fictional encounters with ‘internal’ forms of oppression, with the ‘enemy within’ (Nandy) and ‘the danger of a single story’ (Adichie), or the excessive display of wealth and power by local bourgeoisies (Mbembe). They are also encouraged to engage in a self-reflexive discussion on the role of ‘unconditional’ and ‘conditional’ solidarities in Anglophone literary cultures and on the role of victimhood in recent debates on globalization, world literature and the Anthropocene. Furthermore, participants may wish to tackle the new solidarities expressed through concepts such as cosmopolitanism (Appiah), Afropolitanism (Selasi), conviviality (Gilroy) or environmental justice and to explore the role of anglophone literatures and cultures as ‘resources of hope’ (Raymond Williams). Participants are further welcome to focus on transitions from a politics of victimhood to a poetics of agency in anglophone literatures and cultures and to scrutinize the role of English in plurilingual contact zones across the world.
Deadline for panel suggestions along with names of proposed speakers (minimum 3): November 1, 2021
Deadline for individual abstracts: December 31, 2021
Read the full CfP here.