Of Victorian Interest

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CFP: Literature, Community and its Limits (2/1/2013; 7/15-16/2013)

On the 30th anniversary of both Jean-Luc Nancy's La communauté désoeuvrée and Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities, a conference, at the Institute of English Studies, University of London on 15-16 July 2013,  seeks to explore ways that "community" and literature (in its widest acceptation) are and have been conceived over the last 250 years. Through exploration of the past, the conference hopes to begin formulating new ways of thinking about how we do and can live together in an environment mediated by words on a page.
Besides continuing the questions asked by Anderson and Nancy, conference speakers might wish to address the following:
  • How has literature been used to promote communities alternative to the hegemonic?
  • What are the possibilities and limits of thinking community as a friendship group or coterie that generates literary output available beyond the limits of that group?
  • What are the implications for community of human and non-human overlap?
  • Is the idea of class as both socially active community and analytic concept really dead? If so - or if not - how far might economics rather than (literary) myth underpin concepts of community?
  • To what extent are readers of a printed (or print-simulating) text really members of a community? How have such communities been imagined - and recorded?
  • What alternative ways of conceiving community beyond Nancy and Anderson might be mobilised to help us understand literature (e.g. Wenger and Lave's "communities of practice")?
  • How might the marginal be and have been conceived? What advantages, if any, accrue from this position vis-à-vis the community, to whom and in what circumstances?

The deadline for abstracts (250 words) is 1 February 2013. Please send copies of the abstract and 1-page CVs to both a.king@greenwich.ac.uk and L.Secomb@greenwich.ac.uk.

More detail can be found at

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