unlaagering 2020

First CfP for Unlaagering 2020 colloquium on Transnational pedagogies: Afrikaans & X

22-24 January 2020, QwaQwa campus, University of the Free State

Literary transnationalism is viewed as offering critical terminology for describing the shifting relations both between national literatures (Jay, 2010) and between national literature and broader forces of globalisation (Morgan, 2017). Common to both views lies an acknowledgement of the growing inadequacy of reducing a literary system to fit snugly within the boundaries of the national/nation-state. Instead, literary systems can be seen as organic, multiplicit, and responding intuitively to socio-political and cultural currents. Usefully, then, literary transnationalism describes the “point at which two or more geo-cultural imaginaries intersect, connect, engage with, disrupt or conflict with each other in literary form” (Morgan, 2017:14).

Following on the first set of Unlaagering events at the University of Pretoria and North-West University, we are inviting paper and panel proposals for a January 2020 colloquium themed around transnational pedagogies of Afrikaans literature.

Some questions to address: What are the productivities and limitations of transnationalism? How (and why/not) do we teach Afrikaans literature trans-nationally? What is gained, or lost, in comparative study or teaching of Afrikaans and X? To what extent has the Afrikaans, South African English, isiXhosa, isiZulu, or other literary systems interacted or diverged? What is the continued role of organisations such as the SAVN, NKN, Nederlandse Taalunie, Kaapse Forum? What is the continued relevance of terms such as national literature, global literature, world literature? How is the drive towards decolonisation allowing Afrikaans to re-address (or re-frame) its African, Asian and European roots? What are the symbolic, but also real-world and political, implications of thinking of Afrikaans as a liminal, transnational literary system?

300-word paper and panel proposals can be sent to the organisers at unlaagering@gmail.com, to reach us by the end of July 2019. We specifically encourage emerging academics, and scholars working on Afrikaans in Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Aruba, the US, and Namibia, to submit proposals.

About the initiative:

Transnational pedagogies: Afrikaans & X is part of the larger, multi-year Unlaagering initiative on reframing the pedagogy of Afrikaans literature. The 2020 colloquium will be hosted by the Qwaqwa campus of the University of the Free State, situated in the majestic sandstone mountain range of Phuthaditjhaba in South Africa. Whilst we choose to frame literary transnationalism in productive terms, we fully acknowledge the historical (and ongoing) injustices inherent to encounters between languages and literary systems. To this end, locating the second set of Unlaagering events on the Qwaqwa campus explicitly aims to open up discussion on historical congruence and conflict, but also on future possibilities and collaborations.

For more info on community engagement projects at the Qwaqwa campus, please see ufs.ac.za/qwaqwa/home-page/general/community-engagement. To find out more about the Unlaagering initiative, visit unlaagering.wordpress.com/call-for-papers.

Selected sources

Morgan, P. 2017. Literary transnationalism: A Europeanist’s perspective. Journal of European Studies, 47(1), 3-20.

Jay, P. 2010. Global Matters: The transnational turn in literary studies. New York: Cornell UP.