Postcolonial Writing: MLA Special Session 2016

Modern Language Association Conference 2016
Austin, Texas
Special Session: Implicated subjects in postcolonial writing
Contact MLA / Minna Niemi:

This is a call for paper proposals for a special session panel at the 2016 MLA Conference in Austin, TX, Jan. 7 – Jan. 10.

Michael Rothberg (2014), along with many others, has suggested that a theorization of trauma must constantly evolve towards a model which better meets the needs of the current globalized world, in which structural violence and traumatic events often occur in close conjunction to one another. ‪Postcolonial fiction often addresses situations in which historical / collective and individual traumas occur at the same time due to the legacies of colonial violence and the structural inequalities in the so-called postcolonies.‬ ‪The causes of psychic distress might be particularly complicated in the postcolony, as legacies of violence and the misuse of power inflict pain on populations, as well as accumulate unresolved tensions from the past in the lives of individuals and cultures alike.‬ ‪In these scenarios, the lines between the perpetrator and the victim can also become blurred, as the same characters can occupy both positions at different times.‬ ‪This panel asks how postcolonial texts complicate discussions of trauma writing by representing implicated subject positions (Rothberg), located in between the positions of victims and perpetrators? How do the notions of guilt and innocence become recoded and complicated in such literary texts?
concepts/ideas in relation to the notion of complicity:

-Multidirectional identifications / competing memories‬
‪-Complicity/implication in others’ victimization

‪Potential approaches to the topic include (but are not restricted to) the analysis of some of the following ‬
‪-Competing claims on individuals’ loyalties ‬
‪-Beneficiaries / bystanders‬

Please send 250-word abstracts and short bios by 12 March 2015; Minna Niemi (

modernist studies


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