Place—as both geographical locale demarcated by boundaries, and as a site of experience naturalized through ideological functions—has been transformed by as well as articulated through artistic practices. Place in cultural texts is codetermined by locatedness and agency. And it is when land as the reserve of identity is threatened by colonial and neo-colonial extensions of empire, transportational foreshortening of distances, and technocratic domination of ethnicities, for example, that place finds reciprocal formal expression in modes such as collage, montage, prosodic experimentations, and narrative hybridity. Such representational practices stand as testimony to the experience of place as the very possibility of movement. Against cultural idealisations of place which create and circulate phenomenally discrete cognates such as ‘home,’ ‘state,’ and ‘nation,’ the formal recall of the differentially constituted nature of place mobilizes multiple and heterogeneous ways of ‘making’ place and simultaneously ‘finding’ oneself in place.
A formal preoccupation with place as the possibility of transgressing boundaries in turn allows for the assessment of formal concretions as the outcome of human translocation effected by conquests, exiles and migrations. The development of the ancient Greek lyric then becomes inseparable from the experience of diaspora; the nostos theme in the epic also constitutes the basis of its form; the much-travelling Troubadour lyric enacts a poetry as much of expressive interiority as of late-medieval estate management; the Renaissance nude as speaking to the politics of the Italian city-states; and parataxis in Modernist poetry articulates imperial breakup anxieties. Despite the fact that common imaginative investments single out the cultural register of place, how would a historic awareness of the relatedness of place and aesthetic form point to porous boundaries, exilic productions, and virtual distances between margin and centre? How would such knowledge in turn designate place itself as the prime figure of transit? Last, but hardly the least, how does form’s complicity in the relativizing of place build a sense of community grounded in the possibility of movement across places rather than on substantializing the (idealized) proper of land? Are artistic and poetic forms and styles a mark then, of achieved, failed, or projected community?
We seek papers that articulate possible readings of place as movement signalled in and as transformations in artistic and literary form. Possible genres and forms include but are not limited to: travelogues; epistolary form; landscape painting; the early modern sonnet; ekphrasis; oral narratives; eighteenth century mixed-genre British poetry; Oulipo; multilingual poetics; concrete poetry; the photograph. For enquiries about possible papers contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Short bio and 300 word abstract to be submitted through ACLA portal by 23rd Sep.