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Chuck Palahniuk: Fight Club, Invisible Monsters, Choke (2013). Ed. by Francisco Collado.





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Ana Manzanas & Jesús Benito, Cities, Borders and Spaces in Intercultural American Literature and Film




REN: Revista de Estudios Norteamericanos




Número 16 - 2012



Call For Papers for Our Next Conference

"'Fear Narratives' and their Role/Use in the United States"

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3) "Unauthorized Mobility, Disposable Living: Migrants, Drifters and Nomads in Contemporary North American Literature and Culture"
Panel Chair: Paula Barba Guerrero and Mónica Fernández Jiménez, Universidad de Salamanca / Universidad de Valladolid
E-mail: paulabarbaguerrero@usal.es / monica.fernandez@uva.es  


Human mobility has often been regarded as a key element for the correct functioning of capitalist and neoliberal institutions. In socio-political terms, mobility (be it social, economic or merely geographical) refers to the trespassing of pre-established boundaries and invisible barriers set to demarcate the land or maintain a given order. If throughout history forced mobility has set in motion chains of dehumanization, deterritorialization and commodification, the mobility of racialized and/or poor, working-class individuals in the 21st century is often perceived with mistrust (Laachir 2007), their eligibility dependent on their desirability as prospective guests into a host nation, city or home.

The growing obsession to control and restrict access to certain spaces can be said to transform social and public sites into urban combat zones, where trespassers face the dilemma of either abiding by the norms and values of a punitive system in order to stay safe or challenging the political apparatus at play in their subversive wanderings. This turn to violence is what Giroux (2014) perceives as a symptom of the normalization of the state of exception. This state imposes practices of espionage and fear to, first, defend precarity in the name of national security, second, revert our "collective sense of ethical imagination and social responsibility" and, third, enter into a "politics of disappearance" and consumption that erases the humanity of disposable others (Giroux; Biehl 2005) through threatening narratives of violence, control and fear.

This panel addresses all these notions to delve into the complex interplay between the narratives of fear imposed by the nation-state as a silencing tool, and the writings contemporary authors set forth to confront them. As such, it aims to examine the subversive potential of representing vulnerable, unlawful and post-national mobility in various U.S. contexts to unearth untold, forbidden stories voicing impossible affects, and to inquire into the different meanings movement can convey when performed illegally, thus enabling an alternative narrative to modern/colonial Americanity (Quijano 2000). In assessing different representations of the figure of the contemporary drifter, migrant, flâneur or nomad, this panel reimagines dislocation as a disruptive agent of change that opens up new ontological avenues to interrogate unjust conceptual institutions and politicized structures.

Suggested topics include:

o Border crossings and the arrival of the Other;

o Fear and violence in narratives of mobility;

o The mobility of the privileged versus the immobility of the disposable;

o Class, ethnicity, and movement;

o An ethics/a politics of mobility;

o Unauthorized movement and the repossession and redistribution of space;

o Morphologies of mobilities;

o Chaos theory(ies) and post-national mobility.



Abstracts of Proposals are to be e-mailed directly to the chair of the selected panel using this form. The deadline for submitting abstracts is October 15, 2020. Panel chairs are expected to accept/reject proposals and have panels set up by November 15.


Non-members of SAAS (of all nationalities) are welcome to participate in the conference, but will be required to pay membership dues for one year as well as the conference registration fee. Members of ASA (American Studies Association), AISNA (Associazione Italiana di Studi Nor-Americani), APEAA (Portuguese Association for Anglo-American Studies) and HELAAS (Hellenic Association for American Studies) need only pay the conference registration fee.

Further guideliness for participants can be found here.

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