Gendered Modernities in Motion. Literary and Cultural Interrogations of Gender and Sexuality in a Time of More Pronounced Transnational Dialogue
Special themed number of the Journal of Literary Studies
Call for contributions
You are kindly invited to submit your articles for a special themed number of the Journal of Literary Studies edited by Andries Visagie (University of Stellenbosch) and Martina Vitackova (University of Pretoria).
Gender and sexuality are often the terrains where conceptions of personhood are contested as societies evolve towards variegated responses to modernity. Fresh perspectives on gender and sexuality are needed for a more comprehensive picture of modernities that in contemporary culture are not only in constant motion but also thoroughly fluid. Today the view of a singular modernity is countered by a view that the will to autonomy and mastery associated with modernity is, in fact, much more multidimensional in different parts of the world and at different points in time, and the insertion of gender and/or sexuality into new understandings of modernity becomes the critical site for comparison.
The increased mobility brought about by technological innovation and the rapid exchange of ideas across the globe lead to the development of new gendered subjectivities, or, conversely, the entrenchment of older conceptions of gender and sexuality. The question is how literary and cultural production are contributing to contemporary thinking about modernity, and, in particular, how gender in literature and culture is giving shape to a modernity (or, indeed, modernities) that can no longer be limited to a singular trajectory rooted in European thought. Instead, contemporary phenomena associated with modernity (e.g. migration, new relations between species and the growing importance of cities) are producing a variety of vernaculars characterised both by hybrids and new zones of signification with pretensions to purity. The conference on “Gendered modernities in motion” invites critical responses from scholars interested in gender, sexuality and queer studies to unpack modernity as it is evolving in different parts of the world.
Some of the questions related to literature and culture that we aim to address include but are not limited to:
- In what ways is modernity an ongoing phenomenon that conditions/interrogates intersections between race, class, gender and non-human animals?
- How do literature and cultural practice in postcolonial societies and the global South deal with same sex desire in a modernizing world where long established traditions are brought into contact with new queer and other gendered identities?
- How does migration to the more privileged North bring about new responses to variously configured gendered identities, including same sex practices?
- To what extent do rituals of affiliation articulate with gendered practices in a modernising world?
- What is the role of religion, belief and tradition in the formation of modern gendered identities?
- To what extent have gendered urban geographies become the sites where modernities evolve?
- How do gendered modernities articulate with the function of institutions, access to rights and citizenship?
- What is the impact of hybridity on the evolving trajectories of gendered modernities in the North and the South?
Complete articles should be submitted electronically to [email protected] not later than 31st October. For Instructions for Authors and more information on the journal see: http://www.tandfonline.com/action/journalInformation?journalCode=rjls20#.VcH1C_ntjjU
We are looking forward to your contributions!
With kind regards,
Andries Visagie and Martina Vitackova
Taking seriously Aboriginal knowledge as philosophy | Overland literary journal. Report on conference on 30th anniversary of Reading the Country and Australian Indigenous Studies, University of Melbourne.
Life, at times, imitates art.
In the novel, “The Apocalypse of Benedict” (El Apocalipsis según Benedicto) published in 2008, prize-winning Paraguayan author, Esteban Bedoya, accurately describes the Pope’s retirement at the age of 85. Incredibly, one paragraph of Bedoya’s novel reappeared 2 years later in 2010, when Benedict XVI, in an interview (which was later published as a book) with a German journalist, expressed a possible condition for his retirement. At the end of Bedoya’s short novel, after his retirement, the ex-Pope was continued to be called “Benedict”.
In the first part, with an admirable writing style that is both precise and surgical, Bedoya tells a story, very similar to reality, of the public life of Benedict XVI, whose full name is Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, who after the death of John Paul II, was elected as the 265th Pope on the 19th May, 2005.
In the second part, Bedoya unleashes his creativity and, amongst other events, Benedict XVI resigns. What follows, is a recommendation for anyone who has yet to read the book: to get themselves a copy and read it.
But it’s not just by coincidence or chance that Bedoya is lead to such an accurate prediction. It is however, the development of the novel that drives and justifies this outcome.
The resignation and retirement of the Pope, detailed in Bedoya’s fiction, is now seen today repeated in reality and has taken many by surprise. Accordingly, use of this fiction should be highlighted as an effective method to interpret and explain what really occurs in the dark, yet elaborate corridors of the Vatican.
One of the extracts from the novel that accurately describes certain sentiments and reasons for retirement which have since been publicly expressed by Benedict XVI himself, years after Bedoya’s novel had been published, includes:
The press speculated and started rumours which spoke of the retirement of the Pope: Benedict himself had announced his intention to resign in the case of being unable to carry out such responsibility (“The Apocalypse of Benedict”, page 21).
Benedict’s sentiment in Bedoya’s 2008 novel, fits perfectly with the paragraph highlighted by the Basque newspaper, GARA, on 12th February 2013 which reads:
The protagonist himself (Joseph Ratzinger), in a book-length interview with German journalist Peter Seewald, confessed in November of 2010 his willingness to “resign due to illness, if physically, psychologically and spiritually (he) were not able to perform (his) job (in: http://preview.tinyurl.com/cy9az8y).
The idea is not to take away potential readers of the novel, so in it, after the resignation, the former Pope was continued to be referred to as Benedict…
In light of this, Cubadebate published the article: “Lombardi: We will continue to call him Benedict XVI” (in: http://tinyurl.com/bu7vd4r).
It’s worth highlighting the film “Habemus Papam”, by Italian film director Nani Moretti, which tells the fictional story of Cardinal Melville, who, when elected Pope, suffers a panic attack that prevents him from taking office. However, in the case of the Bedoya’s novel, both the identity and age of the Pope who decided to retire is actually depicted: the same Joseph Ratzinger – Benedict XVI, at age 85.
To think that a Pope can retire is not something extraordinary, even though the last time it happened was 598 years ago, but to actually predict the name and age of the Pope who has now, in real life, resigned and retired…. well that’s a different story.
In turn, author Frei Betto has so far written about five resignations, including that of Benedict XVI:
In the history of the Church there are four popes who resigned …: Benedict IX (01/05/1045), Gregory VI (20/12/1046), Celestine V (13/12/1294) and Gregory XII (04/07/1415). Benedict XVI will be the fifth, as of 28 February 2013 (in: http://tinyurl.com/bfdyls2).
Literature is also capable of writing the history of the future
In delving into universal literature and cases of authors who produced works considered clairvoyant, emerge the names of Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, George Orwell, Ray Bradbury and Manuel Scorza.
Julio Venre was a successful French writer thanks to his ability to attract a very diverse readership. He captivated audiences by pioneering the science fiction genre and his works were not only popular in his time, but even still today.
He predicted with great accuracy in his fantastic tales the appearance of some of the products generated by the technological advances of the twentieth century; TV, helicopters, submarines and spaceships (in: http://tinyurl.com/ylmn3om).
Herbert George Wells was a writer, novelist, historian and British philosopher. Wells wrote science fiction novels such as “The Time Machine” (1895), whose original title was “The Chronic Argonauts”, “The Invisible Man” (1897), “The War of the Worlds” (1898) and “The First Men in the Moon “(1901).
George Orwell, under the pseudonym of Eric Blair, was a British writer, and wrote the novel “1984” in 1948. Perhaps this title arose as a rearrangement of the last digits of the year to place the work in the future. It is often cited as a counterexample to a utopia (an imagined place in which everything is perfect), with “dystopian fiction” (an imagined place in which everything is undesirable). In this book the concept of “Big Brother” emerges; a police state which is totalitarian, vigilant and repressive, as it used to be three decades ago, due to results of projects like “ECHELON” (UKUSA Security Agreement: United States, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand).
Ray Douglas Bradbury, American science fiction writer, wrote fantasy stories with a poetic prose such as; “The Martian Chronicles” (1950), “The Golden Apples of the Sun” (1953), “A Medicine for Melancholy” (1960), “The Machineries of Joy” (1964) “Ghosts of the New” (1969), and among his novels, the unforgettable “Fahrenheit 451” (1953), is also highlighted as part of his dystopian fiction.
Manuel Scorza, excellent writer, poet and social activist from Peru, wrote the monumental epic series “The Silent War”, composed of five novels: “Drums for Rancas” (1970); “Garabombo, the Invisible” (1972), “The Sleepless Rider “(1976), “The Ballard of Agapito Robles”(1976) and “Requiem for a Lightning Bolt” (1978). In the latest of the series, Scorza wrote about certain characters and their actions which, two years later, came true in a few sociopolitical cases in Peru.
However, in the case of “The Apocalypse of Benedict” Esteban Bedoya went a step further, venturing into unchartered territory and creating a piece of literature which, five years ago, described with amazing accuracy something that then was the future and today is now the present.
International recognition of Bedoya’s nouvelle format
In some proposals for the classification of novel literary works nouvelle or novella is a story of a lesser extent than a novel and is defined by Julio Cortázar as a “genre somewhere between a story and a novel.”
With respect to the number of words in a nouvelle, some authors set their limits between 30,000 and 50,000 words, but it is not an inflexible rule. Two nouvelle works are: “The Tracker” by Julio Cortázar and “Perjury in Snow” by Adolfo Bioy Casares.
This extension which responds to the nouvelle format is apparently where Esteban Bedoya is most comfortable. “The Apocalypse of Benedict” in its Spanish version has 13,389 words and in English, 14,756. His excellent nouvelle will be republished under the title of “The Ear Collector” and in its Spanish version will be 35,914 words.
The novel “The Apocalypse of Benedict” is not limited to the accuracy of the story and guessing what happens now in 2013, it has outstanding literary merit pertaining to both the structure and the level of creativity. In fact, for this work Bedoya received the 2010 PEN America/Edward and Lily Tuck Prize for Paraguayan Literature.
As a writer, Bedoya has also received awards from the Academy of American Poets (1982) and publisher, Helguero (1983).
His much publicized novel “The Bear Pit” (2003), was translated into French under the title “La fosse aux Ours” (2005), the German title “Der Bärengraben” (2009) and published in France by La dernière Goutte.
His novel “The Evil Ones” (“Les Mal-aimés”) (2006) was translated and published in France as by L’Haremattan and the novel, now titled “The Ear Collector” will be translated into French and published in France by La dernière Goutte.
“The Apocalypse of Benedict” is being translated into English for publication in the United States.
After ten years of his creative work being published, Esteban Bedoya’s writing continues to increase in creativity, with genuine stories that are not only worthwhile reads, but are enjoyed with the same pleasure as that of the best of Augusto Roa Bastos.
Article by Vicente Brunetti from Kaos en la Red (translated by Gabrielle Hall).
Kim Scott lecture on Language and Nation for University of Melbourne Indigenous Studies on 25 May 2012.
An important event not to miss if you are in Melbourne on 25 July:
Kim Scott: “Language & Nation”
Hosted by Australian Indigenous Studies, School of Culture and Communication, Faculty of Arts
Professor Kim Scott of Curtin University is one of Australia’s most signi?cant authors. His major works That Deadman Dance (2011), Benang (1999) and True Country (1993) have received a host of literary prizes including the Miles Franklin Literary Award, Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, Commonwealth Writers Prize, and Western Australian Premier’s Book Award. Professor Scott has also been named West Australian of the Year 2012 for his work in Indigenous language regeneration as well as his contributions to Australian literature.
Professor Scott’s fiction is uncompromising in its identification and contestation of reader expectations of Indigenous writing and authorship. His command of Nyoongah, Aboriginal, Australian and English literary forms produces complex narratives about intimacy, identity and history in the Australian context. This combined with his work in the area of Indigenous language revitalisation creates new possibilities for communication and expression. Professor Scott’s masterful use of genre and social commentary calls for a new type of reader who is willing to engage in breaking down existing codes of representation, politics and repression that continue to operate in contemporary Australian society.
In a wide-ranging address Professor Scott will bring together his concerns with Indigenous cultural renewal though language revitalisation and the role of literature in an evolving vision of Australia in the twenty-first century.
Wednesday, 25 July 2012
7.00pm – 8.00pm
The Basement Theatre
The University of Melbourne
PARKVILLE VIC 3010
Admission is free. Bookings are required. Seating is limited.
To register visit: http://alumni.online.unimelb.edu.au/kimscott
You are invited to the launch of a new literary journal
Southpaw: writing from the global south
To be launched by
Professor Stephen Knight
Wednesday 14th December
Arena Project Space
2 Kerr Street Fitzroy
Southpaw # 1 features writing from and about Australia, Africa, China, Philippines, South America and the Pacific around the theme of displacement. It includes essays on the idea of South, power shifts in East Arnhem Land, change and development in Philippines, UFOS in South America and displacement in Colombia fiction and creative non-fiction from Angola, Australia, China, New Zealand, South Africa and Suriname; reviews of Tamil pulp fiction, Indigenous graphic novels and documentaries from the Pacific. There’s an Ainu fable re-told, a radio play and poetry from many places in the global South, much of it in new translation.
Further information: 9416 0232 or 0418 304 500.
Issue 1: displacement
Southpaw is a punchy new literary journal that will feature the voices and perspectives of writers from the South. Entering into dialogue with artistic communities across the South, it means to develop links, provoke conversation and share knowledge. Launching in 2011 from Melbourne Australia, it will feature fiction, creative-nonfiction, cultural commentary, essays, poetry, drawings and other graphics from writers and artists in the South.
Southpaw is currently looking for submissions in each of the above categories: short fiction, creative nonfiction, commentary, poetry, drawings, and essays up to 3000 words.
The first issue of Southpaw will be shaped by the experience and idea of ‘displacement’ – a theme with which Southern communities are especially familiar. But this is not necessarily to imply a negative encounter with change or trauma: displacement (in practice and thought) also suggests new possibilities and positive challenges that enliven thinking and burst into creative expression. Southpaw is looking for contemporary voices in all forms of writing. The energy of the South and the alternatives its many cultures and individual creativities offer today will be a challenge and antidote to the traditional sources of cultural influence and activity.
Please make your submission in Word by 30 April 2011.
Email your writing or drawing to: [email protected]
Alison Caddick, for Southpaw editorial group
In May 2011, the University of the South Pacific will be launching its publishing arm that will be known as the USP Press. The goal of the Press is to publish high quality research and writing on issues related to the Pacific Islands, or the islands commonly known as Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Toward this end, the University wishes to announce an international competition seeking manuscripts in the following categories:
USP Press Literature Prize ($3000) will be awarded to the overall winner from the following categories.
The winner in each category will receive $1,000.00
- Fiction ($1,000)
- Poetry ($1,000)
- Drama or Screenplay ($1,000)
USP Press Non Fiction Prize ($3,000) will be awarded to the overall winner from the following categories. The winner in each category will receive $1,000.00.
- History, Auto/Biography ($1,000)
- Sciences ($1,000)
- Social Sciences/Humanities ($1000)
- Best Children’s Book ($2,000)
The competition is open to all nationalities and closes on 15 February, 2011.
The prize money will be in American dollars
Each submission must clearly indicate the category in which it is to be considered.
All submissions must be in hardcopy. Online submissions will not be accepted.
All submissions should be addressed to:
The Chair, Board of the USP Press,
Professor Vilsoni Hereniko,
Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies,
The University of the South Pacific
Private Mail Bag,
Laucala Campus, Suva, Fiji.
For enquiries, write to