Cfp: Millennium’s Children, 23-24 May 2019, University of Naples “L’Orientale”
The South Asian literary scene, after the breakthrough of the Indian Anglophone novel, is now in its complex entirety a space of extremely lively and variegated narrative production. After the groundbreaking postcolonial sweep of the 80s and 90s with Rushdie, Roy, Seth, Mistry to set the model, in the third millennium a vast train of authors continue to experiment with a multifarious variety of trends, genres, forms and voices, exploring also the intersections between English and the other regional languages and literatures of the subcontinent. Among the different nation-states comprising South Asia, namely India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Nepal, a new generation of writers chart out a vibrant and energetic literary landscape in which the novelistic and other modes, such as the graphic novel, the autobiography or the diary, question changing notions of authorship and interrogate the role of translation in creating reading communities across national borders.
Millennium’s Children intends to explore new possible foreground subjects, styles and genres, so as to contribute to a reflection on the expressive possibilities of narrative prose in English and in translation in the 21st century. What devices does it still offer to the children of the new Millennium, those heirs of 1981 Rushdie’s novel in need of attuning to a particularly challenging contemporary scene? How do these writers delineate new political geographies necessary to locate the position of those who have lost their voice or are in need to speak for the first time?
Due to the unmatched variedness of its social composition, the complex network of relations between different castes, religions, ethnic and social groups, the political unrest of the region, and the rapid growth of its economic and technological capabilities, it is no surprise that in South-Asian literature the themes dominant in writing from and about the subcontinent cannot but engage intensely with civic, public, political, historical and at the same time personal, individual, affective issues.
In welcoming essays dealing with development and ecological emergencies, persisting casteism and limited access to literacy, internal displacement and diaspora, gender troubles and religious violence together with the exhilarating effects of neo-liberal globalization, modernity’s fast-changing pace in megalopolises and global cities, communication, the media and the economy of call centers and reality shows, we invite scholars to discuss the expansion and specialization of the publishing industry in response to new reading practices.
Dalit and tribal literature, women fiction, the novel of the North-East and other border regions, as well as chick-lit, crick-lit, crime, detective and sci-fi fiction will be welcome areas of analysis. With Millennium’s Children we wish to gather scholars actively willing to discuss, to paraphrase once again Salman Rushdie, how newness enters the novel.