CFP: Outcasts and Outliers in Literature, Music, and Visual Arts

55th Annual Comparative Literature Conference
California State University, Long Beach
April 14 - 15, 2020
Stichtag: 31.01.2020

The Comparative World Literature Program at California State University, Long Beach, invites abstracts for presentations at its 55th annual conference in Long Beach, California on the topic of Outcasts and Outliers.

From the canon wars of the 1980s and 1990s to the debates over the place of genre fiction, popular culture, and digital media in the classroom, the question of what to include—and what to omit—continues to provoke debate and response. But what do we do with those texts, topics, and people who have been cast out, or those who are such outliers that they were never included?

This conference will focus on the outcasts and outliers of literature, music, and the visual arts. That may mean attention to little-known texts, genres that are not typically addressed in a Comparative Literature context, characters and communities on the margins, and the notion of marginality itself.

We invite papers inspired by the following questions:

  • Do outliers map out the boundaries of a canon?
  • How do publishing designations such as “literary fiction” and “genre fiction” fail to account for outlier texts within both categories, and how do those categories leave some texts outcast?
  • What is the relationship of outsider art, broadly conceived, to “insider” art?
  • What is the relationship of digital media to print culture—and are new boundaries being drawn?
  • How do individual texts portray and engage notions of the outcasts and outliers?
  • What is the relationship of marginalization to being outcast and/or an outlier?

The Plenary Talk will be given by Dr. John Morgan, the emeritus Personal Chair in Greek at the University of Wales Swansea. The title of Dr. Morgan’s talk is: “Canon to the right of them, canon to the left of them: the politics of Classics in Great Britain.”

Proposals for 15-20 minute presentations should clearly explain the relationship of the paper to the conference theme, describe the evidence to be examined, and offer tentative conclusions. Abstracts of no more than 300 words (not including optional bibliography) should be submitted by January 31, 2020. Please submit abstracts as a Word document as an email attachment to ( Please do not embed proposals in the text of the email. The conference committee will review all proposals, with accepted papers receiving notification by February 14, 2020.

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