“Woman must write her self: must write about women and bring women to writing, from which they have been driven away as violently as from their bodies – for the same reasons, by the same law, with the same fatal goal.
Women must put herself into the text – as into the world and into history – by her own movement.” With this, the opening of her famous essay, “The Laugh of the Medusa,” French feminist critic and literary author Hélène Cixous calls women writers to create new texts in the mode of what she terms an “écriture féminine.”
Recent events suggest that we live in an ever more offendable world. Images of the Prophet, of Christ, of ourselves; words of the Pope, of the Hungarian Prime Minister, the words and images of Mel Gibson, the world-view of Borat, to mention just the most recent. Just as offence can be advertently or inadvertently given, so it can be genuinely or strategically taken. When it is given and taken deliberately it is part of an explicit process of relations of power. When it is inadvertently given and taken, it is part of social or cultural misunderstanding (or implicit relations of power). This conference is deeply interested in both processes.
American poetry and poetics have repeatedly called upon or taken refuge in so-called Oriental cultures, which include Asian cultures east of the Mediterranean as well as African cultures, especially those of Morocco, Algeria, and Egypt. In this way American poetic practice and theory have, on the one hand, participated in creating dominant notions of 'the Orient.' We should remember, on the other hand, that while our contemporary understanding of the terms Orient and Orientalism capitalizes on Western notions of cultural dominance over 'the East,' poetic references to and adaptations from Asian cultures became most prominent at ('revolutionary') times when the genre underwent fundamental transformations of its forms and cultural functions, that is during Romanticism, modernism, and early postmodernism. In the history of American poetry, Orientalism and modernity thus seem inextricably linked and inseparable from processes of colonization and modernization as well as decolonization.
For the completion of a special issue on "Gender and Illness," the multidisciplinary online journal "gender forum", affiliated with the University of Cologne, Germany, seeks 2-3 articles discussing the intersection and mutual implications of gender and illness. We welcome contributions all disciplines.
Since the end of the Cold War, scholarship has provided new definitions of conflict that have attempted to reconfigure the identity of the 'enemy' or 'other'. Whether in the realm of personal interaction or political engagements, the changing nature of global politics in the post-Cold War era has fundamentally impacted the many ways people see themselves in relation to others. This inter-disciplinary conference encourages fresh scrutiny of contemporary debates concerning the relevance of 'globalisation', and the rise of the media to the so-called 'war on terror'.