!!17th International Conference on Contemporary Narratives in English
__University of Zaragoza, Spain\\
30th March – 1st April 2022__
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The emergence of the transmodern paradigm has brought to the fore central concerns of contemporary life
such as globalisation and its concomitant phenomena of cosmopolitanism, global interconnectedness and
transnationalism, the latter implying a growing fluidity of spatial barriers. In the transmodern debate, these
notions are not devoid of complexity. Thus, while borders become more and more permeable, the populist
backlash against immigration is at the same time reinforcing national boundaries, creating an “era of walls”
(Miller). Paradoxes like this should call attention to the fact that the apparent erosion of spatial and temporal
borders derived from globalisation and digital technology runs the risk of projecting a premature celebratory
vision of reality as one without restrictions. Our focus falls, therefore, on “transmodern narrative[[s] of the
limit”, which are narratives “of fracture” (Rodríguez Magda 26) that mirror the contradictions and fissures of
our present transnational realities. In that vein, we call for papers that explore the tensions and the
possibilities inherent in the concept of the limit, as illustrated by the following:

!Limit as boundary

Crossing geo-political boundaries potentially creates a sense of dislocation, which, if voluntarily undertaken,
may generate a sense of excitement and adventure while it is bound to be traumatic if forced on the
individual. The latter instance can bring about feelings of uprootedness, homelessness and personal
fragmentation that find artistic expression in much contemporary literature. To counteract these disrupting
forces, new formulations of selfhood and community are needed, involving a new sense of communal
belonging and of global human interconnection. Furthermore, fragmentation and dislocation intensify the
vulnerability of human beings already increasingly exposed to institutionalised violence (due to economic
deregulation, global warfare, sanitary pandemics, etc.), creating a growing need for global empathy and an
ethics and politics of care.

!Limit as exclusion (“off-limits”)

As Enrique Dussel argues, transmodernity “affirms ‘from ''without''’ the essential components of modernity’s
own excluded cultures in order to develop a new civilization for the twenty-first century” (224). The
European Enlightenment favoured the consolidation of metanarratives structured around dichotomies: the
human vs. the nonhuman, the rational vs. the brute, science vs. art, word vs. image, culture vs. nature, reality
vs. fiction, etc. For Dussel, postmodernity does not really change this since it stays within a Eurocentric,
neoliberal discourse. Yet, a wide new range of potentially transformative possibilities emerges when such
binaries are overcome, subverting also their underlying Euro- and Anthropocentric vision of reality. Starting
from these premises, we propose a consideration of those emerging transmodern narratives of(f) the limit
that struggle “to think what has not been conceptualized yet, to say what still has no name” (Rodríguez
Magda 21).

!New trends and genres

The last decades have witnessed the proliferation of new literary trends and genres which both highlight and
imagine solutions to the main challenges of our post-industrial, globalised world, such as “the cosmopolitan
novel”, “climate fiction”, “asylum narratives”, the “translit novel”, the “world novel”, “planetary fiction” and
the “networked novel”. In these emerging trends and genres, narrative form often evinces the strain of
tackling these issues, as is the case with “the novel of the fragment”, and “the limit-case narratives”
conflating fiction, testimony and (auto)biography. Similarly, the emergence of speculative genres such as
“Indigenous Futurism” and “Native Apocalypse” are challenging hegemonic imperialist discourses in new
ways and proving the importance of the pre-modern to understand our present and future. Other speculative
genres, such as “posthuman” and “transhuman” fiction, also bring to the fore the dangerous effects of our
present socio-political and cultural dominants on the future. In all of the said literatures, the setting,
transgression and/or blurring of temporal, spatial, symbolic, aesthetic and/or linguistic limits appear to be the
pivotal common ground.


*Dussel, Enrique. “World-System and ‘Trans’-Modernity.” ''Nepantia: Views from South'' vol. 3 no. 2, 2002, pp. 221–44.

*Miller, Todd. “The Era of Walls.” ''TomDispatch.com'', 7 Dec. 2017, tomdispatch.com/todd-miller-themarket- in-walls-is-growing-in-a-warming-world/.

*Rodríguez Magda, Rosa María. “The Crossroads of Transmodernity.” ''Transmodern Perspectives on Contemporary Literatures in English'', edited by Jessica Aliaga-Lavrijsen and José María Yebra-Pertusa, Routledge, 2019, pp. 21–29.
In light of the above, the main aim of this conference is to analyse and discuss the generic, formal, thematic
and ideological features of “transmodern literatures of(f) the limit” written in English and published after
1990. Proposals are sought for papers that address such questions as: How does transmodern literature
approach the notion of the limit? What generic, thematic, spatial, temporal and/or ideological borders are
being transgressed and/or reconfirmed in transmodern literatures in English? To what extent does their use of
innovative and/or canonised generic features differ from pre-modern, modern and postmodern literatures in
English? What is the role of the off-limits of modernity in contemporary transmodern literatures in English?
Do transmodern literatures of(f) the limit contribute to envisioning a transmodernity that, as predicted by
Dussel, “will be multicultural, versatile, hybrid, postcolonial, pluralist, tolerant, and democratic (but beyond
the modern liberal democracy of the European state)” (236), or, conversely, do they constitute a “melancholy
loop” (Rodríguez-Magda 24) foregrounding a conservative essentialist vision of the past?
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We invite proposals for 20-minute papers addressing these questions. Contributions are welcome that engage
with, but are not limited to the following areas of interest and research:
*Transmodernity/Transmodern Studies
*Literatures of cosmopolitanism, transnationalism and globalisation
*Migration Studies
*Human Rights Studies
*Postcolonial Studies
*Indigenous Studies
*Dalit Studies
*Gender and Queer Studies
*Trauma Studies
*Ethics Studies
*Memory Studies
*Posthumanist Studies

The conference is organised by Claus Peter Neumann and Pilar Royo-Grasa on behalf of the research project
“Literature in the Transmodern Era: Celebration, Limits and Transgression”, financed by the Spanish
Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO) (FFI2017-84258-P), as part of the research carried
out by the competitive group “Contemporary Narrative in English”, financed by the Government of Aragón
and the European Social Fund (ESF) (code H03_20R), at the English and German Department of the
University of Zaragoza, Spain.
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__Guidelines for submission:__ Please go to [http://eventos.unizar.es/go/transmodernlimits], register in the
“Abstract Submission” section and enter the title of your proposal, an abstract of 300-400 words, 5-6
keywords and a 100-150-word bionote, as well as author name(s) and affiliation(s), by the __30th of September 2021__.
The language of the conference is English.
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For questions, please, contact us at: [transmodernlimits@gmail.com|mailto:transmodernlimits@gmail.com].\\
Download the [call|CFP Transmodern Literatures of(f) the Limit.pdf].
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