(Un)Marked: Intersection of the Universal and the Particular
What lies at the intersection of the universal and the particular?
Culture--a phenomenon that is simultaneously universal and particular, unmarked and marked.
Culture permeates all human interaction: every human society has a culture, a language, a literature, a song, a dance, an art. Yet each culture is simultaneously highly particular, unique, unlike the others.
Culture is a phenomenon that is paradoxically marked and unmarked. The unmarked, a linguistic term that also surfaces outside the field, refers to a default or base linguistic form. In the realm of literature and culture, this idea extends to a prototypical person, a universal person, a person without cultural identity or nation to "mark" him or her.
Culture is a trait of the archetypal person, the unmarked person, the hypothetical person who is able to speak X language, appreciate Y form of art, create Z form of theater. Every human being has a culture. At the same time, cultures vary widely in form, and each culture is marked by alterity.
We welcome papers studying aspects of French, francophone, Italian, and italophone literature, language and culture that call attention to the universal, the particular, or the area where the two intersect.
Submissions can include but are not limited to the following topics:
Unmarked / Universal
· (Trans)national communities
e.g. religious, political, economic
· Myth and legend
Marked / Particular
· Diasporine or minority cultures and languages
· Definitions of alterity, otherness, strangeness, perversity
· Fringe or peripheral cultures
· Borderlands and frontierlands
· Migration or (trans)nationalism
Abstract deadline February 2, 2009!