Call for Papers: The Dialectics of Orientalism in Early Modern Europe, 1492-1700, UIUC, Abstract Deadline November 15

The Dialectics of Orientalism in Early Modern Europe, 1492-1700
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, October 7-8, 2011

In early modern Europe, discourses on and images of the Orient and Islam are inextricably tied to the rise of national consciousness and the formation of a European identity as several Western states were striving for imperial supremacy. The goal of this international and interdisciplinary conference is to explore the dialectical function of early modern Orientalism for the creation of different notions of a collective self: national, European, and/or imperial.

We invite proposals for contributions that analyze the multiple uses of an imaginary Islam and Orient and compare at least two national orientalist discourses and/or the intersection of nation-building and the invention of Europeanness catalyzed through these discourses. Beyond being simplifications, what role do stereotypes play in the complex and often contradictory rhetorical dynamics that served to articulate, implement and promote both internal policies and supranational endeavors of imperial supremacy? To whom are these stereotypical representations addressed and through what media? In what instances does the creation of a fictive homogeneous nation lead to the conceptual “islamization” of minority groups? Is there a competition among European nation-states for the hegemony in the representation of the Oriental, and in which ways does it feed into a transnational rivalry for imperial power? What does the comparison of different national accounts of Orientalism reveal about the supposed homogeneity of the stereotypical Muslim?

Proposals for presentations of 20-25 min that address any of these or related questions will be evaluated by an interdisciplinary organizing committee. The conference language is English.

Please send a 250-500 word abstract by November 15 to earlymodernorientalism@illinois.edu, along with information about your professional affiliation and a brief cv or a reference to your personal website.

For more information, visit www.earlymodernorientalism.illinois.edu
or contact the organizers:

Marcus Keller (Department of French): mkeller@illinois.edu
Javier Irigoyen-García (Department of Spanish, Italian and
Portuguese): irigoyen@illinois.edu

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