Literature: a Special Issue of Australian Literary Studies and Postcolonial .
In Michel Foucault describes the emergence of a modern form of power-knowledge, built around the administration of bodies and the management of life, and distinguishes it from an older form of sovereign power: “the ancient right to take life or let live was replaced by a power to foster life or disallow it to the point of death.” It is a formula that has subsequently informed work on everything from health care to genocide. Partly through the influence of Giorgio Agamben’s work on “bare life” and ’s work on “necropolitics,” it also plays an increasingly important role in redescriptions of colonialism and its legacies, even as the relationship between sovereignty and biopolitics has been sharply debated.
What is the historical relationship between literary discourse and biopolitical practice? How useful is the notion of biopolitics for a general sense of literary history, and for work in specific colonial and postcolonial contexts? How might it change our sense of the archive, or question prevailing modes of periodization? How might it help us connect the colonial past to the global present?
Topics might include (but certainly aren’t limited to) narratives of invasion and extinction, regimes of protection and assimilation, fictions of hybridity and miscegenation, the relationship between sexuality and sovereignty, the nation as a biopolitical category, and broader discourses on race, citizenship, public health, immigration, security and border control.
Final submissions would be due by February 1, 2011.
Please send papers and enquiries to Andrew McCann at Andrew.McCann@Dartmouth.Edu