21st-Century Literature (Panel / In-Person)


Standing Session
World Literatures and Comparative Studies / Geographies of the Fantastic and the Quotidian

Kristoffer Ekroll (University of California - Riverside)
Kekr@****.com (Log-in to reveal)

In conjunction with the conference theme, panelists are invited to consider the ecological and social implications of human space-making. How does the global literature of the twenty-first century rise to address the rising forms of inequality, planetary exploitation, and spatial divides both in the cyberworld and the real? Does the formation of one space automatically exclude another? Presenters may also consider how the city figures as a crucial site in politics, migration, and as participant in various kinds of contemporary terror and horror.
Geography matters in the twenty-first century. According to the 2022 World Migration Report, 3.6% of the world population were moving across international borders. Such largescale movement leads to new spatial formations and possibilities. In The Practice of Everyday Life, Michel de Certeau distinguishes place as “an instantaneous configuration of positions. It implies an indication of stability” (117) and space as the introduction of mobile elements into the place. “In short, space is a practiced place” (117) that forms through human interactions with their environment. The inhabitant of the place transforms it into a space. At the same time, the once-envisioned borderless cyberspace is becoming increasingly centered in the hands of select companies and websites enforcing a limiting stability. What are spaces capable of, and how does literature address the significance of spaces, both locally and globally? Are authors working to alter, exploit, or combat modes of power through their portrayal of spaces and places? This session invites papers from all fields. Presenters are also invited to consider how cities figure as crucial nodes in politics, migration, commerce, and as sites of various kinds of contemporary terror and joy.