2021 Conference

2021 Meeting of the Society for Comparative Literature and the Arts
October 14-16, 2021
Hilton Garden Inn Downtown/Convention Center
Austin, Texas

Keynote Speaker:

Professor Jane Gallop
Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Call for Papers

Spaces, long taken for granted or relegated to the mere background, have become much more significant in cultural theory in the twenty-first century. To be sure, the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the significance of spatiality in innumerable ways, with restrictions on travel, remote learning, “lockdowns,” and the now ubiquitous concept of “social distancing” coming to dominate daily life in the present moment. With so many people limited in their movements, space and place seem all the more salient today.

Following the “spatial turn” in the humanities and social sciences, critics have increasingly turned their attentions to matters of space and place, spatial relations, geography, architecture, and mapping. Who we are and what we do, it seems, are ever more noticeably connected to where we are, to our location vis-à-vis others, and our place within both a geographical setting and a more abstract, spatial framework, such as social hierarchies or orders organized around center and periphery, for instance. Matters of space and spatiality are, in some senses, nothing new to literature and culture. Distinctive locales, regions, landscapes, or other pertinent geographical features are often crucial to the meaning and the effectiveness of literary works, and entire genres may be defined by such spatial or geographical characteristics, such as the pastoral poem, the travel narrative, utopia, or the urban exposé. With its discrete line breaks or presentation on the page, poetry often exhibits a markedly spatial form, and many literary works are complemented with maps, whether actually included in the text or merely projected and held in the mind of the reader, which are intended to help guide the reader through the storyworld or geography of the text. However, the last few decades have witnessed a profound reassertion of space in humanities, as matters of space, place, and mapping have come to the forefront of critical discussions of literature and culture. This “spatial turn” has had powerful repercussions for literary and cultural theory and practice in the twenty-first century.

For its 2021 conference in Austin, Texas, on Oct. 14-16, 2021, the Society for Comparative Literature and the Arts (SCLA) invites proposals for talks related to “spaces,” broadly conceived, as well as to other topics of interest, which might include some of the following:

  • Lived Spaces
  • Abstract Spaces
  • Space and Place
  • Architectural spaces
  • Literary geography
  • Urban Planning
  • Textual spaces
  • Landscapes
  • Visualization
  • Borders
  • Contact zones
  • Liminality
  • Cognitive mapping
  • Orientation Diaspora
  • Postcolonial spaces
  • Globalization
  • Spatial ontology
  • Oceanic spaces
  • Territory
  • Conquest
  • Buildings
  • Rooms
  • Heterotopia
  • Utopian spaces
  • Imaginary worlds
  • Science fictional spaces
  • Outer space
  • Localities
  • Fluvial spaces
  • Cities
  • Rural spaces
  • Non-places/Atopias
  • Race and place
  • Gendered spaces
  • Spaces of memory
  • Institutional spaces
  • Environmental issues
  • Spatial representation
  • Politics of space
  • Spatial theory
  • Geocriticism
  • Tourism and travel
  • Public vs. private
  • Toponyms

ABSTRACT DEADLINE: July 20th, 2021

Email: [email protected];

Panel and paper proposals related to the conference theme are especially encouraged, but all topics are welcome. Please submit panel proposals (500 words) and individual abstracts (250 words) by July 20, 2021. Please include in the body of the email your name, academic affiliation, status (faculty, grad student, etc.), and mailing address. For panel proposals, include the names, addresses, and affiliations for all participants.

Graduate students submitting a paper proposal may be eligible for an SCLA travel scholarship.

Hotel Information:

The 2021 SCLA conference will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn Austin Downtown/Convention Center. The address is 500 N Interstate Hwy 35, Austin TX, 78701. Rooms rates for the conference are $179 per night (Wednesday 10/13- Saturday 10/16). Reservations should be made by calling the Hotel Reservations at 1-800-445-8667. Individuals must identify themselves as being with the group, “SCLA Annual Conference,” at the time the reservation is made in order to receive the special rate.


Before September 15, the pre-registration fee is $120 for faculty, $65 for graduate students, $35 for undergraduates. After September 15, the fee is $130 for faculty, $75 for graduate students, and $40 for undergraduates; on-site registration will be available at these increased rates, payable with a credit card. In addition to the registration fees, you must be a member of SCLA. Registration and/or membership fees should be made using these secure links:


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