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Sensing Migrant Romanticism

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Organizer: Tanvi Solanki

Co-Organizer: Carlos Abreu Mendoza

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In his influential study of Romanticism, M. H. Abrams famously claimed that radical aesthetic novelties “frequently turn out to be migrant ideas which, in their native intellectual habitat, were commonplaces.” This panel seeks to embrace such migrancy to go beyond the confines of European culture and periodization and even question the assumptions about originality, propriety, legitimacy, and imitation embedded in Abrams and later interpreters of Romanticism. 


We are interested in the ebbs and flows of ideas not only running from North to South but also from South to North to East. Taking our cue from Manu Samriti Chander’s Brown Romantics (2017) and the volumes Global Romanticism (2014) and British Romanticism in Asia (2019), the seminar seeks to bring together papers which critically examine the imitation, adaptation, borrowing, repurposing, and translation of what are now considered European concepts and ideas of aesthetics (i.e the sublime, genius, nature, universal poetry). 


We are particularly interested in the significance of sensory aspects which are not ocularcentric in the engagement with concepts, tropes, and ideas traditionally linked with European Romanticism through cross-cultural transcontinental networks across (and beyond) the Global South. 


We propose the following topics and aims as a guide for participants: 
  • Theorizations of Romanticism through the production, reception, or dissemination of its undergirding tropes across the Global South.

  • The role of periodicals and marginalized formats in the storage and recording of memories in the circulation of romantic ideas beyond Europe.

  • Thinking beyond the ocularcentrism of romantic discourse to start building aural, haptic, and multisensorial projects of global Romanticism which do not comply with the European borders of Romantic traditions inherited by the ocularcentric Enlightenment. 

  • The fluid transnational practices of poetic forms and genres that are no longer inherently tied to European contexts.     

  • How were institutions, infrastructure, and communication channels changing the minds of people in conversation with European Romanticism both within and beyond what was geographically and culturally marked as European?

  • How might decentering Romanticism away from Europe change our narratives of the emergence of ‘modernity’ and its institutions, such as the nation-building and/or the research university?

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