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Call for Panel Paper Presentation: “Post-Magical Realism in the Post-truth Era”

CCLA  Annual Conference, June 21 – 24, 2022

Call for Panel Paper Presentation: “Post-Magical Realism in the Post-truth Era.”

The Canadian Comparative Literature Association invites contributions to the 2022 annual conference on the theme of “Divergence and Convergence in Comparative Literature” within the context of equity, diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism from June 21 to 24, 2022.

CCLA/ACLA Congress 2022 will take place primarily virtually, with possible in-person social gatherings regionally on June 24, 2022.

Panel Topic CFP: Post Magical Realism in the Post-truth Era

Organized by Jill Planche PhD (independent scholar and instructor, Brock U)

This panel will explore the role of post-magical realism in the post-truth era in which, Salman Rushdie argues, “political demagoguery . . . seeks to do what authoritarians have always wanted—to undermine the public’s belief in evidence, and to say to their electorates, in effect, ‘Believe nothing except me, for I am the truth.’” The consequences of this “new, argumentative, even polemical attitude to the real,” he argues, “has profound implications for literature—that we can’t, or ought not to, pretend it isn’t there.”

‘Post-truth,’ the Oxford English Dictionary word of the year in 2016, is described as a circumstance in which “objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”; the hyphened prefix indicating “a time in which the specified concept has become unimportant or irrelevant”; that truth has been eclipsed.

Post-truth rhetoric might be seen through Mikhail Bakhtin’s notion of a battle taking place in and among discourses “to become ‘the language of truth,’ a battle for what Foucault has called ‘power knowledge’” (Slemon).

How do we read post-truth’s political rhetoric of disruption—lacking any irony or satire—of decolonizing narratives of colonial violence and otherness? How does the post-truth condition contest magical realism’s challenge to “modernism’s ahistorical burden of the past” (Hutcheon)? Slemon views magical realism as a positive and liberating response to “codes of imperial history and its legacy of fragmentation and discontinuity.” Is its deterritorializing strategy for revisioning the tyrany of the past in a complex reimagining being reterritorialized by Rushdie’s “political demagoguery” to subvert these “codes of recognition”?  

What might be the role of magical realism in a world in which truth has become eclipsedto allow those dispossessed, silenced, and marginalized by dominating systems “again find voice, and enter into the dialectic continuity of on-going community and place that is our ‘real’ cultural heritage” (Slemon)?

Speaking to the conference themes of Converging (territorializing) and Diverging (deterritorializing), and bearing in mind Anne Hegerfeldt’s argument that “magic realist fiction indicates that knowledge and reality cannot be reduced to hard facts, but that people’s dreams and fears, ideas, stories and beliefs must equally be taken into account,” topics might include:

  • Post-truth: overturning the decolonization of “truths”
  • Contested hermeneutics of truth in the post-truth condition
  • “Alternative facts” and magical realist stories and histories  
  • Reading between the lines of post-truth narratives of control  
  • Post-truth and the age-old question: who is speaking or writing, from where, for whom and why?

To participate on the panel:

Please submit 250-300 word abstracts for 15-20-minute presentations as MS Word attachments (indicating the title of the panel in the subject of your email) to the Post-Magical Realist Worlds research group chairs or panel organizer by 15 December, 2020.

Agata Mergler

Justyna Poray-Wybranowska

(Panel Organizer) Jill Planche

About the Post-Magical Realist Worlds Research Groups:

Post-Magical Realist Worlds research groups

If you are interested in participating in this group please contact: Agata Mergler, or Justyna Poray-Wybranowska


Anne Hegerfeldt. Lies that Tell the Truth: Seen Through Contemporary Fiction in Britain. Rodopi, 2005.

Hutcheon, Linda. “Circling the Downspout of Empire.” In Post-Colonial Studies Reader, Bill Ashcroft et al, Routledge, 1995, pp. 130-5.

Oxford Languages. Word of the Year 2016.

Rushdie, Salman. “Truth, Lies and Literature.” The New Yorker. 31 May 2018.

Stephen Slemon, “Magic Realism as Post-Colonial Discourse.” Canadian Literature 116, Spring, 1988, pp. 9-24.