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"Towards a Non-Eurocentric Comparative Literature Poetics: Studying Representations of Indigeneity on the Oceanic Stage," Marc Maufort, professor of Anglophone literatures, Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium (ULB) and current editor of Recherche littéraire/Literary Research.

This event is presented by COMPASS: The Comparative Literature Graduate Student Organization at UGA, the department of comparative literature and intercultural studies, and the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts. A reception in the lobby of Joe Brown Hall will be held after the talk.

This lecture explores the possibility of developing a comparative literature poetics that would transgress the Eurocentric boundaries of traditional comparative literature methodology. The decision of the International Comparative Literature Association (ICLA) to create a research group on the comparative history of East-Asian literatures actually reflects the current wish shared by many scholars to expand the horizons of comparative literature beyond a Euro-American context, by using methodologies taking into account the specificity of non-European cultures. Maufort contends that a study of the different ways in which Indigenous dramatists from the Oceanic region shape their representations of Indigeneity while addressing the issue of globalisation offers such an opportunity. He will thus adopt a transnational perspective in order to analyze two plays from different oceanic cultures, Tammy Hail’ōpua Baker’s Kupua (Hawaii, 2001) and Albert Wendt’s The Songmaker’s Chair (Samoa/New Zealand, 2003). Following in the wake of Chadwick Allen, this talk places these innovative works in a “close together” conversation, while emphasizing the different themes and aesthetic devices they enlist in their positioning of Indigeneity as a site of resistance against global homogenization. Both works rely on local idioms in their attempts to preserve Indigenous identities. This subversive attitude towards Euro-American modes of expression enables the creation of idiosyncratic forms of magical realism steeped in Indigenous cosmologies.

Maufort has written and (co)-edited a number of volumes on Eugene O’Neill, American drama, and Anglophone postcolonial theatre, among which one can list Staging Difference: Cultural Pluralism in American Theatre and Drama (1995); Crucible of Cultures: Anglophone Drama at the Dawn of a New Millennium (2002); Transgressive Itineraries: Postcolonial Reconstructions of Dramatic Realism (2003); Performing Aotearoa: New Zealand Theatre and Drama in an Age of Transition (2007); and Labyrinth of Hybridities. Avatars of O’Neillian Realism in Multi-ethnic American Drama 1972-2003 (2010). His most recent book publication is Forays into Contemporary South African Theatre: Devising New Stage Idioms (co-edited with Jessica Maufort, 2020).

Event Details

  • Peter Oneill
  • Casandra Aigbogun
  • Saurabh Anand

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