Call for Papers


Enchanting Literatures

The 26th Annual Comparative Literature Intra-Student Faculty Forum (CLIFF)

University of Michigan–Ann Arbor

Virtual | May 20-21, 2022

Keynote Speaker: Professor Michael Allan


Submission Deadline: February 20, 2022

How are our affective encounters with literature, art, and media bound by time, and how are we also—in such encounters—temporally unbound? If literary texts have variously been framed as anticipating, disruptive of, conforming to, producing, inhabiting, and/or responding to axes of time (as “timely,” “untimely,” “ahead of their time,” “nostalgic,” or “avant-garde”), they have likewise been understood as objects of pure fascination, aesthetic experience, and enchantment. 

Enchantment, in particular, is frequently understood as an ephemeral experience, unique to the moment of our encounter with the enchanting. We are enchanted by things for brief, passing moments; we sometimes return to a once-enchanting object only to find the glamor it once cast upon us has broken; and at other times, this rediscovery itself—re-encountering a text or encountering it in a new (translated, adapted) form—prompts our re-enchantment.

To mark its 26th anniversary, the University of Michigan Comparative Literature Intra-Student Faculty Forum (CLIFF) calls for submissions to a virtual graduate conference that critically and creatively explores the intersection of world literatures, temporalities, and enchantment. We welcome work that investigates literary and artistic constructions of and responses to notions of temporality and enchantment from aesthetic, historical, industrial, material, technological, speculative, post/colonial, feminist, queer, religious, translational, local and/or global perspectives. CLIFF 2022 invites submissions from graduate students (U-M and beyond) and is open to academic papers from across disciplines that deal with a wide variety of languages and time periods as well as creative and experimental genres. Proposals of no more than 250 words may be submitted to by February 20. Please include a short bio (100–150 words) with the abstract.

Some potential topics to explore might include but are not limited to: 

  • Enchantment in/with literature and art

  • Politics of/as enchantment

  • “World literature” as enchantment  

  • Modernities, technologies, and enchantment

  • History, temporalities, and literature

  • Modes of reading and writing

  • Literary production, circulation, and labor

  • Media and the representation of enchantment

  • Rupture, fragmentation, and enchantment

  • Attention, difficulty, and other barriers to aesthetic experience

  • Reception, translation, adaptation, and the aesthetics of temporal lag

  • Sacred and secular enchantments

  • Unlikely, wayward, or queer enchantments

  • Nostalgias, futurities, and utopias 

Michael Allan’s research focuses on debates in world literature, postcolonial studies, literary theory, as well as film and visual culture, primarily in Africa and the Middle East. In both his research and teaching, he bridges textual analysis with social theory, and draws from methods in anthropology, religion, queer theory and area studies. He is the author of In the Shadow of World Literature: Sites of Reading in Colonial Egypt (Princeton 2016, Co-Winner of the MLA Prize for a First Book) and of articles in venues such as PMLA, Modernism/Modernity, Comparative Literature Studies, Early Popular Visual Culture, The International Journal of Middle East Studies, and the Journal of Arabic Literature. He is also a guest editor of a special issue of Comparative Literature (“Reading Secularism: Religion, Literature, Aesthetics”), and with Elisabetta Benigni, an issue of Philological Encounters (“Lingua Franca: Toward a Philology of the Sea”). He is at work on a second book, Picturing the World: The Global Routes of Early Cinema, 1896-1903, which traces the transnational history of camera operators working for the Lumière Brothers film company.