CFP: ACLA [comp lit] conference in puerto rico, 11-14 april 2002
appended below is a call for papers for next spring's ACLA conference . .
. for those
unfamiliar with the unusual way that conference is structured, it's very
pointing out that the ACLA (American Comparative Literature Association)
day seminars at the annual conference . . . those who give a paper in any
are expected to attend the same seminar throughout the conference, thereby
a very welcome (and all too rare) opportunity for extended dialogue about
a single issue
. . . participants also have the opportunity to sit in on any other
seminars that do not
meet at the same time . . . full details may be found at the conference
the following proposal is designed to take advantage of the opportunity
rumination about a topic that opens up in multiple directions
requests for further information should be addressed to Mike Frank <[log in to unmask]>
1-2 page proposals by October 1, 2001, also to <[log in to unmask]> ,
copy to Kathleen Komar <[log in to unmask]>.
MCGUFFIN AS METAPHOR/METONYMY
Alfred Hitchcock often talked about his use of a *McGuffin,* an element
in a film that sets the plot in motion, but ultimately turns out to be of
little interest -- for example the "government secrets" that motivate the
action of North by Northwest but that almost no one in the audience?and hardly any of the characters
in the film--ever thinks about at all.
Discussions of the McGuffin have generally been limited to its role as a
simple narrative trick used by Hitchcock. But it's likely that this
device is more than a mere trick, and that it may be found in places other
than Hitchcock films. That likelihood is the topic that this seminar
proposes to consider.
The consideration will take two forms, narratological and thematic.
NARRATOLOGICAL: A device as useful as the McGuffin certainly must appear
elsewhere than in Hitchcock. Part of the seminar will explore the use of
McGuffins in other narratives. Papers are invited discussing the use of
the McGuffin -- or similar devices -- in other works, or discussing the
narratological implications of the device itself.
THEMATIC: Narrative devices have implications. Papers are invited
considering these implications, either abstractly -- as a matter of
theoretical interest -- or in relationship to the way a McGuffin shapes
the meaning of particular narratives, both fiction and film. Sample
questions might include:
--What are we to make of a narrative in which the interest of the
characters and the interest of the audience do not coincide?
--Does the reliance on a McGuffin suggest a lack of a significant goals
shared by characters and audience? What might such a lack reveal about the
discursive community in which it plays a shaping part?
--How might we want to read the distance between the McGuffin [the
ostensible interest in the story] and what we take as its 'real' interest?
This seminar, in short, seeks to explore the ways in which Hitchcock's
'innocent' term could be used as a useful tool for analyzing narrative.
Papers that explore this question from any vantage point are welcome.
Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
University of Alabama: http://www.tcf.ua.edu