Healing Practices and Beliefs in Literatures of the Americas  (Panel)


Comparative Literature / American/Diaspora

Tania Nicolaou (Graduate Center, CUNY)

How does contemporary fiction of the Americas and Caribbean explore practices of healing? This panel considers all aspects of healing, including but not limited to religion, indigenous practices and rituals, the spiritual, and through community and the collective. How does their depiction in literature allow for generative further discussion about identity, culture, and tradition, and what does this mean in the 21st century?

With the 2022 conference theme of CARE, and the trauma experienced over the past year, this panel directs us towards a space of healing. Papers may include foci around the representation of healing practices in literature and visual arts, including indigenous practices of healing and community narratives of care and nurturing. Healing practices and their depiction take place in various forms, so there is no one way to explore this topic. It might be exploring a Chicano author’s representation of Curanderismo (Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me Ultima), a text that deals with Santería or other Afro-Caribbean religions, or YA protest fiction that looks to the shared space of care and healing through community organizing (Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give).

Naturally, questions and discussion that will arise are those of identity, culture, history, diaspora, indigeneity, Postcolonialism (and Decolonialism), among many others. This topic is broad in scope, and all papers that consider the geographical region of the Americas in relation to healing and its representation within the 20th and 21st centuries are welcome for submission.

How does contemporary fiction of the Americas and Caribbean explore practices of healing? This panel considers all aspects of healing, including but not limited to religion, indigenous practices and rituals, the spiritual, and through community and the collective. How does their depiction in literature allow for generative further discussion about identity, culture, and tradition, and what does this mean in the 21st century?