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Literature and art have always been used as a platform to break social norms and introduce alternative perspectives. By evaluating art, be it visual, textual or in other media, on the basis of its transgressive nature, we are able to examine the precarious and at times invisible social boundaries existing within our socio-political environment.


To transgress is to interrupt or reposition ways of understanding the world, whether in the disruption of tradition as accepted thought and behaviour, or in the questioning of modernity’s vaunted position as ideal and inevitable. To label art as transgression also invites the question as to what is considered transgressive and what is art.

We invite postgraduate students and lay researchers to explore how specific works of literature and art play a role in navigating our social and moral sensibilities and the context that serves as an incubator for such works. We welcome submission of abstracts on this topic from the standpoints of literary and cultural studies for a one-day colloquium to be held at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur on 14 December 2017. Apart from the more abstract theorizing about the nature of transgressive art, suggested areas of inquiry include, but are not limited to:

  • Examining transgression in literature, visual and performance arts, music, film, architecture and landscaping, fashion, and other cultural productions.
  • Adaptations and cross-genre explorations of art and literature
  • The healing as well as the destructive nature of transgression
  • Literature and art as resistance and/or renewal
  • Literature and art as transgressing historiographic discourse e.g. magic realism
  • Negotiating boundaries in art and literature - geographical, national, physical, social, sexual, moral, religious and others
  • Transgressive interpretations of traditional or canonical art and literature
  • Nature vs artifice
  • Negotiating the concept of the offensive and “haram”
  • Interrogating new identities and cultural diversity through transgressive art and/or literature
  • The body as the site of transgression
  • Human rights and environmental degradation

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 30 September 2017.  Please submit your abstract according to the format below.


Format for Submission of Abstracts


Current Institutional Affiliation:

E-mail Address:

Title of Paper:

Main Body of Abstract: (200- 300 words)

Keywords:  [Five keywords]

Biodata:  Confine this to a brief account of your academic or professional background, relevant publications, if any, and areas of research or academic interest [max 50 words].


Abstracts are to be submitted by e-mail to by 30 September 2017.

Notification of acceptance/rejection of your abstract will be sent to you by e-mail before 15 October 2017.

The working language for the colloquium is English.

Selected papers may be published in the Southeast Asian Review of English (SARE), an international peer-reviewed journal.







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