Archive | January 2013

Study Day at Oxford

BruceProustLL

CALL FOR PAPERS

PROUST

POSTGRADUATE STUDY DAY

Friday 26th April 2013, Worcester College, Oxford

Organised by
Jennifer Rushworth, Worcester College, Oxford, and Richard Mason, King’s College London

We are pleased to open the Call for Papers for an upcoming postgraduate study day especially dedicated to graduate students working on Proust. The aim of this venture is to encourage dialogue and collaboration between current students of Proust and to gain a greater awareness of trends at the cutting edge of Proust studies. Since postgraduate study in the humanities can often be an isolated affair, the motivation behind this study day is that of enabling discussion and the sharing of ideas within a friendly and informal environment, and the establishment of a network of early-career Proustians for the purposes of future events and research.

Papers, in either English or French, should be a maximum of 20 minutes and should aim to present a significant aspect of the speaker’s current research, however provisional or tentative. New theoretical approaches to Proust, as well as any other aspect of Proustian research (sources, intertexts, and so forth), are particularly welcome.

Please email 250-word abstracts (text only, no attachments please) by 1st March 2013 to both jennifer.rushworth@worc.ox.ac.uk and richard.mason@kcl.ac.uk. Please remember to include your name, affiliation, and thesis title.

There will be a registration fee of £10 payable on the day to cover the costs of organisation and refreshments.

Time in European Modernism

clock-screen01 CFP MDRN conference 1: Time and Temporality in European Modernism and the Avant-Gardes (16-18 Sept. 2013)
 
Call for papers
 
Time and Temporality
in European Modernism and the Avant-Gardes (1900-1950)
16-18 September 2013 – KU Leuven, Belgium
 
This three-day conference aims to canvass the breadth and depth of the issues of time and temporality in European modernist writing and classic avant-garde literature.
It has often been argued that so-called “high” modernist and avant-garde writing were perhaps the first to investigate in detail the problems of time and temporality. As a result, reflection on both issues in (“new”) modernism and avant-garde studies abounds. To date, however, we lack a systematic understanding of the different forms and functions of time and temporality in the writing from the period. It is this lacuna the present conference aims to fill. We are particularly interested in (general as well as innovative case-based) considerations of modernist and avant-garde writing and practices that tackle one of the following questions:
  • How was time represented? What genres, techniques and means were deployed to evoke time?
  • In what ways was the literary representation of time influenced by (changes in) other media and art forms?
  • Which temporalities (bodily and natural time, mechanical and machine time, private and public time, etc.) were evoked and how did they interrelate?
  • How was the flow of time conceived (teleological, multilayered and -directional, cyclical, etc.) and what temporal regimes (for example, favoring the present, past or future; continuity and tradition or rupture and revolution) were at work in modernism, the avant-garde, and cognate phenomena like the so-called arrière-garde? What hitherto ignored temporal modes require further scrutiny?
  • What were the ramifications of modernist and avant-garde conceptions of time for the practice of reading, the history of the book (classics, pockets, …), and more generally for the social and cultural legitimation of literature?
  • What other (perhaps less well studied) discourses (physics, biology, engineering, philosophy, etc.) informed literary reflection on time and temporality and how were insights from these other discourses translated in literary practice?
  • How was time experienced and what were its implications for our understanding of the modern body, identity and subjectivity?
  • Were there noticeable variations in how time was dealt with in modernist and avant-garde writing in different parts of Europe (and beyond)? What, more generally, were the implications of the views of time for the understanding of space and place (in writing)?
  • Does the conception of time change in the course of the period 1900-1950, and, if so, what are the (social, literary, philosophical, …) conditions of emergence and consequences of these changes?
We welcome paper and panel proposals before 15 February 2013 on these and other questions crucial to any mapping of the literary timescape between 1900-1950. By analyzing in-depth how modernist and avant-garde writing reflected on time and change, we ultimately aim to explore the ramifications of these ideas for the literary historiography of the period.
Proposals are welcome from individuals, and from panels of three or four. We especially welcome panel proposals and prefer panels where members are drawn from different institutions, preferably across national boundaries.
Panel proposals should include the following information.
  1. Title of panel
  2. Name, address and email contact of Panel Chair
  3. A summary of the panel topic (300 words)
  4. A summary of each individual contribution (300 words)
  5. Name, address and email contact of  individual contributors
  6. Short biography of all contributors, incl. main publications and areas of expertise
Individual proposals should include the following information.
  1. Title of paper
  2. Name, address and email of contributor
  3. A summary of the contribution (300 words)
  4. Short biography of the contributor, incl. main publications and areas of expertise
Guided tours of the Husserl archive at KU Leuven will be offered to delegates upon request. A conference website is under construction. With proposals or any further questions at this stage contactsascha.bru@arts.kuleuven.be.

The Sweetness of Confusion

quijoteAs Foucault argues in History of Madness, there is just a subtle line between reason and madness. Is the madman completely crazy or the sensible one totally reasonable? What parameters does medicine apply to place such a border? Could “madness” have periods of more lucidity than reason?

K-Pax is an interesting film which exemplifies how madness and reason can be easily confused; how the rationality of medicine is sometimes weak as disease. You can find the whole film in Youtube, by the way, please enjoy the English trailer.

 

Beyond Difference: Let them be

Einstein-semilla-11Diderot shows in Rameau’s Nephew a conversation between an enlightened philosopher and a quite extravagant musician, Rameau. While the former argues for virtue and education, the latter enjoys vices and art. Several topics are discussed across the dialogue such as ethics and aesthetics, education, or moral, all them upon the light of the Enlightenment. However, one important idea, which goes across from the beginning till the end, is the acceptance of the different by the society as an expression of the genius.

Rameau explains to the philosopher his dissolute life and his unacceptable thoughts. The philosopher thinks of Rameau to be a complete madman, and Rameau says of the society to be completely hypocrite. In fact, as the philosopher realizes at the end, Rameau says what everybody think and do without saying it. Rameau has a gift, an excellence sensibility for music and, at the same time, he is terribly honest. He is different. He is different because he is not playing the social rules, he is unconventional. Instead of accepting the norms, he unmasks them and the game people play.

Therefore, madness is, until certain point, an institutional tag,  and doctors are the new high caste of the Western modernity, especially psychiatrists. Medicine has become a new control of society, especially when it is ruled by doctors who serve the Pharmaceutical industry. Rameau is a genius, therefore, superior, therefore dangerous for those who attempt to avoid difference. As Tony Tanner interprets in The Novel of the Adultery: Contract and Transgression, the real occupation of the pharmacist, Monsieur Homais, in Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, is to label people, among them, the adulteress. Labelling here is linked to the lack of freedom and to the adulteress’ suicide.

The different has been avoided until today. Medicine becomes stronger and stronger and there is no acceptance of the being. The popular TDAH (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), for example, affects to a great number of children and teenagers. The secondary effects of the drugs which are employed to avoid some of the TDAH symptoms are terrible. One of them is schizophrenia. But the Pharmaceutical industry makes great amounts of money with such treatments.

I propose a reflection about the difference and the individual freedom to consider if we should permit to be labelled.

Postgraduate Conference: Ghosts in the Flesh

Phantoms

Ghosts in the Flesh

24th-25th May, 2013 – University of Kent, Canterbury

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Esther Peeren, University of Amsterdam

While ghosts in the dominant Western tradition have often been associated with other-wordliness or liminality, the aim of this conference is to critically examine discourses and texts which emphasise the corporeality and physicality of ghosts and the ghostly. Allowing ghosts to occupy the centre rather than the periphery challenges – and allows us to reconsider anew – a number of key oppositions such as: life and death, inside and outside, corporeality and incorporeality, self and other, present reality and past memory, and so on.

This commitment to thinking the reality of the incorporeal can be clearly identified, for example, in the Stoic turn in twentieth century French thought. The ancient Stoics developed a form of materialism which admitted four “incorporeals” into their ontology – place, time, the void, and “expressibles” (linguistic sense or meaning). While being the proximate surface-effects of material or corporeal causes, “incorporeals” were seen as filling out the dimensions of the cosmos, itself a single surface expanding and contracting to the rhythm of bodily actions and passions. These incorporeals were considered as having almost zero being or substance, yet they were required to complete the Stoics’ materialism. For Deleuze, the Stoics were thus the first to “reverse” Platonism – the ideal world of Forms no longer seen as transcendent and as now nothing more than an incorporeal lining co-extensive with the sensible world – with the corporeal and the incorporeal neither simply the cause nor the effect of the other.

Perhaps it is psychoanalysis which develops this hypothesis the furthest. Psychoanalysis considers castration – the infant’s awareness of the mother’s lack of a penis – as constituting a deadlock in the infant’s reality. This deadlock is displaced in part thanks to the development of the phantasm – literally a ghost – a psychical structure composed of de-personalised memories, a kind of death through which the infant must pass in order to further its psychical development, and thanks to which the infant can re-connect with the materiality of reality.

Psychoanalysis emphasises the importance of memory in the present, and we should consider memory as a privileged site of the ghostly. More generally, Derrida’s concept of “hauntology” – which refers to the state of the spectre as neither being nor non-being – argues for the existence of the “present” as inseparable from that of the “past”, an individual or society’s past as both revenant and out-of-joint, and as essential to one’s continued survival in the present.

Bearing in mind lines of argumentation such as these, we wish to explore questions of ghostliness and in/corporeality in a number of fields, including but not limited to the following:

  • Ghosts in Literature and Cinema (Gothic Literature and its critiques, Magical Realism, the double)
  • Virtual Reality and Digital Arts (virtual space, digital performance theory, MMO RPG’s, simulation games)
  • Memory and Architecture
  • Memory and Archaeology or History
  • Theatre (repetition, embodiment)
  • Philosophy and Theology (mind-body dualisms and their critiques, “difficult atheism” in continental philosophy)
  • Critical theory (psychoanalytic theory, literary theory)

Please send abstracts (350 words) and a short bio-bibliographic note to skepsi@kent.ac.uk by 22nd February 2013.
The conference is organised by Skepsi, a peer reviewed postgraduate journal based in the School of European Culture and Languages at the University of Kent and funded by the University of Kent.