We invite participation in seven seminars to be held at the fifth annual meeting of the Cultural Studies Association U.S. meeting, April 19-21 2007 in Portland, Oregon.
Seminars are small-group (minimum 8 individuals, maximum 15 individuals) discussion sessions for which participants write brief “position” papers, read common texts, or exchange project abstracts prior to the conference.
In order to participate in a seminar, please send an email message directly to the indicated seminar contact person with “Seminar Request” in the subject line. Your message should also include your name, contact information, and institutional affiliation.
Seminar requests should be sent by November 20, 2006. You will be notified of your acceptance by December 20, 2006. Seminar leaders will ask you for a presentation title to appear in the conference program. This should allow you to pursue travel funding at your home institutions.
Titles and e-mail contacts for each seminar are as follows:
1) Why We Need AgriCultural Studies
Seminar Contact: Susan Squier, Penn State University (email@example.com)
Seminar Contact: Matthew W. Hughey, University of Virginia (firstname.lastname@example.org)
3) The Resistance to Economics
Contact: Jan Mieszkowski, Reed College (email@example.com)
4) Arts of Social Engagement
Contact: Gretchen Coombs, California College of the Arts, (firstname.lastname@example.org)
5) Public Rhetorics and Permanent War
Contact: Anoop Mirpuri, University of Washington (email@example.com)
6) Giorgio Agamben
Contact: Marcia Klotz, Portland State University, (firstname.lastname@example.org)
7) Defining the Human in Posthuman Criticism
Contact: Radhika Gajjala, Bowling Green State University (email@example.com)
For more information about the conference, please check the website: http://www.csaus.pitt.edu/conf/index.php?cf=4
Detailed descriptions of each seminar appear below:
SEMINARS FOR CSA CONFERENCE, April 2007, Portland, Oregon.
Seminar One: Why We Need AgriCultural Studies
Seminar Chair: Susan Squier, Penn State University (firstname.lastname@example.org)
"Culture in all its early uses was a noun of process: the tending of something, basically crops or animals." (Raymond Williams) Yet though cultural studies is linked ideologically as well as etymologically to agriculture, the field has been remarkably uninterested in that original meaning of culture. Instead, perhaps because of a long-standing metropolitan bias, cultural studies has concentrated on the production of the individual subject in practically every other institutional sense--scientifically, technologically, politically, medically, socially, religiously, and reproductively--while giving scant attention to culture in its original rural sense. This session invites participants to come together for a seminar that will explore the significance for cultural studies of the foundational, deeply material means of producing individuals: the institution of agriculture. Topics can address, but are not limited to:
* The contribution of agricultural practices to racialization and gender production
* Rurality, sexuality, and farming
* Species production and subject production in agricultural practices
* Agribusiness and Big Pharma (farming and pharming)
* Veterinary medicine, human medicine, and posthumanity
* The ethics and politics of food and eating
* Counterpublic spheres and CSAs
* Intellectual property rights and the agricultural commons
* The agricultural production of disability
* Agricultural technology, biotechnology, and technologies of subject production
* Culture (literature, film, visual art) and agriculture
This small group discussion session will admit only fifteen people. Participants will be asked to write brief (8-10 page) papers that will be circulated prior to the conference. Conference participants will also be assigned to serve as respondents to the precirculated papers. If you are interested in submitting a proposal for this seminar, please e-mail a 500 word abstract for your paper, a short c.v., and your institutional affiliation (if applicable) to Susan Squier, at (email@example.com), by November 20. Please feel free to forward this message to people who might be interested.
Susan Squier is Brill Professor of Women’s Studies and English at the Pennsylvania State University, where she directs the Science, Medicine, and Technology in Culture program. She is currently working on a book entitled Poultry Science, Chicken Culture: Practicing AgriCultural Studies. Her most recent book is Liminal Lives: Imagining the Human at the Frontiers of Medicine (Duke 2004). Other publications include Babies in Bottles: Twentieth-Century Visions of Reproductive Technology; the co-edited collection Playing Dolly: Technocultural Figurations, Fantasies and Fictions of Assisted Reproduction, and the edited collection, Communities of the Air: Radio Century, Radio Culture, published by Duke University Press in 2003. In 2002 she co-directed the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute in Medicine, Literature and Culture, at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. She has been Visiting Distinguished Fellow, LaTrobe University, Melbourne, Australia, June-July, 1992; and Fulbright Senior Research Scholar, Melbourne, Australia, 1990-1991, as well as scholar in residence at the Bellagio Study and Conference Center of the Rockefeller Foundation.
Seminar Two: Performativity
Seminar Chair: Matthew W. Hughey, University of Virginia (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Performativity Division of the CSA will be conducting a seminar that examine various aspects of performativity. In specific, we are interested in examining how identities and concepts are shifting formations within various fields of power. Additionally, we encourage work on how those power relations are reflexively created by, and constitutive of, those formations. Topics can address, but are not limited, to:
- race and the racialization of identity categories;
- capitalism, class, and identities;
- citizenship and nationality;
- religion and spirituality;
- gender and sexuality;
- nationalisms and national identities;
- (dis)abilities and identities;
- claims to authenticity
Please send abstracts of 250-400 words to Performativity division chair Matthew W. Hughey (Department of Sociology, Program of Media Studies - University of Virginia, email@example.com). Please include your academic or activist affiliation in your proposal.
Matthew W. Hughey is a Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology, as well as an adjunct instructor in Sociology and Media Studies, at the University of Virginia. His teaching and research interests include race and ethnicity in specific to blackness, whiteness, racism and antiracism, and raced social movements; cultural sociology; media studies in relation to racial and gender representations; and qualitative methodology.
Seminar Three: The Resistance to Economics
Seminar Chair: Jan Mieszkowski, Reed College (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This seminar will explore the ambiguous status of economic thought in contemporary debates about aesthetics, politics, and culture. While economic determinism is routinely critiqued by theorists on both the right and the left, scholars in the humanities increasingly accord enormous explanatory authority to notions of utility, production, and value. Some would even argue that any clear distinction between the economic and the social has become untenable. It is in these terms that participants are invited to confront a set of related questions: In what ways does an economic model of equivalence, mediation, or change distinguish itself from dialectical or historical models? Precisely how do the symbolic, libidinal, or virtual "economies" studied in critical theory differ from more conventional dynamics of profit, liberty, or autonomy? Do academic analyses of capitalism constitute a critique of consumer society, or are they just another way of participating in it?
As an institutional discipline, economics' research practices are neither simply idealist nor materialist, much less merely positivist. Indeed, the very diversity of economic methodologies has prompted some to designate it the interdisciplinary field par excellence. At issue for this seminar is whether such a gesture begs more fundamental questions about liberal and democratic models of justice and equality. What is to be gained by rethinking traditional distinctions between neo-classical and Marxist economics, or, more basically, between politics and economics? To what extent do current efforts to demonstrate the importance of economic models for literary and cultural studies rely on the very paradigms of individualism, liberty, or value they seek to critique? Why might the theoretical goals of the social sciences best be furthered by disciplines that define themselves in contradistinction to the social sciences?
Participants will pre-circulate brief papers (8-10 pages). Members of the seminar may serve as respondents in order to begin our discussion of specific topics.
Associate Professor of German & Humanities
3203 SE Woodstock Blvd.
Portland, OR 97202.
Jan Mieszkowski is Associate Professor of German and Humanities at Reed College. He is the author of *Labors of Imagination: Aesthetics and Political Economy from Kant to Althusser* and has published essays on Romanticism, German Idealism, the Frankfurt School, and the relationship between literary and political discourses since the Enlightenment.
Seminar Four: Arts of Social Engagement
Gretchen Coombs, California College of the Arts, (email@example.com)
Cynthia Bodenhorst, California College of the Arts, (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Harrell Fletcher, Portland State University (email@example.com)
This seminar session hopes to generate a nuanced conversation regarding the heightened visibility and popularity of art practices that take the social as their medium. These artworks, as they are defined by most, range from distributing free meals in a gallery to laundry lectures to handing out politically charged ice cream “flavors” at a political rally. These artists and collectives capture the cadences of urban social life through poetic meditations and formal innovations into public spaces. Their creative acts have altered our sense of space, the ways we inhabit our locality, and our own self-awareness. They can function as public or community-based art that engenders community building. Just as often they intervene in the public sphere to raise political and social awareness. Many of these artists and collaboratives hope to transform the culture in which we live.
This expanded field of art and social engagement has instigated numerous discussions in art magazines, classrooms and the blogosphere. Recent debates surrounding socially engaged artwork and their reception has artists and academics wading through some murky and contested theoretical terrain. How are we to understand these often interventionist, socially ameliorative, “life-like” artwork?
What critical frameworks can help us assess the efficacy of such practices that claim to be politically and socially relevant, and at the same time challenge, subvert and reproduce these same frameworks? Moreover, how are subjectivities produced within these social spaces both for the artists and the audiences? Do these “subversive” anthropologies pronounce arts increased desire for relevance? Or should art be held accountable for an effective social and cultural process? What are the implications for sustainability as social and political activism; how does this respond to local and cultural specificities and the historical legacies that inform socially engaged artwork?
Artists and academics are encouraged to submit papers or project descriptions that respond to the questions posed above. We will then circulate the papers amongst the participants. In addition, seminar participants may be asked to do an additional brief assignment prior to the conference.
Gretchen Coombs, firstname.lastname@example.org,510.459.3789
Visual Criticism, California College of the Arts
Cynthia Bodenhorst, email@example.com,510.845.3455
Visual Criticism, California College of the Arts
Harrell Fletcher, firstname.lastname@example.org Assistant Professor, Art Department, Portland State University
Gretchen Coombs is currently a doctoral candidate in anthropology at
the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. She
received a MA in Visual Criticism at the California College of the
Arts; her thesis explored art and social engagement in the San
Francisco Bay Area.
Cynthia Bodenhorst is an Ecuadorian visual studies critic, curator, and video artist whose work has been presented in conferences and exhibitions in Latin America and the U.S. She is completing a graduate program in Visual Studies at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, where she is currently doing research on art, public space, and new forms of sociality. Her practice and critical theory interests focus on contemporary art, new media, and performance theory.
Harrell Fletcher has worked collaboratively and individually on a variety of socially engaged, interdisciplinary projects for over a decade. His work has been shown at SF MoMA, the de Young Museum, The Berkeley Art Museum, and Yerba Buena Center For The Arts in the San Francisco Bay Area, The Drawing Center, Socrates Sculpture Park, The Sculpture Center, The Wrong Gallery, and Smackmellon in NYC, DiverseWorks and Aurora Picture show in Houston, TX, PICA in Portland, OR, CoCA and The Seattle Art Museum in Seattle, WA, Signal in Malmo, Sweden, Domain de Kerguehennec in France, and The Royal College of Art in London. Fletcher exhibits in San Francisco and Los Angeles with Jack Hanley Gallery, in NYC with Christine Burgin Gallery, in London with Laura Bartlett Gallery, and Paris with Gallery In Situ. He was a participant in the 2004 Whitney Biennial. In 2002 Fletcher started Learning To Love You More, an ongoing participatory web site with Miranda July. A book version of the project will be published in 2007 by Prestel. He is the 2005 recipient of the Alpert Award in Visual Arts. His current traveling exhibition The American War originated in 2005 at ArtPace in San Antonio, TX, and traveled in 2006 to Solvent Space in Richmond, VA, White Columns in NYC, The Center For Advanced Visual Studies MIT in Boston, MA, and PICA in Portland.
Seminar Five: Public Rhetorics and Permanent War
Anoop Mirpuri, University of Washington (email@example.com)
Georgia Roberts, University of Washington (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Keith Feldman, University of Washington (email@example.com)
In The History of Sexuality, Foucault laments that in “political thought and analysis, we still have not cut off the head of the king.” For Foucault, the figure of the sovereign, whose power is exercised as an exceptional prohibition of freedom, continues to organize the ways we attempt to intervene in the field of political power. As long as we continue to read power in terms of the juridical theory of sovereignty, we cannot actively confront power in all the complexity of its operation. But if we are to rid ourselves of the theory of sovereignty that constitutes the principles of liberalism and functions as the legitimation for the institutions of political modernity, how then are we to conceptualize politics? Foucault suggests that the first task would be to invert Clausewitz’s famous aphorism, “War is a continuation of politics by other means.” That is, what it would mean to think of politics as permanent war?
This seminar will query the relation between cultural production, intellectual work, and political power during what increasingly appears to be a state of globalized permanent war. Building on a series of public lectures, faculty, graduate, and undergraduate workshops, and an interdisciplinary research cluster based at the University of Washington organized by the seminar leaders, we hope that seminar participants will help us productively read a small cluster of texts (announced prior to the seminar meeting) that conceptualize the contours, conditions, and effects of permanent war.
We want to frame this seminar by emphasizing that these various conceptions, performances, and enactments of permanent war emerge from the seemingly cordoned-off sites of scholarly inquiry, political organization and social activism, and market-driven popular culture. They also emerge from across the political spectrum. Hence, important to this seminar will be a discussion of how these sites can (and can be made to) link up and dialogue in dynamic and effective ways.
Seminar leaders will make available a list of readings on the table for discussion. Participants will write one-page responses to the readings prior to the seminar. Leaders will then distribute these responses, as well as a letter suggesting some of the overlaps and gaps in our various responses to the readings.
These readings may include the following:
• Michel Foucault’s “Society Must be Defended” Lecture, 17 March 1976
• Nikhil Singh, “The Afterlife of Fascism”
• Loic Wacquant, “From Slavery to Mass Incarceration”
• Wendy Brown, “Neo-liberalism and the End of Liberal Democracy”
• Ruth Wilson Gilmore, selections from Golden Gulag
• Robert Kagan, “Power and Weakness”
• Michael Ignatieff, “Who are Americans to Think that Freedom is Theirs to Spread?”
This seminar discussion will contain two primary trajectories: the first focused on theories of permanent war and biopolitics; the second focused on the relation between intellectual production and political power. Questions participants should think about include:
How does one theorize something like “permanent war”? What is at stake in this theorization, and how can it be intellectually productive or disabling as part of a political project? How can we relate Foucault’s theorization of “permanent war” to scholarly work done on biopolitical regulation and the state of exception? How does the intellectual production emerge in the space between popular culture and the academy? How is discourse regulated by the rhetorical divisions among these sites? How can we articulate cultural studies in the humanities with popular cultural forms in ways that create a rhetorical space for dialogue between each of these sites as critical analogues? How can we further the articulation between social activism and public rhetoric in ways that foster critical literacies which work to counter Euro-American centered ideological frames?
Seminar Leaders: Anoop Mirpuri, Georgia Roberts, and Keith Feldman
Collective Biography of Seminar Leaders
Anoop Mirpuri, Georgia Roberts, and Keith Feldman are all doctoral candidates in the department of English at the University of Washington-Seattle. They have individually undertaken projects on biopolitical regulation, practices of community-based literacy, and post-1945 U.S. imperial formations in the Middle East. Public Rhetorics and Permanent War is a project they collectively envisioned more than two years ago; the project has received substantial support from the UW’s Simpson Center for the Humanities, the UW Graduate School, a range of academic units in the humanities and social sciences, and off-campus organizations including the Arab Center of Washington, Central District Forum, Elliot Bay Book Company, Hedgebrook Women’s Writers Retreat, and Toys in Babeland.
Anoop Mirpuri (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Georgia Roberts (email@example.com)
Keith Feldman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Department of English
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-4330
Seminar Six: Giorgio Agamben
Seminar Chair: Marcia Klotz, Portland State University, (email@example.com)
"We completely misunderstand the nature of the great totalitarian experiments of the twentieth century if we see them only as a carrying out of the nineteenth-century nation-states' last great tasks: nationalism and imperialism. The stakes are now different and much higher, for it is a question of taking on as a task the very factical existence of peoples, that is, in the last analysis, their bare life." (Giorgio Agamben, The Open).
We would like to conduct a seminar that will consider the work of Giorgio Agamben, including such key concepts as the state of exception, homo sacer, the animal/human divide, bare life, the camp, and the figure of the sovereign. Agamben's work seems fruitful as a way of approaching many contemporary social issues and events, including: the politics of reproduction, the war on terror, the geopolitics of medicine and incarceration, environmentalism and the politics of life. We welcome participants who are interested in comparing the range of applications to the contemporary moment, as well as using Agamben to analyze historical topics. We are also interested in the limitations or problems that may be involved in Agamben's approach.
Anyone interested in participating in this seminar should contact us before the conference convenes. We will circulate a short reading ahead of time to all participants, which will serve as a focal point for the discussion. Participants will be asked to introduce themselves and to briefly (5 to 10 minutes) summarize whatever research they may be working on that involves Agamben's theory. We will then move on to a general discussion of both the reading and the research interests of various participants.
Department of English
Portland State University
Seminar Seven: Defining the Human in Posthuman Criticism
Radhika Gajjala, Bowling Green State University (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Michael Filas, Westfield State College (email@example.com)
The Technology division of CSA invites participants to a seminar on defining the human in posthuman criticism. For those working in cyborg studies, for those exploring the notion of identity in techno-mediated environments, the definition of human becomes a troublesome focal point that must be dealt with. Postmodern theory has created a critical environment in which any claim to some indispensable aspect of the human, be it embodiment or political subjectivity, is received only through the filters of a post liberal humanist perspective. Yet, the need for a human-technology binary is often a requisite ontological concept when scholars undertake any examination of humanity in posthuman contexts. Our seminar will explore the challenge, and methodology, of defining the human-technology binary through multiple critical praxes. Some recent reflections on this issue are available in the following articles, which are available online in full text as noted:
>Jameson, Fredric. The End of Temporality. Critical Inquiry 29 (Summer 2003). (Academic Search Premier and Elite)
>Lenoir, Tim. Writing the Body into the Posthuman Technoscape, Part One:
>Embracing the Posthuman. Configurations 10 (Spring 2002). (Project Muse)
>Participants should have read one of the preceding texts in preparation for the seminar. Our seminar conversation will explore our individual methods and conclusions, as well as how the theoretical community has addressed this issue, and what implications reside in our choices.
>Interested participants are asked to submit by Nov. 20 a 2-3 page abstract, via email to both firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, explaining how they have dealt with or examined this issue in their own work.
>Technology Division Co-Chairs
>Department of Interpersonal Communication
>School of Communication Studies
>Bowling Green State University
>Department of English
>Westfield State College
Radhika Gajjala is Associate Professor in the School of communication studies at Bowling Green State University, and the author of "Cyberselves: Feminist Ethnographies of South Asian Women" (Altamira, 2004).
Michael Filas is assistant professor of English at Westfield State College in Massachusetts. In 2001 he received his Ph.D. in American literature and culture from University of Washington. He frequently teaches courses in cyborg identities and draws on work done in his doctoral dissertation, "Cyborg Subjectivity." He has published related work in The Information Society, Journal of Experimental Fiction, Fiction International, Left Curve, Paradoxa, and the Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies.
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