Signifying Nothing: Reading Without the Story. How has the practice of Reading transformed in an age that has been variously, and perhaps too readily, termed post-human, post-literary, post-secular, and is marked by the technologism of speed, rather than the deliberate narrative unfolding of history? Is asking this question a different way of declaring that Reading is, or was, a decidedly Enlightenment phenomenon inexorably circumscribed by the figure of Anthropos, by the institution of Literature, and by the ideal of the Secular as a function of historical time and philosophies of finitude? What were dominant practices of reading prior to the Enlightenment formation of the secular human subject, engineered and sustained as it was by the Institution of Literature? In what ways do practices of reading from spaces ‘other’ to the enlightened Western world speak back to, what for want of a better phrase, we may term these ‘pre-Enlightenment’ processes of engaging with language and texts? Do these earlier and ‘other’ practices reveal fissures in the relationships between Reading and Literature, Reading and History, Reading and the Human? In what ways may we employ such fissures—without merely mapping the past synchronically onto the present—to generate alternate ways of engaging with the world as text? In doing so, what possible futures may we arrive at for practices of reading that are not belated to the emergent realities of our contemporary historical occasion? Philosophical, historical, syntactic, literary, etymological, and theoretical approaches are welcome. Abstracts of 300 words by March 02, 2010.
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