Poetry and Melancholia, University of Stirling, 8-10 July 2011
Keynote speakers: Catherine Maxwell (Queen Mary, University of London), Don Paterson (Poet), and Susan J. Wolfson (Princeton University). Other speakers include John Drakakis (Stirling University), Lorna Hutson (University of St Andrews), Ron Levao (Rutgers University), Cornelia D. J. Pearsall (Smith College) and David G. Riede (Ohio State University)
This interdisciplinary conference seeks to explore the nature and representation of melancholia within poetry and its relationship to poetics and poetic creation from the Renaissance to the present. Drawing together contributors from Art History, Literature, Medical Humanities, Philosophy, and Print Media, Poetry and Melancholia will try to examine the variety of forms that melancholia has historically taken and extend its meaning beyond the social, medical and epistemological norms that had framed it as a sign of mental illness or a way of behaving to that of a cultural idea. We aim to define not only the different configurations and significance of melancholia as mood, feeling, state of mind, and a cultural outlook but also the role that modernity has played in its development from a medical discourse to a dispositional perspective. The Stirling International Poetry Conference has always been an event that both welcomes and supports practising poets, and this year working poets are especially welcome to participate by giving readings of their work and engaging in the subject debates around melancholia and poetry.
Aesthetics: the sublime, art and longing, decadence, narcissism and loss, revelations of destruction, degeneration, eroticism, melancholy genius, nostalgia, spleen, the states of boredom
Affect: sensibility, solitude and alienation, despair, grief, suffering and sadness, distorted senses, mood as language, psychology, transference, the workings of sympathy, haunting and return
Biomedical sciences: clinical depression, malady, delirium, humors, mental derangement, physiology and pathologies of the mind, psychoanalytic workings of mourning, somatic conditions
Nature, Space, and Landscape: landscape and distance, the resistance of physical objects, conflicts with nature, interior distance and phenomenology
Poetics: creativity, idleness and labour, imagination, inspiration and delirium, the politics of form and genre (allegory, elegy, lyric, and pastoral, etc.), poetry’s relation to the visual and plastic arts
Tradition and History: appropriations of classical theories of melancholia, the idea of tainted inheritance, the traditions of witchcraft and the demonic, the past as loss, writing and memory
Sociology: alienation, anomalies of self-consciousness and the will, fragmentation and conflicts of modernity, otherness, gender, class, race, sexuality, social role of the poet, suicide
Please submit 300 word abstracts for 20 minute papers or proposals for panels together with a short biographical note or CV to Kyriaki Hadjiafxendi and David Miller at email@example.com by no later than 15 January 2011.
While BAVS has sponsored the conference to subside postgraduate participation, the Society for the Social History of Medicine offers three bursaries (£150 each) for postgraduate historians of medicine who have been accepted to give a paper as part of the conference.
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