The sixth annual Midwest Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee seeks submissions for “Ambivalence,” a graduate student conference to be held February 25-26, 2011, in conjunction with the Center for 21st Century Studies and its research theme for 2009-2011: “Figuring Place and Time.”
This year’s conference theme calls upon scholars to interpret and consider variously the notion of “ambivalence.” Derived from the Latin prefix ambi meaning "both" and valentia, meaning "vigor" or “strength,” ambivalence is figured as a strong pull in two opposing directions. Coined by the Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler in 1911, the term initially designated one of the primary symptoms of schizophrenia. Taken up in Freudian psychoanalysis, ambivalence indicated continual fluctuation between wanting one thing and its opposite. More recently, ambivalence has been deployed to convey "uncertainty as to which approach to follow" and broadly theorized across disciplines by scholars such as Judith Butler, Zygmunt Bauman and Homi Bhabha.
We are interested in interrogating ambivalence through theoretical, historico-cultural and political lenses. However, we also wish to engage the concept of “ambivalence” as a performative state, identity, position, or strategy. Can one choose to be ambivalent? What is the relationship between ambivalence and open-mindedness? Is it possible to be both politically active and ambivalent?
We aim to engage in a multi-day, interdisciplinary exploration of persistent tensions and ramifications within the concept of ambivalence as well as in its obverse—certainty, decisiveness, and security.
Submissions that explore “Ambivalence” from a diverse range of fields and disciplines are encouraged. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
Definitions and representations of ambivalence across disciplines
Disciplinary/institutional ambivalence regarding the structure of the public, democratic university
Psychoanalytic constructions of ambivalence
Interdisciplinarity as a form of ambivalence
Ambivalence as elaborated by and used as a critique of queer or trans scholarship
Ambivalence and modernity
The role of ambivalence in activism, political behavior or public opinion
Ambivalence as a position, process, role, affect, an intellectual state
Navigating “ethical ambivalence”
Quantifying ambivalent behavior in scientific studies
Theories of ambivalence as represented as that which is “strange” or unfamiliar in society
The experience of simultaneous emotions (ie promise and disillusionment, hope and despair)
This year’s keynote address will be presented by Heather Love, Associate Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History. She is currently a fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center. For more information, go to www.heatherklove.com
Please submit a 250 word abstract, with title, for a 15-20 minute presentation as an MS Word file attachment (.doc or .docx) to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Panel proposals for 75 minute sessions will also be considered (comprised of three presentations); please submit an abstract for each presenter and indicate that you are proposing a panel. Deadline for Submissions: December 15, 2010.
For more information, visit our website at: http://www.themigc.com
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