Forms of Life: Literature, Politics, Aesthetics
The Department of Comparative Literature
March 2nd-3rd 2012
What comprises the matrix within which a given language has meaning? How is meaning constructed and how is it operative across social, cultural, and linguistic impasses? How is conflict and antagonism orchestrated both across and within disparate forms of life? To interrogate the emergence of sense as well as the conflicts that arise as a result of making sense, we welcome submissions that theorize the concerns outlined above with a particular eye toward their theorization as forms of life. In this way, we seek submissions that span disciplinary boundaries and topics, broadly speaking, related to literature, linguistics, politics, alternative and utopian imaginaries, aesthetics, and tactics of resistance.
The form of life, but even more broadly, the theorization of sense and meaning, have historically been thought and inhabited in and through a variety of frameworks and styles of thought. Linguistically, forms of life have been theorized as the condition of possibility for sense itself. Ecologically, thinking the operation and function of alternative forms of life offer a means of thinking against and beyond anthropocentrism. Forms of life have been theorized in relation to global biopolitical regimes and concomitant forms of resistance. The very practices of making sense and meaning come to be interrogated within and across a variety of disciplines, often at the expense of disciplining knowledge itself. The question of forms of life, but even more broadly, the question of making sense, is one around which the work of many scholars has revolved: Ludwig Wittgenstein on language games, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s work on the multitude, Giorgio Agamben on bare life, Chantal Mouffe on liberal democratic projects, Michel Foucault on biopolitics and securitization, Sylvia Federici on feminism and a politics of the commons. We also see these questions to stand in relation to Jasbir Puar’s work on terrorism and homonationalism, Deleuze and Guattari’s work on signification and assemblage, and Judith Butler’s work on the politics of gender and frames of war. While this is by no means an exhaustive theoretical list, it does hint at the depth of the theme our conference seeks to interrogate.
In keeping with the interdisciplinary emphasis of Binghamton University’s Department of Comparative Literature, we seek work that engages in the conjunction of multiple frames of epistemological inquiry, from fields including, but not limited to: critical theory, translation, postcolonial studies, decolonial studies, queer and gender studies, psychoanalytic theory, critical animal studies, ethnic studies, urban studies, science and technology studies, media and visual culture studies, continental philosophy, and historiography.
Workers, writers, and thinkers of all different disciplinary, inter-disciplinary, and non-disciplinary affiliations are welcome, whether academically affiliated or not. Submissions may be textual, performative, and/or visual. Please submit an abstract of approximately 200 words to Matt Applegate at firstname.lastname@example.org by December 15th, 2011.
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