Public humanities scholar Doris Sommer argues that “learning to think like an artist and an interpreter is basic training for our volatile times.” She encourages teachers to involve students and community members in artistic practices—writing poems, performing skits, sharing music—in order to build critical literacy skills. Like many poets, poet-critics, and poet-teachers, Sommer describes aesthetic engagement as a way to produce critical insights and cultivate political community. According to this view, poetry invites or occasions experiences that alter readers’ perspectives. What we experience as we interpret a poem changes the way we interpret elements of everyday life. And these altered or enhanced perspectives open up new political possibilities.
This roundtable is looking for 5-10 minute long papers which reflect on the intersection of Theory/post-theory/weak-theory and the animated works of studios Gainax and Trigger. Participants are asked to select a moment (5-15 seconds) of a Gainax-Trigger anime and then to develop a concept which is legible but not beholden to a theoretical approach (e.g. how does FLCL theorize “mastery” to the side of psychoanalytic debates?). By thinking from these animated texts, this roundtable aims to reveal theoretical lines of flight which emerge when theorizing with a text and to show how this approach might animate forms of close reading.
Symposium: ‘On Criticism.’ Friday 23 November 2018, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Hosted by Platform Journal.
Much of the work done on the post-45 literary field carries an implicitly Americanist perspective. Even the name of the field suggests a certain literary history, with certain assumptions and blind spots about national spaces, identities, and histories. But what would post-45 look like when considered from outside of the United States? How do the current contours of the field exclude certain voices, either in the United States or elsewhere in the world? And, how would such new perspectives shift the beginning and possible endpoint of that literary period? What new narratives of the contemporary emerge if we begin telling the story in a different year or from a different national or global perspective?
“How are you framing that?” It’s a frequent question we hear in the theoretically pluralistic world of the contemporary humanities. The question is seldom complimentary. As an interrogatory salvo, it frequently means: “What are the epistemological assumptions that undergird your conclusions?” The question is often meant to expose undertheorized terrain so that it can be made more intellectually robust with deeper thinking—or set aside as insufficient. Visual culture scholar John Tagg concisely defines framing, used in this sense, as “discursive constraint.” All framing, however, could arguably be seen as a problem of such constraint, regardless of how big or how refined the frame gets.
This panel invites new positions from which to conceptualize postwar moving-image art, extending into the contemporary moment. Anglo-American and European scholarship on moving-image art through the 1960s and 70s has largely privileged formalist thinking. There is, as Jonathan Walley has written, a “general agreement…that avant-garde filmmakers of this period followed the trend within modernist art toward medium-specific purification: the reduction of the art object to the essential physical or material components of its medium.” In recent years, however, we have witnessed a number of crucial revisionist interventions.
In On the Genealogy of Morals Friedrich Nietzsche writes critically of just how bound his own native German was to more widespread religious-moral beliefs, such as those which take a fixed moral subject as the beginning and end of all we can know, thereby leaving out one’s own doing as secondary to who one is. Nietzsche writes: “But there is no ‘being’ behind doing[…] – doing is everything” (GM I, 13) and thus suggests that the underlying grammar of the languages he himself knew well – all of which acknowledge if only implicitly an objective difference between subject and verb, doer and deed – were in fact wrong and had to be thought through from the ground up. One might yet take Nietzsche to task on this provocation.
This call is for an accepted session at the 50th Northeast Modern Language Association convention in Washington DC, March 21-24, 2019.
Chair: Nathan Douglas / Indiana University, Dept. of Spanish & Portuguese
Call for Special Issue Proposals (Open Topic)
English Language Notes
This being the 200th anniversary of the death of Karl Marx, a retrospective of his possible influence on American literature may be significant. For 200 years, theories espoused by Karl Marx have been threaded within the literature of America. Notable writers such as Edward Bellamy, Jack London, and Upton Sinclair each had a different perspective related to Marxian theory and practice. The transatlantic influence of Marx is evident in the utopian fiction of Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward and especially Bellamy’s Equality.