after the end: medieval studies, the humanities, and the post-catastophe 4-6 NOV. 2010

full name / name of organization: 
Eileen Joy/BABEL Working Group
contact email: 

This conference will bring together medievalists with scholars and theorists working in later periods in the humanities in order to collectively take up the broad question of what happens "after the end," by which we mean after the end of the affair, the end of the world, and everything in between. After gender, sex, love, the family, the nation-state, the body, the human, language, truth, feeling, reason, ethics, modernity, politics, religion, God, the nation-state, secularism, liberalism, the humanities, the university, teleology, progress, history, historicism, narrative, meaning, the individual, singularity, theory, practice, what else is there? Here, we mean to hopefully inspire a set of discussions and debates relative to the "post" of the subjects we study within (and beyond) the humanities: can we really ever be "after" anything, and if so, in what (productive and/or perilous) ways, and what next?

Further, for medievalists especially, but also for modernists, can we really ever be "after history" or "post-historical," and if so, what would now count as the Real of our studies; if not, in what ways do history and historicism still matter? It is our desire to initiate at this conference a vigorous set of conversations and debates between those working in premodern studies and those who identify as contemporary and postmodern theorists over the relation of history and the past to the present and future of the university, and of the humanities in particular. Following this, we hope to also provoke discussion among scholars working in widely divergent periods over the question of periodization itself and of the ways in which the production of disciplinary knowledges is bound up with historical chronologies and teleologies that have become sedimented over time. We're interested in problematizing these teleologies and also working toward innovative modes of temporal thinking that would be productive of new critical theories for better understanding the relations between past, present, and future.

More information can be found here: