Radicalisms: Movements and Moments

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Northwestern University: French and Italian Graduate Student Conference
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The organizers of the annual Department of French and Italian graduate student conference at Northwestern University are pleased to announce this year's conference, Radicalisms: Movements and Moments on May 29, 2015, for which Dr. Kevin Floyd (Kent State University) will be the keynote speaker.

What does it mean to be (a) radical? Radical has come to refer to a social and political stance considered to be an alternative, risky, or subversive way of thinking about established views and order. This conference seeks to explore the different meanings of radicalism and the forms it takes across a variety of fields of inquiry. How do our actions and the ideas that inform them transcend the bounds of the mainstream and challenge the status quo? In what ways have the radicalisms of yesterday come to define and continue to challenge the existing state of affairs? From revolutionary political ideologies and polemical protest songs to iconoclastic avant-garde movements in the visual arts, radicalisms give rise to dissident and potentially dangerous ideas while helping to define new cultural norms.

As radical ideas circulate throughout society, they are often stripped of their subversive potency in order to make them more palatable for wider audiences. What are the conditions of possibility for the emergence of radicalisms, and what leads to their dissolution? How do they resonate after their creators disband or abandon their projects, and what transformations do they undergo over time? Are radical movements necessarily limited to self-selecting groups, or can a radical ideology or work of art maintain its radical character even as it engages with a larger populace? And what forms of elitism undermine the subversive claims of radicalism? Is true radicalism ever possible?

We invite proposals in English and French that deal with radicalisms—in all their forms—from a wide range of fields: literature, philosophy, visual arts, music, theatre, film, politics, etc…

For proposals, please submit a short abstract (250 words) that includes institutional affiliation, academic level and contact information. Please submit your paper or panel abstracts by Friday, March 27, 2015 to theNUradicals@gmail.com.

The conference will be held over two days at the John Evans Center at Northwestern University, Evanston IL., on May 29, 2015.

Topics may include but are not limited to:

-Avant-garde movements in literature, the arts, and politics
-De-/post-colonial struggles and thought
-Positionalities of race, class, gender, ability, sexuality, and ethnicity
-Radical space and time
-Public and private spaces of resistance
-Sub-, trans-, and post-nationalism in concept and in practice
-Activist and prefigurative politics
-Revolutionary movements and moments
-Radical readings, performance, and the body as a site of resistance
-Implications and influences of technology