CFP: [General] Altered States - UC Berkeley Comparative Literature Conference

full name / name of organization: 
Jessie Hock
contact email:

Altered States: Metamorphosis, Epiphany, Revolution
An Interdisciplinary Conference Hosted by the U.C. Berkeley Comparative Literature

Date: October 24 - 25, 2008
Deadline for Abstract Submission: April 7, 2008
Keynote: Amy Hollywood, Elizabeth H. Monrad Professor of Christian Studies, Harvard Divinity

For more information, or to submit an abstract, please contact:

Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
                                --- Tempest, I, ii

In these three lines, we encounter a sketch of change and its theoretical ramifications,
reformulating the anxiety of loss into a valuation of the altered state and its potential. This
conference will investigate transformation and metamorphoses in their physical, psychic, social,
political, and formal dimensions. How does physical transformation demolish and reconstruct
subjectivity? In what ways does spiritual and affective experience influence conceptions of
psychic normalcy? By what means does a culture inscribe, both temporally and spatially, the
social development of its individuals? What are the consequences of profound political rupture
for the collective imagination and to the legitimacy of the State itself? And how do choices of
medium and form frame, dictate, or alter the way we engage with these discourses?

Possible paper topics include, but are by no means limited to:

(1) Physical Transformation

Incarnation and Transubstantiation
Drugs and Drunkenness
Cyborgs and Prostheses
Gestation, Birth, Maturation

(2) Psychic Transformation

Emotion and Affect
Madness and Possession
Spiritual Ecstasy

(3) Social and Cultural Transformation

Rites of Passage
Intercultural Confrontation
Death, Dying, Mourning

(4) Political Transformation

Geographical Change
Nationalisms and Nationhood
Language Revival
Redrawn Borders and "Regime Change"
Utopias and Dystopias

(5) Formal Transformation

Adaptation and Revision
Mixing Media
Generic Transformation
Scribal Culture, Orthography, Calligraphy

Please submit abstracts to, along with your full name, departmental
affiliation, and home institution. Abstracts should be no more than 500 words, and must be
received by Monday, April 7, 2008. We look forward to reading your submissions!

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