CFP: [General] ACLA 2009 Seminar: Falling (11/1/08; Harvard, 3/26/09-3/29/09)

full name / name of organization: 
Vartan Messier


Seminar co-organizers: Jessica Behm and Vartan Messier.

In Six Memos for the New Millennium, Italo Calvino suggests the quality of
Lightness, involving the subtraction of weight from language, bodies,
cities, and gravity, will characterize literature in the new millennium:
Lightness, he theorizes, will suspend our fall. Yet the new millennium
evidences the physical, sociopolitical, and theoretical traces of our
repeated falls (and recoveries). Materially, during their controversial
“free fall” researchers calculate the World Trade Center towers collapsed
at a displacement rate that defied the physics of their construction.
Economically, indexes such as the NASDAQ and Dow Jones chart the
precipitous rise and fall of global economies increasingly linked by
Byzantine labyrinths of policy and polis. Theologically, Christians from
the Center for Faith-Based Reasoning claim the Theory of Relativity is
incorrect, and instead propose “Intelligent Falling,” wherein the hand of
God “pushes man down to earth.”

Postmodern, postcolonial, and posthuman dialogues have catalyzed the fall
of historically trenchant hegemonies by undoing the conceptual frameworks
that promoted stable and fixed identities, and by undermining dichotomies
of centre and periphery, subject and object, and self and other. A
phenomenology of falling articulates these collapses while simultaneously
tracing new trajectories for defiance and consciousness.

The panel welcomes interdisciplinary submissions that query the
consequences of theoretical falling, as well as the possibilities for
recuperation and recovery of:

• Theoretical and literary models
• Ontologies of falling
• Global economies and sociopolitics
• Technology and new media
• Corporeality and choreography
• Religion and cosmogony
• Erotics and violence
• Subjectivities/the “Fallen”

Please submit paper proposals by Nov. 1 directly through the ACLA website

For further information, please contact Vartan Messier
( or Jessica Behm ( You can
also visit the conference website at:

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Received on Mon Sep 29 2008 - 14:50:04 EDT