CFP: Civil Order and Its Breakdowns (grad) (2/1/06; 4/1/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Patrick Gallagher
contact email:

To whom it may concern:
  Paper proposals are being accepted for the upcoming Graduate Student
Conference "Alles in Ordnung?", to be held April 1st, 2006, at Columbia
University's Germanic Languages Department. The organizers would be most
appreciative if you would post the following on your graduate student
list-serve. The deadline for abstract submissions is February 1st, 2006.
 For further information, please contact Patrick Gallagher at

*Grad Student Conference*

*Columbia University, April 1st, 2006*

*"Alles in Ordnung?" : Civil Order and Its Breakdowns*

 History bears witness, again and again, to the collapse of the public
sphere and the outbreak of civil disorder on a mass scale. In recent times,
a grotesque mix of natural disaster, official incompetence, socioeconomic
inequality, and racism has made the fragility of civil order, even in the
most superficially developed-looking of countries, painfully evident.

 We plan to hold a conference on the collapse of civil order, with an
emphasis on the ways in which such events have been represented in
literature, the arts, philosophy, and theory. We are also interested in
papers examining instances in which cultural texts have themselves fomented
the political action of the crowds, as well as in papers exploring ways in
which cultural texts have informed social-scientific and official
discourses. Our goal is to explore the reciprocal relationships between
state, society, and culture and how they constitute and/or undermine civil

 We are looking forward to reading submissions about both the reality and
the fantasy of civil disorder, for which reason we encourage abstracts whic=
combine research in multiple disciplines.

 *****As long as there has been civil order, there has been civil disorder.=
could civil disorders in variegated national and historical contexts, such
as the disturbances following the end of World War I in Germany, widespread
urban rioting in the United States in the 1960's, the May 1968 uprising in
France, the popular uprisings that contributed to the movements of national
liberation among European colonies culminating around 1960, or any number o=
incidents from earlier centuries be related to one another?

 *****How has civil disorder figured in literature? What are potential
relationships between texts that depict particular historical occurrences o=
civil disorder and those that attempt to stage it in fictional scenarios? W=
is the relationship between civil disorder in literature and the genres of
utopian and dystopian literature?

 *****Is civil disorder "Romantic"?

 *****To what extent can the breaking down of state legitimacy and civil
order be said to contain a structural analogy with the breaking down of
traditional literary and artistic forms with the emergence of

 *****Civil disorder has also played a curious role in the history of
philosophy, at once central and marginal. "Disorder," "mob rule," and the
"pressure of the street" represent serious problems in the work of Kant and
Habermas, while, in the work of Hegel and Marx, the competitive structure o=
"b=FCrgerliche Gesellschaft" makes its collapse all but inevitable. What is
the role of disorder in defining concepts of order?

 *****How has the figuration of the collapse of civil order in propaganda
either influenced or been influenced by culture and the arts?

 *****How has the figuration of civil disorder in literature and culture
influenced public policy? To what extent do massive urban planning projects=
such as Hausmann's allegedly barricade-proof boulevards in Paris, take thei=
inspiration from cultural phantasm, empirical/scientific observation, or

 *****How does the collapse of civil order figure in the medium of film? Re=
examples have included Roland Emmerich's Independence Day and The Day After
Tomorrow, as well as the Mad Max and Terminator series. Outside of science
fiction, Haskell Wexler's Medium Cool and Gillo Pontecorvo's The Battle of
Algiers also figure prominently.


 Please submit abstracts of no more than 500 words by February 1st, 2006 to Paper drafts will be due by March 6, 2006.

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Received on Tue Nov 29 2005 - 16:27:12 EST

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