CFP: [Graduate] Talking Trash: Rethinking the Abandoned, the Recovered, and the Depraved

full name / name of organization: 
Linda Neiberg and Jason Schneiderman
contact email:

CFP: Talking Trash: Rethinking the Abandoned, the Recovered, and the
Depraved (grad)


The Graduate Center, City University of New York

English Student Association Conference

Conference Date: February 29, 2008

Abstract Submission Deadline: November 16, 2007


The earlier culture will become a heap of rubble and finally a heap of
ashes; yet, over the ashes, spirits will hover.

                                       â€“ Ludwig Wittgenstein

What is the fascination of the devalued and discarded? Is it simply the
return of the repressed – the object that returns to haunt us? Is it
the terror of the void – the space we can never know? From the Christian
obsession with the keystone that was once rejected to Alice Walker's
rehabilitation of Zora Neale Hurston's reputation to John Waters's
gleeful declaration that his work is "trash," there is a certain caché to
the recovery of the devalued and discarded. Does the tastemaker need
the humiliation of the trash heap from which to rescue the loved object
and prove a superior palate, or is the trash heap an accident that the
archive is always seeking to encompass? How do speech acts construct
value? How does insult designate certain objects and people as "trash"
and how do marginalized people talk back? This conference, organized
and sponsored by the CUNY Graduate Center's English Student Association,
hopes to stimulate a broad field of inquiry ranging from New Historical
approaches to Renaissance sewage management to examinations of Lindsay
Lohan's inarticulate Blackberry epistle. We seek to bring together
students from a wide variety of literary, historical, theoretical,
aesthetic, and political perspectives in a rigorous attempt to think
trash from every angle. While academic papers are preferred, we also
invite participation from practicing artists, filmmakers, and


Possible topics include, but certainly are not limited to:


Material artefacts as cultural or personal history

Sanitation / Recycling

Affluence and Waste

Consumer culture and Planned obsolesence

Propoganda / Psychological operations (psyops)

Pop Art / Recycled objects and images / "Proposals for Impossible

Palimpsests and Textual archaeology

Hidden histories and Forgotten texts

Intercepted letters in novels and plays

Reception histories

Aestheticist collectors

Culture of blackmail / Literature of blackmail

Multiple revisions of texts (Editions, Archives, Genealogical editions)

Slang and Standard English / Rhetoric of English

Literature of AIDS

Canon formation

Paperback culture / Trash novels

Non-canonical works of literature

Futureless essays, unpublished works, sketches, and works-in-progress

Marginalization of conquered subjects / Resistance by conquered subjects

Incarcerated subjects / War and political refugees / The culture of


Speech Acts and Insults


Dirty jokes / Playing the Dozens



The "Dean Scream"

Performance art

Bread & Circus and Entertainment for the masses

Dominatrixes / Drag Queens / Performances of Sexuality


Comedy and its recycling of headline news / Vaudeville

Toni Morrison's "Rememory"

Searching for the "Zulu Shakespeare"


Ephemeral flowers

The Rehabilitation of American Literature (making an "American

Oral culture/ Written culture

How to think Non-canonical authors outside the lines of influence

Undervalued texts

Always Already

Anthology expectations

Camp's sly refusals

Plagiarism and Quotation across texts

Derek Jarman's celebration of film stock's short shelf life

B-movies / Homemade movies / Movies with a twist

Zine culture and non-traditional forms of publication

The White House

Poltical campaigns

Resurfaced E-mails (Abramoff, Gonzales, etc.)

Global warming / Ecology


Cosmetic surgery / Extreme makeovers

Trailer park

Talk shows / Reality TV / Soap operas / E! channel

Decadence v. Trash


Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words to Jason Schneiderman
and Linda Neiberg at by November 16,

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Received on Thu Aug 09 2007 - 11:58:38 EDT

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