CFP: Counter-movements, Institutions & Difference (UK) (3/30/06; 7/24/06-7/25/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Bran Nicol
contact email:

Institutions of difference

A two-day conference to be held at the
University of Portsmouth 24-25 July 2006

Confirmed international speakers: J. Hillis Miller, University of California, Irvine;
Samuel Weber, Northwestern University; Peggy Kamuf, University of Southern
California; Tom Keenan, Bard College; Christopher Fynsk, University of Aberdeen;
Herman Rapaport, University of Southampton; Nicholas Royle, University of Sussex;
John Schad, University of Loughborough.

The word ‘contre’, counter or against, can equally and at the same time mark both
opposition, contrariety, contradiction and proximity, near–contact... it happens that
for a long time I have ‘cultivated’ or ‘allowed to be cultivated’ in numerous texts the
formidable ambiguity of this ‘contre’...
Jacques Derrida, ‘Countersignature’

No more than philosophy or science, literature is not an institution among others; it is at
once institution and counter-institution, placed at a distance from the institution, at the
angle that the institution makes with itself in order to take a distance from itself, by
Jacques Derrida, ‘A Certain “Madness” Must Watch Over Thinking’

In abstract and general terms, what remains constant in my thinking… is indeed a
critique of institutions, but one that sets out not from a wild and spontaneous pre-
or non-institution, but rather from counter-institutions.
Jacques Derrida, ‘I Have a Taste for the Secret’

How might we reckon with the ‘counter’ in deconstruction? What force and currency
might it have for us today or tomorrow? What movement does it entail or imply? How
does it shuttle between other disciplines, discourses, writings and traditions: politics,
philosophy, psychoanalysis, science, literature, the discourse of the university? How
might Derrida’s conception of the counter-institution, and the history and futurity of his
institutional activisms, spur practical innovations in the institutional field today?

Conference fee: £125 (postgraduate £100). Day rate £75 (postgraduate £50).
For further details and proposals for conference papers (final deadline 30th March

Please contact:


Simon Morgan Wortham,
School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies
University of Portsmouth
Milldam, Burnaby Road
Portsmouth PO1 3AS
United Kingdom


Dr Bran Nicol
Senior Lecturer in English Literature
School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies
University of Portsmouth
Burnaby Road

Tel: 023 9284 6171

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Received on Mon Nov 21 2005 - 16:33:55 EST

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