CFP: Irresponsibility (Singapore) (4/10/06; 9/28/06-9/30/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Tamara Wagner
contact email:

Inaugural English Literature Conference:
Division of English, NTU, Singapore, 28-30 September

Literature tells us—before psychoanalysis, before
deconstruction—that our crimes are overdetermined, our
ethical concepts unstable. Yet the facile deployment
of the rhetoric of responsibility and
irresponsibility, in all manner of debate, indicates
the widespread abuse of the concept of responsibility,
if not its bankruptcy. With our title
“Irresponsibility,” we hope to provoke a conversation
aimed at assessing both the contribution of literature
to our understanding of the concept of responsibility
and its vicissitudes, and the possible resistance
within literature and literary studies to cheap
distinctions between responsibility and
irresponsibility. We hope also to provide a forum for
those interested in determining the responsibility of
literary studies today, both within its own domain,
and in its relation to other disciplines. We welcome
a wide variety of approaches to our theme, and
encourage a broad understanding of its scope.
Opening address by Professor Shirley Chew; Plenary
address by Professor J. Hillis Miller; keynote address
by Professor Eugene O’Brien.

We invite papers and proposals for panels (of 3-4
papers). Suggested topics include, but are not
restricted to, the following:

• Representations of irresponsibility in the
literature of any period or nationality
• Irresponsible characters, narrators, authors, or
literary critics
• Responsibility after Freud (or Kierkegaard, or Sade,
or Marx, or Nietzsche, or Derrida)
• Interdisciplinary irresponsibility: Literature and
Philosophy, Literature and Science, Literature and
Law, Literature and Film Studies, Literature and
Cultural studies
• The pleasure of irresponsibility: Libertinism;
Sadism; Pornography; Trash Cinema
• Irresponsibility and Postmodernism, Postcolonialism,
• Irish Literature and Irresponsibility, or Subversion
in the Anti-Realist tradition
• Moral didacticism, moral dilemmas, moral anxieties
in Literature or Film
• Primal guilt: Adam, Eve, Oedipus, Antigone
• Victorianism and the rhetoric of responsibility
• Irresponsibility and Insanity, Dilettantism,
Hypocrisy, Scepticism, Faith, the Sacred, Violence,
Polemics, Politics, War
• Irresponsibility in responsible Singapore: Singapore
literature, the arts, and culture
• Responsibility in the age of terror
• Culpatory and exculpatory rhetoric
• Irresponsibility as resistance
• The ethics of reading

Please send abstracts of 300 words either by email to

or by mail to Conference Committee, English Division,
School of Humanities and Social Sciences, NTU, Nanyang
Avenue, Singapore 639798. Further information will
soon be available at our conference website:
< >.
Deadline: 10 April 2006

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Received on Thu Feb 02 2006 - 14:32:09 EST

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