CFP: [International] 2008 Conference on Recognition

full name / name of organization: 
Teresa Russo
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CALL FOR PAPERS “From Ignorance to Knowledge”: Recognition from
Antiquity to the Postmodern and Beyond
        The Centre for Comparative Literature at The University of
Toronto is inviting proposals for its 19th Annual Graduate Conference, to
be held from April 3rd-5th, 2008. This conference will explore the
central theme of recognition in a wide range of historical periods,
regional locations, and literary traditions. Panels will be structured
around historical periods, tracing the theme of recognition in Antiquity,
the Middle Ages, and everything from Early Modern, Modern, to Postmodern
and beyond. The Conference Committee is welcoming proposals from diverse
academic disciplines that examine a wide range of genres and media.

In his Poetics, Aristotle defines anagnorisis (“recognition”
or “discovery”) as “a change from ignorance to knowledge, leading either
to friendship or to hostility on the part of those persons who are marked
for good fortune or bad” (1452a). However, Terence Cave's Recognitions
points out that “twentieth-century uses of the term draw perceptibly on
philosophical and psychoanalytic interpretations of literature
(especially tragedy) which fall outside the domain of Aristotelian
poetics proper” (6). The term therefore shifts from “the classic set of
family recognitions (recognition of persons, as in Oedipus and the
Odyssey) into a wider set of plots structured explicitly in terms of the
loss and recovery of knowledge” (9). Other examples of recognition
include Joyce’s concept of the epiphany and Christina Tarnopolsky’s
understanding of “[t]he moment of recognition within the occurrent
experience of shame…" (476).

In Hegelian philosophy, however, the term recognition “underlies self-
consciousness itself, since we only understand ourselves for who we are
by incorporating our understandings of how we are regarded by others”
(Blackburn). For Hegel, “the master-slave relationship is the result of
an uncompleted fight to the death for ‘recognition’ or status...”
(Solomon). This metaphor of the master-slave struggle for recognition
has influenced the writings of Søren Kierkegaard, Karl Marx, and
Friedrich Nietzsche. Furthermore, Hegel’s conceptualization of
recognition has also been developed in the writings of a wide variety of
thinkers from different disciplines: Alexandre Kojève, Georges Bataille,
Jacques Lacan, Jean-Paul Sartre, Emmanuel Lévinas, Frantz Fanon, Drucilla
Cornell, and Francis Fukuyama. In her review of Paul Ricoeur’s last
work, The Course of Recognition, Julie Connolly indicates that “since the
publication of Charles Taylor’s 1992 essay on recognition in
multicultural societies, the term has occurred in academic publications
with increasing frequency. Moreover, recognition has been the central
term in a recent cross-Atlantic debate, between Nancy Fraser and Axel
Honneth, about the direction of critical theory and the meaning of
justice in today’s increasingly globalized world” (133).

The committee therefore invites proposals from graduate students and all
researchers on any topic within the broad scope of this conference's
central theme. Please send a 500-word abstract as a Microsoft Word
attachment no later than October 1st, 2007, to . Include any requests for technical support
and your CV stating your affiliations and listing your degrees,
publications, and recent positions if applicable.
Possible topics include but are not limited to:

-Scenes of recognition in epic, drama, poetry, dialogue, novel, short
story, film, narrative paintings, pictorial poetry and prose, and
operatic encounters
-Recognition in sacred texts, such as in the Hebrew Bible, the New
Testament, the Qu’ran, the Bhagavad Gita, etc.
-Recognition in folk story, storytelling, and the role of recognition in
the oral tradition
-Recognition in politics and contemporary social theory
-Recognition and Bildungsroman
- Other literary concepts where a recognition takes place (and may lead
to a revelation), such as Aquinas’ quidditas-claritas, James Joyce’s
notion of ‘epiphany’; T.S. Eliot’s concept of the ‘objective
correlative’; William Wordsworth’s ‘spots of time’; Ernest
Hemingway’s ‘moment of truth’; W.B. Yeats’ ‘great memory’; or Giuseppe
Ungaretti, and Giorgos Seferis’ ‘moment’; Marcel Proust’s ‘Petites
Madeleines’, etc.

-Recognition and critical orientations
-Aristotelian anagnorisis and post-Aristotelian models of recognition
-Hegelian and post-Hegelian models of recognition
-Recognition and Hegel’s understanding of the emergence of self-
-Recognition and Socratic elenchus (Tarnopolsky)
-Recognition resulting as a moment of spiritual manifestation or
-Recognition and Lévinas’ encounter with the Other; his notion of epiphany

-Themes/tropes of self-recognition, self-transformation, and discovery
-Recognition as a trope in non-‘Western’ literature(s)
-Recognition in religion and theology
-Recognition, Self, and the Other
-Recognition and imagined communities
-Recognition in travel narratives, cross-cultural knowledge
-Recognition and shame (Tarnopolsky)

Works Cited
Aristotle. Poetics. Trans. James Hutton. New York: Norton, 1982.
Blackburn, Simon. "Recognition" The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Cave, Terence. Recognitions: A Study in Poetics. Oxford: Clarendon Press,
Connolly, Julie. "Charting a Course for Recognition: A Review Essay."
History of the Human Sciences 20. 1 (2007): 133-144. Sage Journals
Online. 27 July 2007
<http: //>.

Solomon, Prof. C. "Master and Slave" The Oxford Companion to Philosophy.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Tarnopolsky, Christina. “Prudes, Perverts, and Tyrants: Plato and the
Contemporary Politics of Shame.” Political Theory 32. 4. (2004): 468-494.
Sage Journals Online. 27 July 2007

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Received on Sun Aug 12 2007 - 22:54:11 EDT