CFP: [Medieval] Why Am I Me? (Identity, Birth, Origin, Lot, Individuation)

full name / name of organization: 
Nicola Masciandaro

Why Am I Me? On Being Born in the Middle Ages

Call for Papers, Kalamazoo 2008

The arbitrariness of identity, the ever-present absence of an explanation
for why one happens to be oneself, is a fundamental feature of human life.
It is an aspect of what Heidegger calls geworfenheit or the thrownness of
existence, a kind of invisible, impossible originating of the individual
that is always there, demanding to be recognized, negotiated, forgotten. On
this arbitrariness rests both our strongest claims to self-knowledge and
our profoundest desires for escape, which is, as Levinas says, “the need to
get out of oneself, that is, to break that most radical and unalterably
binding of chains, the fact that the I [moi] is oneself [soi-meme].” How
was the arbitrariness of identity understood and represented during the
Middle Ages? Proposals are sought for papers that address this question
from any discipline and with regard to any related theme (individuality,
origin, lot, birth, embodiment, et al). Sponsor: Medieval Club of New York.
Please email proposals to Nicola Masciandaro ( by
September 15, 2007.

Nicola Masciandaro
Associate Professor
Department of English
Brooklyn College, CUNY
2900 Bedford Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11210
tel: 718-951-5784
fax: 718-951-4612

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Received on Thu Aug 09 2007 - 19:22:33 EDT