CFP: [Medieval] premodern surplus

full name / name of organization: 
Andrea Denny-Brown
contact email:

Call for papers on medieval and early modern notions of surplus and excess for a group of
interdisciplinary sessions on *Premodern Surplus* at the AESA conference on Surplus/Excess (see
call below). Proposed paper topics due to Professor Andrea Denny-Brown by November 1, 2007.
Contact Andrea Denny-Brown at

AESA Conference: Surplus/Excess
Call for Papers

April 3, 4, 5, 2008 The University of California, Riverside

Surplus: quantity of some thing that remains after activity relating to the production of that thing
has been completed or where the requirement to produce or possess the thing has been met.
Anything that is redundant or no longer useful may be described.

Excess: a state of something being present beyond a requisite amount.

The edge separating necessary from its beyond, surplus is simultaneously an excess requisite for
a functioning and continually circulating economy. Within Marxian theory, surplus is the profit
created when workers produce value above and beyond what they receive in the form of wages.
The relations generating surplus labor and value overspill capitalism: materialist analyses trace
surplus back to the formation of the social, the very lifeblood allowing a social division of labor.
In psychoanalytic theory, the excess of pleasure, jouissance, is also that which drives the libidinal
economy. Yet this brings us to a series of crucial questions: if surplus is required, what
distinguishes and marks surplus/excess? What is the ontological status of surplus? What are the
differences between surplus labor, surplus meaning, and surplus jouissance?

During three days in April, 2008, we will be bringing together scholars and students to
investigate the theoretical and material impact of surplus or excess (or both) in the world today.
In our discussions we will examine carefully what it means to speak, and act, informed by a
discourse of surplus/excess. Is it possible or fruitful to consider surplus/excess as value-neutral,
or even as a negation? Is it an avenue to the abject or the Lacanian “real?” Must we always think
of surplus/excess in relation to its binary “lack?” Can a notion of surplus/excess even function
discursively or materially without the possibility of “dearth” always attendant upon it as its own
“excessive” supplement? At what point does surplus/excess morph simply into “waste?” What is
the relation of abstract labor to such broadened notions of surplus/excess? What are the
concrete forms in which surplus/excess is performed, appropriated, and distributed in
contemporary global social formations? How could we rethink our relation to social surplus/
excess? Is it possible to have a stabilized social relation to surplus/excess; or, is surplus, by
definition, something that is beyond necessary and therefore also produces an excess of
ontological possibilities?

We welcome proposals on all aspects of Surplus/Excess.

300 word proposals due by November 1 to

Please put “SURPLUS/EXCESS Conference” in the subject line.

Sponsored by:
The Association for Social and Economic Analysis (AESA),
University of California, Riverside.

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Received on Fri Oct 12 2007 - 15:44:12 EDT

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