CFP: Altered States: Utopian Possibilities (grad) (2/25/07; 3/29/07-3/30/07)

full name / name of organization: 
EGSA Colloquium

Altered States: Utopian Possibilities, Pathologies, and Placeboes
English Graduate Student Association Colloquium
York University, Toronto
Keynote speaker: Imre Szeman (Mcmaster University)
29-30 Mar 07

In altering the states of things by imagining them differently,
utopias seek out possibilities for a better world. Yet because of
conflicting ideals and the difficulties inherent in thinking beyond
the status quo, possibilities can too easily become pathologies or
placeboes. Presently, this is manifested in the ongoing Global War on
Terror, which has an ostensible goal of achieving a safer world: it
functions paradoxically, employing campaigns of violence in an effort
to quell a perceived rise in global violence. Although at times the
utopian impulse results in terror, the notion that the former
necessarily breeds the dystopian latter is noxious because it results
in the stultification of the very possibility of change.

This interdisciplinary colloquium seeks to interrogate the
possibilities of altered states and the ways in which social,
political, and individual change is envisioned, represented, and
theorised. How does the desire for transformation emerge and what
triggers action? How is change conceived and enacted? What means exist
for doing so? Can the status quo be challenged and ultimately
transcended or only attenuated? Must the striving for eutopia (a good
place) result in outopia (no place)? What are the roles of
individuals, groups, nations, and artists in the processes of altering

We invite submissions from all disciplines, and contributors are
invited to propose papers on issues related to the problem or
problematization of altered states and their possibilities,
pathologies, and placeboes. Papers may address, but need not be
limited to, the following:

-the modified body
-utopia/dystopia as genre or impulse
-space travel
-gendered spaces
-global warming
-collaborative practices
-social movements
-non-governmental organizations
-encounters with Otherness
-neologism, metaphor, tropes and figures

Please send abstracts of 250-350 words to by
25 Feb 07.

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Received on Thu Feb 01 2007 - 19:00:43 EST