CFP: The Absent Artifact (2/2/07; Calgary Free Exchange, 3/16/07-3/18/07)

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Spring Cleaning:
Rediscovering and Revitalizing the Artifact
University of Calgary Free Exchange Graduate Conference
16-18 March 2007
Calgary, Alberta
For more information, please visit Free Exchange at

The Absent Artifact: Manipulations of Lack

 “Absence persists,” says Roland Barthes, “I must endure it. Hence I will
manipulate it: transform the distortion of time into oscillation” (16).
Consider, then, the absent artifact—that desired and meaningful object
which, in its dearth, leaves the desire for its return. Poststructural
reading strategies, such as Derrida’s concept of haunting, and Kristeva’s
notion of abjection, not to mention contemporary psychoanalysis, have
figured the subject of a text to always-already be elsewhere. However,
the artifact—that crucial object—remains a sought after key to
understanding some hidden meaning of the text, be it the literary text,
or the text of the self. This panel will consider literary manipulations
of the absent artifact. Joseph G. Kronick locates “literature” for
Derrida as “the secret, the future, the singular, the place of
undecidability between the pairs of a long list of meta-
physical oppositions, as the gift, the absolutely self-referential and
lack of remainder at the same time” (Harvey 257). What might the
artifact’s remains signify? What happens when the artifact is constantly
misplaced, conjured or imagined? Is the artifact most relevant when it is
absent? Whether the artifact is absent or simply misplaced or out of
context, whether the manipulations are temporal or linguistic, the
artifact becomes the driving force of the narrative. Papers for this panel
will address manipulations of the absent or misplaced artifact in works of
literature and film. Broad interpretations of this theme are encouraged.

Deadline for submissions: 2 February 2007
Please submit 250 word proposals (for papers approx. 15 minutes in length)
to panel chair Erin Wunker at Attachments should be
in Rich Text or Word format only, and please include your name,
professional affiliation, and contact information in the body of your

Works Cited
Barthes, Roland. A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments. Trans. Richard Howard.
New York:
        Hill and Wang, 1977.
Harvey, Irene E. Rev. of Derrida and the Future of Literature. Joseph G.
Kronick. J of
Comparative Literature Studies 39.3 (2002): 257-58.

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Received on Sat Jan 06 2007 - 18:55:49 EST

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