CFP: [Theory] Middle Passages: Poetics and Ethics of Suspension (ACLA 2008)

full name / name of organization: 
Mia L. McIver
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Middle Passages: Poetics and Ethics of Suspension
ACLA 2008
Submission deadline Nov. 15, 2007

Between the poles of departure and arrival, inquiry and conclusion,
creation and apocalypse lies the great middle, the part of the journey at
which movement and stasis confront each other dialectically. Wandering or
floating adrift in medias res always retains some relation to port — or
does it? In this seminar, we seek, with apologies to Frank Kermode, the
sense of a middle. We invite papers that close read, theorize, and critique
representations and formalizations of suspension in its many contexts and
guises, with special attention to the ethical demands and licenses
suspension entails. Possible topics include the functions and implications
of suspension in law (proceduralism, reprieves), theories of history and
temporality (dialectics, the pause, the moment), epistemologies (doubt,
suspended judgment or perception), theologies (purgatory, the withdrawal of
god), political theologies (divine violence of pure means, sovereign
abeyance), geographies (diaspora, permanent migration), philosophies of the
event (fidelity, interludes), and other disciplines. Xeno’s paradox,
asymptotic relations, perpetual motion, and infinite regress are all
potential objects of analysis. At its broadest, this seminar addresses
mediation, times and spaces in between, and the relation between means and
ends. In what ways do literature, film, visual arts, and other media
thematize and formalize these concerns? What are their implications for
narrative and an ethics of narrative?

Please submit paper proposals to the seminar through the ACLA conference
website (

Any questions? Contact Mia L. McIver, Department of English, University of
California, Irvine, at

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Received on Tue Oct 16 2007 - 13:47:49 EDT

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