CFP: [Theory] Communities and Collectivities: Old Questions, New Contours (ACLA Annual Meeting, April 24-27, 2008)

full name / name of organization: 
Elana Commisso
contact email: 

Two questions lie at the heart of any thinking of community or
collectivity: “Who are we?” and “How many are we?” These questions are
borrowed from Derrida’s Politics of Friendship and Spivak’s Death of a
Discipline but different iterations can be found in the work of others:
Bataille, Blanchot, Deleuze, Nancy. If a consideration of community and
collectivity has to start necessarily by asking about the identity of its
members and by calculating their number, the answers to these questions
are, on the other hand, far from evident, bound as they are to assumptions
particularly prone to metaleptic reasoning. What must be assumed in order
to speak about communities and collectivities? What rhetorical and
epistemological forms do these discourses take? Much interesting work has
been done on the genealogical and etymological implications of the
concept-network associated with the common, the commune, the co-immune, and
so on. Yet, the community remains a question that returns in unanticipated

This seminar takes up the question of communities and collectivities,
whether as political or social ventures, secular or ecumenical
institutions, or even as cosmopolitan or planetary undertakings. What kinds
of tensions and contestations take place in any expression of community or
collectivity? Is community necessarily determined by a certain notion of
kinship? Or can it be wholly elective? Is life legible outside of its
communal and collective forms? Does democracy, associated traditionally
with equality and inclusiveness, allow a thinking of collectivity beyond a
fraternal model? We invite papers that explore these questions from a
variety of perspectives: literary, philosophical, historical, and scientific.

Please send in abstracts before November 15, 2007 through the ACLA website

If you have questions, contact Elana Commisso ( or
Bishupal Limbu (

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Received on Fri Oct 19 2007 - 06:21:58 EDT