ACLA 2010 Seminar "Figurative Imaginings in Art, Science, and Politics"

full name / name of organization: 
Nicole Sparling & Atia Sattar


New Orleans, LA

April 1-4, 2010

Conference website:

Figurative Imaginings in Art, Science, and Politics
Seminar Organizers: Atia Sattar & Nicole Sparling

In this seminar, we explore the multiple valences of the term "figure": as a verb that has the possibility to transform and shape; as a static object that can be maneuvered or positioned on the social stage; and/or as a rhetorical or literary device with definite outlines and contours. The term "figure," then, not only represents the body (in its biological, social, and political readings), as both figuring subject and site of figuration, but can also be interpreted as an abstraction or device. Moreover, as a point of reference, the figure signifies a potential locus of meaningful dialogue between art, science, and/or politics. We encourage the participation of those who are working in a combination of, but not confined to, the following fields: comparative literature, cultural studies, science studies, new media studies, the history of medicine, science, and technology, and political theory. We welcome papers that examine how the multifaceted concept of figure translates into different disciplines as well as across cultures. Examples of such figural negotiations, whether literary, performance-based, or diagrammatic, may include, but are not limited to:

- depictions of pathology in literature, theater, or art
- psychological categorizations through the use of images (as in the Rorschach test)
- cultural and political epistemologies of scientific structures (such as DNA)
- recurring tropes in both scientific and literary texts
- bodily figures or figures of speech and their interdisciplinary translation
- biopolitics and its forms of representation
- scientific processes aesthetically imagined
- theories of embodiment
- politics of contagion and immigrant bodies