CFP: Figures of Intellectual Labor (grad) (12/31/06; 3/2/07-3/3/07)

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Panel for Figures of Comparison in the Humanities and the Social
Sciences, the second annual graduate student conference of The
Center for Comparative Literature and Society (CCLS)

Date/Place: March 2nd-3rd, 2007/ Columbia University, New York

CFP: Figures of Intellectual Labor (panel moderated by Bruce

Claude Levi-Strauss issues a challenge to comparativists when he
begins his Tristes Tropiques by declaring, "I hate traveling and
explorers." To Levi-Strauss, mere movement or the simple encounter
with difference can never constitute the foundations of a truly
comparative anthropology. In The Savage Mind, Levi-Strauss further
interrogates the subject of comparison by distinguishing between
two modes of knowledge acquisition: that of the scientist and that
of the bricoleur. Whereas the former attempts to move beyond the
constraints imposed by a particular state of civilization, the
latter makes do with whatever is at hand. This panel proposes to
discuss whether structure, or even structuralism, is a necessary
precondition for acts of comparative imagination. Gilles Deleuze's
notion of the assemblage – an ensemble of language, affect, and
machine located neither on the side of the subject nor on the side
of the object of knowledge – is one of the many possibilities for
comparative inquiry that refuses the dictates of structuralism. For
this panel, papers should examine various figures of intellectual
labor – the traveler, the explorer, the scientist, the bricoleur,
the assemblage – as they are mobilized to describe comparative work
across disciplines by asking, for example: What is the relationship
between journalism and academic production? Is a focus on the
experiences/ itineraries of the migrant a sufficient basis for
comparativism? What is the residual strength of abstractions like
culture or society as organizing principles of comparative work?
How do various forms of communications technology structure in
advance the possibilities for comparison? Do some of these forms
call for scientists while others call for bricoleurs?

The conference will be introduced by the director of CCLS, Gayatri
Chakravorty Spivak. All panels will be moderated by Columbia
University faculty members. The conference will close with a
roundtable discussion in which the panel moderators will present
their concluding thoughts and open the discussion to the public.
You can visit the following website for more information on the

Please send a 300-500 word abstract to the following e-mail address
no later than December 31st, 2006:

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Received on Tue Nov 28 2006 - 17:56:40 EST