"Sovereignty and Aesthetics." Special issue of The Comparatist

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The Comparatist
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Call for Papers: Special Issue, The Comparatist

Topic: Sovereignty and Aesthetics

General Editor: Zahi Zalloua (Whitman College)

We welcome contributions that examine the complex relation between sovereignty and aesthetics. Where does one locate sovereignty in a discussion of aesthetics? Is it on the side of the reader, the work, or the institution/field in question? Is an affirmation of the sovereignty of literature—that is, an emphasis on literature’s resistance to definition, reason and/or comprehension, on its irreducibility to moral philosophy, politics, anthropology, etc.—irredeemably at odds with the reader’s will-to-interpret or desire for hermeneutic mastery? How have the theoretical debates on and around feminism, psychoanalysis, postcolonial studies, globalization and transnationalism altered any received notion(s) of sovereignty in literary studies? Is a concern for the literary work as such necessarily a dubious abstraction from the material world? That is to say, is a care for aesthetic form always tainted by ideology, inculcating in its interpreters not only a love for high culture but also a sense of cultural superiority? Can we imagine the literary subject (the author, the critic/reader), after Derrida, as a “sovereign without sovereignty”? Topics of interest could include:

The work of art as symptom/sinthome
Levinas and the ethics of reading
Bourdieu, cultural studies, and the literary canon
Derrida and the “strange institution” of literature
Sovereignty and hospitality
Queering sovereignty
Modernist vs. Postmodernist Aesthetics
The globalization of literature
The “Aesthetic (Re)Turn” in literary studies

Interested contributors should submit a 1-page abstract by April 1, 2011 to zallouz@whitman.edu. Deadline for completed articles will be September 1, 2011.

cfp categories: 
modernist studies