Aesthetics / Class / Worlds (October 14-15, 2011)
Aesthetics / Class / Worlds
2nd Annual Conference of the Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature Department at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
October 14-15, 2011
Our conference seeks to examine the many modes through which aesthetic practices testify to the tensions between the worlds people are determined by, live in, and create. Mediating global tendencies and local realities, these lived and imagined worlds often obscure the social relations in which they are ultimately rooted. Class, as a category that is manifest between economic and political forces, persists in helping us think through these tensions between worlds and "the" world. Broadly, we ask, how do aesthetic practices attempt to imagine the world while always remaining part of it? What is the role of aesthetic practices in the configuration of worldviews and everyday practices? To what extent is class a useful category to conceptualize the relationship between aesthetics and the worlds that people produce, intervene in, and reflect? How has aesthetics, as a constitutive element of history, changed in our digital age? And what does it mean to ask these kinds of questions at this particular juncture when disciplines in the humanities once again face crisis everywhere?
From our position in a department committed to radical thought and cultural criticism, we sense the urgency in asking these questions now, as departments confront neoliberal restructuring and impending closure. Programs in the humanities continue to face misrecognition: while we still traffic in traditional forms such as novels and films, we have long been asking representational questions that challenge discrete disciplinary constraints by weaving text and context. To counter this misrecognition, we insist that this approach is, as always, fundamentally political. We thus welcome work that examines conditions at sites of intellectual labor across disciplines, as well as in broader global modes of production and aesthetic practice.
Possible paper topics include but are not limited to:
- politics and aesthetics (including the politics of aesthetics)
- realisms and modernisms
- the global avant-garde(s)
- theory and praxis of art
- the politics of the vernacular
- cinematic worlds
- translation and interpretation
- trauma and testimony
- theories of capital and empire
- new media in the world system
- rethinking mass culture
- revolution and representation
- utopias and the event
- the politics of social space
- modes of intertextuality
- the future of the humanities
Please submit your abstract of no more than 300 words to UMCSCLconference@gmail.com by May 15th, 2011. Include your name, e-mail address, brief bio (including school affiliation, position, and research interests), and any audio-visual requirements. Papers should be in English and no more than 20 minutes in length. We are also interested in panel submissions, which should consist of at least three participants and which should include the above information about each participant and a tentative title indicating the theme. The conference fee will be $20 for students and $40 for faculty.