Desire: From Eros to Eroticism November 10-11, 2011

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CUNY Graduate Center Comparative Literature Department

The students of the Department of Comparative Literature at the City University of New York Graduate Center present an interdisciplinary graduate student conference on November 10-11, 2011.

The concept of desire has been the subject of much examination throughout centuries of literature. From the ancient Greek idea of eros to psychological analysis of the subject through contemporary negotiations of love and desire, the interpretation of desire has evolved, but it has always held a central role in our literature and discourse. Desire serves as the motivation for action, and yet the most satisfying desire is often the one that remains unfulfilled. This conference will explore desire as it impels us forward in our pursuit of an end, which may be unattainable.

We invite papers from all disciplines focusing on works from any period that explore desire as it is portrayed in literature, philosophy, theory, art, film, or society. Some of the questions this conference seeks to answer include, but are not limited to:

• How does desire serve as a motivating force?
• Must desire be fulfilled in order to fulfill its purpose?
• In what ways are the repercussions of desire demonstrated?
• How has the definition of desire evolved between different cultures or time periods?
• In what way does desire figure into political landscapes, contemporary or otherwise?
• What is the relationship between desire and cultural production and entertainment in the age of the Internet and other technologies?
• How does an author's desire factor into the creation of a text?
• How does an absence of desire affect the text and its characters?
• How does comprehension of desire help us to explore the human psyche?
• How is desiring the "undesirable" presented and addressed?
• How does desire relate to discussions of gender, sexuality, race, and other intersections of sexual politics?
• How does desire relate to other concepts such as love, seduction, intoxication, and pleasure?

Please submit a 300 word abstract for a 15-20 minute paper by September 15, 2011 to Proposals should include the title of the paper, presenter's name, institutional and departmental affiliation, and any technology requests. We also welcome panel proposals of three to four papers.

This conference is co-sponsored by the Writers' Institute at the City University of New York Graduate Center, an un-MFA program devoted to bringing together the country's most talented writers and today's most celebrated editors, and by the Center for the Humanities, an interdisciplinary public forum devoted to promoting the humanities programs both for CUNY students and for all New Yorkers.