Aesthetics, Democracy and Community: Prospects and Archives @ C19, Berkeley, CA, April 12-15, 2012

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We are seeking participants for a panel at the April, 2012, C19 Conference, to be held at U.C. Berkeley, which will examine a range of perspectives on the relationship of aesthetics to notions of democracy and community in 19th-century American literature and art. As recent studies in US literature and culture – from Sianne Ngai's Ugly Feelings to Russ Castronovo's Beautiful Democracy – have shown, aesthetics addresses questions of passivity and activity, association and isolation, which were central to the conception and experience of 19th-century community. Also in recent years, philosophers such as Giorgio Agamben, Jacques Derrida, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri have drawn on American examples to propose new formulations for the immanence of community and multitude, theorizing ideas of democracy and community "to come" out of a 19th-century American archive. This panel seeks to explore the complexity of such approaches, taking seriously efforts which seek to re-imagine community and democracy, while also attending to the ways which the archive resists such gestures. We welcome submissions that take up questions of aesthetics and community from a variety of perspectives and archives.

Please submit an abstract of 250-300 words by September 15th to

Jennifer Greiman,

James Lilley,