"Automation and Catastrophe" (March 29-April 1, 2012), deadline for proposals November 15

full name / name of organization: 
American Comparative Literature Association
contact email: 

From Jacques de Vaucanson's eighteenth-century defecating duck to robots to weaponized military drones, automation has long been a significant site of fascination and fear. This panel will explore automation using a wide lens โ€“ one that includes aesthetic representations of, for example, automated machines, animals, and humans, as well as theories of automation, labor, and technology. Specifically, this panel seeks to investigate the narratives and rhetorics of catastrophe and crisis that frequently accompany automation: from fears of dehumanization through our engagement with automated machines, to threats of the automation of our labor, production, consumption, and desires. While attending to these catastrophic depictions of automation, we will ask if and how we can complicate the relationship between automation and crisis. We will begin our collective inquiry by bringing various representations, narratives, and theories of automation into conversation. We will then ask questions such as, what are the specific threats said to be associated with automation? What does the language of catastrophe perform in these narratives and theories of automation? And what do narratives, rhetorics, and metaphors of automation โ€“ and likewise catastrophic automation โ€“ tell us about how we conceptualize our relationships to labor, animals, other humans, and ourselves?

This panel welcomes papers across historical periods, theoretical investments, and aesthetic forms, including but not limited to literature, film, art, and video games. This panel also welcomes papers on automatic writing.

Please submit paper proposals at the following webpage: http://www.acla.org/submit/index.php. Be sure to select the seminar "Automation and Catastrophe." Deadline for proposals is November 15.

For more details about the conference see: http://acla.org/acla2012/