Conference in progress.

full name / name of organization: 
NYU Department of French, Graduate Student Association

The Conference, both a space and a genre, is a staple of academic practice. To participate in a conference is not only to share work with one's peers, it is also always a performance. As a specific kind of social and intellectual interaction, it is both a gathering and a workshop; the format is both familiar and obligatory, bordering on ritual. Obscure yet inevitable, exclusive yet struggling for wide relevance, the conference is an event that can serve as a locus of interrogation of academic themes and academia more broadly.

Academic jobs are few; Wall Street is occupied. We find it necessary both intellectually and politically to question what happens when and where we speak. Beyond simple self-reflexivity or mise en abyme, we aim to stage a conference on conference. How is it a specific space and event? How do we conference, why do we conference? What reflex is behind this ritual; what gestures does it convey, omit or repress? Who belongs at a conference, and to whom does a conference speak?

To reflect the seriousness of our purpose, instead of simply parodying a conference, we wish to incite new considerations on the Conference through new forms. To this end, we welcome project proposals that address a vast and enormous range of subjects, in imaginative and multitudinous forms. These could include, but are not limited to: papers, workshops, posters, reenactments, pecha kucha, PowerPoint, panel discussions, roundtables, short films, alternative media, seminars, Socratic dialogue, etc.

Please submit project proposals to by January 1, 2012. Each proposal should clearly state what you want to do and how you want to do it; presenters will be chosen based on coherence of content with form. The form of the conference will thus depend on the projects proposed, and on our work together.

In the course of our brainstorming, these words were mentioned:

humor – performance – prendre la parole – audience – panel – keynote – call – time – space – roundtable – accepting – rejecting – questions – opening remarks – boredom – frustration – tension – listening to yourself speak – nervousness – arousal – response – stage fright – intellectuals on vacation – professionalism – conference center – conference call – accent – language – translation – titles – format – idea fair – workshop – se montreracte – reading out loud – technology – coffee break – risk – banquet – reflexivity – networking – "meta" – événement – presenting – moderating – moderation – expose – exposé – presence – "giving" a paper – speech acts