Reproduction, Life, and Futurity in the Humanities/ ACLA March 29 - April 1, 2012

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American Comparative Literature Association Conference

This seminar for the 2012 American Comparative Literature Association Conference examines how reproductive politics function in connection to the three conference themes of collapse, catastrophe, and change. These themes and their implicit concerns with reproduction and futurity—with what happens after the disaster—are part of what we see as a current focus on biopolitics and "the politics of life" in the Humanities. We seek to discuss the reproductive dimensions of this focus by asking if there are ways to reconfigure present life politics so that they no longer solely privilege the human, and to unbind them from an obsessive focus on futurity.

We welcome papers from diverse disciplinary and theoretical backgrounds that discuss how text, art, film, literature and philosophy can help us answer questions such as: How are fears about political collapse, catastrophe and change connected to, configured by, and imaginably dealt with via narratives dealing with reproduction? How are reproductive biopolitics, and the politics of the present, connected to literary discourse? Is it possible to imagine concepts like "humanity" or "community" without appealing to notions of futurity? What does it mean to posit the biological as a solution to the political? And, can we imagine reproduction, and the idea of "life itself," without relying on "prolife" concepts that fixate on what is to come next for us—for humans?

Alongside papers that focus on reproductive rights, fiction and film, futurism and biopolitics, other areas of interest include reproductive dystopias, embodiment, queer politics, ecology, science fiction, and modern/postmodern thought.

Please email abstracts to and Heather Latimer at, as well as submitting directly to the conference website ( by November 15, 2011.