Curiosities - Feb. 17, 2012

full name / name of organization: 
Tufts Graduate Humanities Conference

What makes an object, a person, or a pursuit a "curiosity"? Are curiosities abnormal and rare? Are they always the extraordinarily strange, or can they be an everyday oddity? Enmeshed in a larger set of notions that often pit the social against the individual, the normative against the taboo, and the expected against the surprising, curiosities generate questions about desire, taste, knowledge, and inquiry.

This interdisciplinary conference – which replaces a longstanding English graduate conference at Tufts University – endeavors to explore past, present, and future "curiosities" in the many senses of the word. We will consider novel objects and people, as well as irregular approaches and perspectives. How might being "curious" be both an impetus to activity and a description of activity itself? How is a desire for knowledge a potential curiosity in its own right?

We encourage abstracts that explore the theme of Curiosities from a wide range of fields and disciplines. Topics may include but certainly are not limited to:

The Peculiar and Uncommon
The Exceptional and States of Exception
The Virtuoso and The Everyman
Generic Curiosities
The Spy, Voyeur, and Critic
History and Anachronism
The Archive, Library, and Collection
Kitsch and Camp
Animal Studies
The Fetish
The Natural and Unnatural
New Mediums and Virtuality
Politics and Ethics

Keynote address by Andrew Piper, Associate Professor of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at McGill University. Professor Piper's work focuses on the intersection of literary and bibliographic communication from the eighteenth century to the present. He is the author of Dreaming in Books: The Making of the Bibliographic Imagination in the Romantic Age (Chicago).

PLEASE SUBMIT a 250-500 word abstract, including your name, email address, and affiliation, by December 12, 2011.
Mail or e-mail abstracts to:
Jennifer Croteau
Department of English, East Hall 210
Tufts University
Medford, MA 02155

Sponsored by:
Tufts English Graduate Organization
Tufts University English Department
Tufts University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences