Moving Forward 2012: The Use, Misuse and Abuse of Identity

full name / name of organization: 
Moving Forward 2012

Call for Papers:

The Use, Misuse and Abuse of Identity

Moving Forward 2012
9th Annual Postgraduate Conference of the College of Arts and Social Sciences
University of Aberdeen
22nd-24th June 2012
25th June Optional workshop

Keynote Speakers: Professor Mustapha Pasha
Professor Michael Syrotinski (TBC)
Dr Mark Fisher

Workshops led by: Dr Janet Stewart: The Ethics of Writing
Dr Barbara Fennell: Collaborative Research

I wanted
to be the banner
of my time
or a shred of its banner (Fried)

The self does not undergo modifications, it is itself a modification . . . in the end one is only what one has: it is by having that being is formed, and that the passive self is. (Deleuze)

The disenchantment bred by modernity insists upon categorization. All beings must locate, voice or assert belonging in order to 'benefit' from a legitimised existence. The acceptance of this truth – that identity must and will be found, have focussed the energies of intellectual and political circles on the difficulties inherent in the creation and articulation of one's own name. The cultural understanding of 'belonging' has itself been both 'revealed' and deconstructed in the rational exploration for the 'true' meaning of identity. And yet, definite identity has been all but negated by the inescapable variety of sub-divisions imposed on it; state, nation, sex, caste, creed and class – that altogether subsume the individuality of identity and, arguably, challenge the very possibility of belonging. Faced with such dilemmas in the articulation of a name, identity as a concept suffers its own crisis of belonging.

This year's Moving Forward conference intends to draw upon its tradition of interdisciplinary postgraduate dialogue to spark a series of conversations and considerations upon this 'crisis', and to reflect upon the use, misuse and abuse of identity within and without the academy. Now in its 9th year, the conference intends to continue its success in encouraging postgraduate research, by inviting proposals from across the disciplines of the Arts and Social Sciences, of no more than 300 words for the following:

1) Papers lasting 15 minutes (to be followed by Q & A)
2) Papers lasting 30 minutes (to be followed by sustained discussion of the paper. Preference will be given to postgraduates nearing the end of their research. To facilitate a second round of peer review, the organisers ask that proposals which are accepted in the first instance, be followed by the paper in its entirety no later than 2nd March 2012)

3) Panels comprising four speakers (each speaker will be allotted 15 minutes. In addition to the 300 word abstract for each paper, a 300 word text, detailing the motivation and rationale for the proposed panel, should also be submitted)

Suggested topics include (but are not exclusive to)

- State; Education; Voice. How do institutions fix and perpetuate ideas of identity? Who has the right to voice identity? Is our attachment to the idea of nationhood a learned and habituated phenomenon?

- Gender; Sex; Sexuality. Must genetic inheritance determine our identity? How do (gendered) language and dialect affect the construction of self? What are the implications of the need for a gender based identity and its place in society?

- Politics; Academia; Discourse. Is the 'need' for identity an assumed truth, created and perpetuated by academic and political discourse? Is the concept of identity necessary? What are the political implications of our search for belonging?

- Race; Religion; Culture. How is identity constructed, limited and promoted by institutionalised conceptions of race and religion? Can a perversion of the problem of identity move us closer to a post-Western 'loss' of the world? How is identity articulated culturally in literature, film and music?

- Technology; Post-human; Cybernetics. Has the advent of new forms of social networking and communication changed the way historical and social events shape the politics of identity? What are the effects of an ever-increasing globalised and hybrid world on the identity of the individual? How does the genre of science-fiction call into question traditional formulations of identity?"

- Violence; Postcoloniality; History; Economy and Society. What role does violence play in the knowledge of identity? Is it possible to have a pacifistic knowledge of self? How do historical, domestic and (inter)national acts of violence influence and shape modern identity? In what ways have the age of austerity and the financial crisis affected socio-economic identity? Has the growth of a global precariat challenged the traditional view of class/ethnic identity? Does common (economic) experience translate to common identity?

Language: What role can language (for example national languages, gendered language, minority languages, dialects to etc) play in individual and national identity building? How do the state and the public view the role of language? In which ways is the link between language and identity perceived and dealt with by various actors (politicians, academics, communities, language planners etc)?

Proposals for papers and panels must be submitted, along with a short CV, and a completed registration form (available at to the organisers at by Friday 3rd February 2012 and include no less than three key-words.