[UPDATE] "Rough Music": Representing Violence (March 31, 2012)

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Southern Methodist University English Graduate Students

In The Plague of Fantasies, Slavoj Žižek describes Lacan's readings of classical, literary, and philosophical texts as "a case of violent appropriation…displacing the work from its proper hermeneutic context." And yet, he argues, "this very violent gesture brings about a breathtaking 'effect of truth'" and "a shattering new insight."

This conference, hosted by the English Department at Southern Methodist University, invites graduate students to interpret and explore the function of violence in all of its multitudinous forms, including, but not limited to, its function in literature. We invite proposals for consideration that reflect any and all interdisciplinary explorations of violence as trope, historical event or discursive technique.

Papers may engage violence from a variety of directions and deal with violence in any of the arenas in which it arises: politics, cultural studies, class, ethnic and racial discourses, gender, religion or in the very act of writing itself. Papers might examine questions such as:

• How do physical acts of violence obfuscate systemic violence? How does literary writing participate in or act against that obfuscation?
• How is violence enacted in, on or through a text?
• Why do some texts marginalize violence, pushing it off-screen, while other texts foreground it, making it a central part of their subject or, at times, the subject itself?
• What happens to a subject who is subjected to violence, physically or systemically?

The keynote speaker for this conference will be Dr. Richard Rankin Russell, Associate Professor of English at Baylor University. Dr. Russell specializes in 20th century British and Irish literatures. Among his numerous publications, Dr. Russell's most recent book, Poetry and Peace: Michael Longley, Seamus Heaney, and Northern Ireland (2010) was published by Notre Dame University Press. It received the 2011 SCMLA award and 2010 SAMLA award for best book published by a member of the association.

Please submit a 250-word abstract for your 20-minute presentation to smugradconference@gmail.com by February 15, 2012. Please specify your institutional affiliation, if applicable, and any technological requests.