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Renaissance of Roland Barthes April 25th-26th, 2013
full name / name of organization:
Claire Sommers/CUNY Graduate Center
Speakers: Jonathan Culler, Diana Knight, Rosalind Krauss, D.A. Miller, and Lucy O’Meara
The students of the Comparative Literature and English departments at the City University of New York Graduate Center present the second annual interdisciplinary conference on Critical Theory, to be held April 25-26, 2013. The conference will be devoted to the writings of French literary theorist and critic Roland Barthes.
In response to Roland Barthes’ tragic death in 1980, Michel Foucault observed that Barthes, in his lecture courses only a week before the accident, seemed “completely developed;” Foucault recalled thinking at the time: ‘He'll live to be ninety years old; he is one of those men whose most important work will be written between the ages of sixty and ninety.’ Barthes’ final lecture course, Preparation of the Novel, staged the search for a Vita Nuova and a “third form” between or beyond the Essay and the Novel that would, in the manner of “the Neutral,” baffle or outplay the paradigms of theory and literature. Even if we can only hypothesize what hybrid work of critique and narrative Barthes would have gone on to create, the brilliance, theoretical significance, and formal innovation of his late work, especially his lectures, has yet to receive the international attention it deserves. In light of the publication of the final installment of his lecture courses, How to Live Together, we invite presentations from all fields to explore ANY aspect of Roland Barthes’ oeuvre: the tightrope his writing walks between the forms of the novel and the essay, the evolution of his writing and thinking throughout his life, the engagement of his work with literary or cultural texts, and the relationship of his work to critical theory, as well as to any and all other disciplines. Some of the questions this conference seeks to explore include, but are not limited to:
• How can we re-think or complicate the narrative that takes The Pleasure of the Text (1973) as the beginning of a shift not only in Barthes’ thinking, but in French theory, more generally, from structuralism to post-structuralism? How does Barthes’ “late work” reflect upon, and even dramatize, such a historical transition?
Please submit a 300 word abstract for a 15-20 minute paper by March 1, 2013 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Proposals should include the title of the paper, presenter’s name, institutional and departmental affiliation, and any technology requests. We also welcome panel proposals of three to four papers.
This conference is co-sponsored by the Writers’ Institute at the City University of New York Graduate Center, the Center for Humanities, the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, Columbia University Press, and the Doctoral Students’ Council.