ACLA 2014 (March 20-23, NYU) Capital And Aesthetic Forms: Mediating Totality Now (Deadline November 1st)

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American Comparative Literature Association
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The seminar concerns how various artistic forms and media take up the problem of mediating totality today. Much contemporary literature, and aesthetic production more generally, draws our attention to the conceptual centrality of totality in the present. This seminar aims at understanding totality’s historical forms of appearance alongside attempts, such as Lyotard’s, to “wage war on totality” and “be witnesses to the unrepresentable.” Asking, then, how we might historicize both the totalizing impulse within literature, art, or criticism and its critique without losing the distinction between non-identity and difference is crucial to the seminar’s interest in specificity of media and forms. How might we conceptualize the relations between contemporary aesthetic production and that non-empirical system of relationships capitalism names? Can specific forms or media better meet the demand to mediate totality within the context of a present fully subsumed under the principle of exchange?

This seminar thus proposes to explore the manner in which the novel, poetry, film, videography, photography, television, and artworks more generally take up the question of totality, as well as the attendant problems of mediation, representation, mimesis, reflection, determination, and/or homology. Papers comparing the ways different media and forms instantiate these problems may be especially helpful in thinking through historical changes in aesthetic mediations of totality and the relationship with emergent technologies of representation, though the seminar is open to various approaches and methodologies. We welcome papers on works written within the last three decades from any national or regional tradition.

Please submit paper proposals (max. 250 words) through ACLA's website and select this seminar from the drop-down list:

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