CFP: [Cultural-Historical] Auto-bio-phagies
University of Cyprus
Department of French Studies and Modern Languages
October 31 â€" November 2, 2008
Invited Speaker: Philippe Lejeune
Call for papers
The idea of decenterment signifies a major evolution of the very notion
of subject, triggered by the philosophy of Nietzsche, which dominates
poststructuralist and postmodernist thought. The omnipotent I, usually
thought of as a physiological, grammatical and philosophical commodity,
has been repeatedly questioned. Therefore, its internal topography seems
nowadays to obey numerous agencies and undergo multiple transformations;
in addition to that, psychoanalysis has long questioned any pretenses of
a â€˜homogenousâ€™ and â€˜trueâ€™ subject. If Nietzsche claimed that suggesting
the existence of a unique subject was no longer necessary, would it be
legitimate to suppose that there are multiple subjects and that their
interaction is at the heart of our thought?
In fact, one could say that the decentered subject somehow tends to be
reestablished by being relocalized: anti-subject practices of surrealism,
the Nouveau Roman, the new autobiography and poststructuralism frequently
go hand in hand with a certain reclaiming of subjectivity partly founded
on the â€œsolidityâ€ of common sense. Even though the former are supposed to
exclude the latter and vice versa, their almost inevitable
complementarity keeps them together; thatâ€™s probably why Charles Taylor
(Sources of the Self) talks about a quasi paradox.
In this ongoing and everlasting process of re-subjectivization, the place
held by the discourses of the body seems to be particularly important.
Thinking (through) the body there is always a body and a self in the
body, Nietzsche tells us incorporates the abstract and embodies the
speculations of Theory. Hence the instrumentalized body is replaced by a
bodiliness which becomes the site of the revisited subject. This kind of
discourse often focuses on the metaphor of digestion. On the one hand,
this metaphor can be the paradigm of every â€œbio-graphyâ€, that is of a
discourse which might be described in terms of an â€œorexisâ€ or of
an â€œeating wellâ€ which encourages us to â€œidentify with the other, who is
to be assimilated, interiorized, understood ideallyâ€ (Derrida, â€œ â€˜Eating
Wellâ€™, or the Calculation of the Subjectâ€). On the other hand, this very
metaphor is equally present in the writing of â€œauto-bio-graphyâ€, given
that â€œa strong and successful man digests his experiences (his actions,
including his evil actions) as he digests his mealsâ€ (Nietzsche,
Genealogy of Morals).
This conference aims to explore the multiple facets of the disappearance
and the resurgence of the subject placing special emphasis on the
discourses of the body and of the self, in order to investigate what the
neologism of the title, namely auto-bio-phagy, might mean. Given the
interdisciplinary perspective of the conference, proposals focusing on
philosophy, literature, visual arts as well as other disciplines within
the humanities are welcome. Papers presented at the conference will be
submitted to peer review in order to be included in a collective volume.
The conference will be held in English and French.
Proposals (200-300 words) should be sent via email to May Chehab
(mchehab_at_ucy.ac.cy) and Apostolos Lampropoulos (aplampro_at_ucy.ac.cy)
before June 15, 2008. The draft program of the conference will be
established early July 2008.
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Received on Thu Apr 24 2008 - 11:14:50 EDT