Authority and Its Discourses
Call for Papers
Authority and Its Discourses
Department of Foreign Languages, University of Boumerdès
October 19-21, 2014
What is authority? How does it manifest itself? We know, since Foucault, that it can take different, and often subtle, aspects; we also know that it is inseparable from discourse. In Discipline and Punish, Foucault explains that seemingly more or less neutral institutions like schools, hospitals, and art make use of discursive mechanisms to set norms and hierarchies. Authority is usually held by those who represent the norm and occupy the highest positions in hierarchy; it seems, thus, to be inseparable from order. Yet there is also a form of authority that one may term "subversive" or "non-official". One thinks, for example, of the fascination exerted by heroic outlaws and, sometimes, by outright bandits. One also thinks of the status of saintliness bestowed on fools and madmen in some cultures. On the other hand, "official" authority may be contested, as when political leaders are caricatured or when teachers and employers see their decisions questioned. The very concept of authority is frowned upon in our "democratic" times. A more "horizontal", that is, egalitarian relationship, is encouraged in professional as well as pedagogic contexts; and social markers are becoming obsolete.
The objective of the "Authority and its Discourses" conference is to reflect first on the discursive strategies whereby authority is constructed, manifested, resisted, and overthrown and, second, on the representation of authority in popular, literary, and media discourses, among others. What role does authority play in political and social organization? Should one plead for stricter or more flexible authority? Is authority the waning, dated concept that it is thought to be or has it merely put on a new garb and borrowed new discursive techniques? What are, precisely, the rhetorical strategies deployed by authority holders all through history? And what similar or different strategies of resistance come to overthrow these holders and replace them by new authority representatives? These are some of the questions that the conference will attempt to answer.
Whether their subject be authority in politics (election campaign speeches, for example), in academia (the teacher/learner relationship), or in culture (patriarchal authority), all proposals pertaining to the conference theme are welcome. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
Authority and politics:
Authority and propaganda
Authority and censorship
The discourse(s) of colonial domination
The discourse(s) of resistance
Opponents, dissidents, trade unionists
"The Empire Writes Back"
Authority and gender:
The discourse(s) of patriarchy
The discourse(s) of feminism
Authority and literature:
Representation of authority in literature
The hierarchy of literary genres
Literary prizes and institutions
Authority and academia:
Knowledge and authority
Quotations and authoritative argument
The evolution of the teacher/learner relationship
Please send a 250-300 word proposal and a short bio-bibliographical note to firstname.lastname@example.org by February 15th 1014. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by March 15th 2014.
There is no registration fee. The organizers will provide meals and accommodation, but participants will have to cover their travel/transportation fees.
The languages of the conference are English, French, and Arabic.
Scientific Committee (in alphabetical order):
ARAB Si Abderrahmane, University of Boumerdès
BENAOUDA Habiba, University of Boumerdès
BENGUESMIA Mahdia, University of Batna
BOUKERMA Fatima-Zohra, University of Boumerdès
CAREY Daniel, National University of Ireland, Galway
CHOUITEN Lynda, University of Boumerdès
DINE Philip, National University of Ireland, Galway
FORSDICK Charles, University of Liverpool
GUERIN Jean-Yves, Sorbonne Nouvelle University - Paris 3