DEADLINE EXTENDED Shapeshifters: Recycling and Literature (April 25-26, 2014) Yale University

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Department of Comparative Literature, Yale University

SHAPESHIFTERS: Recycling and Literature
Keynote Speakers: Wai Chee Dimock (Yale) and Maite Zubiaurre (UCLA)

We are looking for a few more papers to fill out some of our panels. We would be particularly interested in relevant papers dealing with poetry, film and art history.

From Ovid to Ammons, writers have been fascinated by the physical transformation of material and the recycling of form. The very first line of The Metamorphoses reads, "I want to speak about bodies changed into new forms," while A. R. Ammons in Sphere writes, "Things go away to return, brightened for the passage." What is it about atoms and restless change that has attracted writers as diverse as Lucretius and Whitman? What does it mean to think of recycling as a form of desire? Or is the very idea of converting waste inimical to desire?
The students of the Department of Comparative Literature at Yale University present the annual interdisciplinary conference on literary and critical theory. The conference will be held Friday and Saturday, April 25-26, 2014 in celebration of Earth Day. Our conference will examine themes related to the aesthetics of recycling as well as issues of regeneration, originality, rhetorics of re-use, New Materialism, literary history, and adaptations of form and genre. Both
faculty and graduate students will jointly participate.
We welcome papers from all periods/genres discussing recent developments in critical theory on the relationship between textual and artistic practices and theories of matter. We envisage panels on the recycling of literary material and aesthetic processes as well as the problem of originality and authorship. For example, what does it mean for Anne Carson to reclaim Catullus' elegy in Nox or for James Merrill to re-fashion Dante in Divine Comedies?
"Shapeshifters" also looks to generate discussion on the intersection between literary studies and environmentalist and technoscientific discourses. What, for instance, are the implications of Karen Barad's inquiry into Niels Bohr's atomic theory and Bohr's collapsing of the "inherent distinction between subject and object, knower and known?" Our conference seeks rigorous literary and critical scholarship covering all genres, periods and languages with the potential to shift the shape of our thinking about literary studies and recycling.
Possible topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:
* Genre and periodization
* Recycled narratives
* Matter and meaning-making
* Literary assemblages
* Misers, hoarders, and recyclers in literature
* Recycled desire
* Atomism as literary trope
* Literary aesthetics of recycling
* Materialist poetics
* Chronotopes, memory, and nostalgia
* Ecotheory, ethics, and literature
* Possibilities/limitations of New Materialism in literary studies
* Recycling in art and architecture

Please submit a 250 word abstract to by March 23, 2014. You can find more information about the conference at