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Approaching Blackness: Beyond the Limits of Representation
full name / name of organization:
Institute for English and American Studies, American Studies, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Berlin, November 13-15, 2014
Beatty, Slumberland. New York: Bloomsbury, 2009.
In recent years, however, this model of representation has been questioned from a variety of perspectives. The humanities in general has been increasingly turning towards nonrepresentational theories coming from such fields as performance studies, geography, and anthropology, and including such perspectives as, among others, (post)phenomenology, speculative realism, object-oriented ontology, and affect theory. Within American studies there have been debates about the validity of the concept of multiculturalism (with, among others, Walter Benn Michaels on one side and Jodi Melamed and Roderick A. Ferguson on the other side of the debate) and the question of a post-racial society. In his book What Was African American Literature?, Kenneth Warren has argued that African American literature was a direct response to the disenfranchisement black Americans and as such belongs to the historical period of the Jim Crow era. If ‘African American literature’ is solely defined as a displacement of political representation onto the literary realm, however, it would seem logical to assume, as Warren does, that once the African American population achieved civil rights, African American literature would cease to have a function.
As such, the main question that will be asked in this conference is how to find new ways of approaching blackness beyond the limits of representation. In the consideration of this question, we call for a renewed investment in transdisciplinary practices. We invite a variety of topics and approaches, ranging from the aesthetic — which could include questions on the significance of the color ‘black’ in the visual arts, blackness as the absence of color, or the iconic and symbolic roles of blackness in art —, the transnational — which includes questions on the black Atlantic, or the more recent concerns of Afro-Pessimism and critical cosmopolitanism —, and the metacritical — which may include a critique of these new theoretical paradigms.
The 13th Annual Students and Graduates Conference seeks to explore theoretical and methodological approaches to blackness in various disciplines. We welcome and invite advanced bachelors, masters, doctoral, as well as professionals from various fields to submit proposals for a 20 minute presentation, along with a short (max. 200 word) biography, to:
Visit the website at http://asgconferenceberlin.tumblr.com/