CFP: Biopolitics, Narrative, Temporality (9/1/05; journal issue)

full name / name of organization: 
Alex Ruch
contact email: 

POLYGRAPH 18: Biopolitics, Narrative, Temporality

Contemporary accounts of politics often coincide with strategies, theories,
and experiences of temporality, whether they be historical periodizations, the
experience of everyday life, or attempts to give figural or concrete form to
such experiences through narration. If we understand narrative as the
principal and necessary means through which one is able to make sense of time
and temporal experience (and therefore also social change), we must recognize
the centrality of narrative to any attempt to think politically; if we reject
this claim, we must account for one's ability to make sense of lived
experience in some other way. Beyond this dilemma, however, we must
acknowledge the prevalence of narrative as a means for understanding life
(everyday or otherwise), causality, and political action, not only in the
abstract, but in relation to specific forms of narrative and the different
experiences of temporality they engender.

The next issue of Polygraph aims to explore the politics of life today—
provisionally defined as biopolitics—by examining the constructions of
temporality at these various levels. How might a notion of the biopolitical
take its form and mode of expression from differing theories of narration,
periodization, or everyday life in the present age? How do different forms of
narrative provide differing schema for understanding the temporal experience
of contemporary life, and to what extent is a notion of everyday life itself
contingent on specific modes of temporal understanding? Moreover, what is the
relation between biopolitics and everyday life as we try to think the
political or epistemic effectivity of narrative today?

We hope to examine these questions by bringing together analyses of the
political with those of narrative and temporal experience in contemporary
cultural production: literature, theater or performance art, cinema,
television, and other contemporary or emergent media. How do contemporary
narratives and modes of narration coincide with, inform, or make possible the
experience of politics or temporality today? How can we understand the relation
(s) between historical questions of periodization and social transformation
and more empirical or cognitive forms of temporality explored in the fields of
science? Through these juxtapositions, we hope to come to a more fully
developed understanding of the politics of social life in the contemporary age.

Deadline for submissions
September 1, 2005

POLYGRAPH submission guidelines
Papers should be submitted electronically via e-mail to the issue editors: Rod
Frey ( and Alexander Ruch ( Any
editable file format is acceptable, but Word or HTML formats are preferred.

Manuscripts should be prepared following Chicago Manual of Style guidelines,
using endnotes for bibliographic citations. Papers published in the journal
generally range in length from 5,000 to 15,000 words.

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Received on Thu May 19 2005 - 11:23:49 EDT