UPDATE: Essays in Culture and Irreversibility (6/15/05; collection)

full name / name of organization: 
Benjamin Schreier
contact email: 

UPDATE: Deadline for abstracts extended to 15 June 2005.

Call for Papers: Essays in Culture and Irreversibility (Collection)

Submissions are sought for a collection of papers that has attracted
strong interest from a press. Essays should address cultural
representations of experience that are not amenable to metaphors of
return, advent, or re-collection. Numerous attempts have been made to
characterize the modes of intelligent experience. These have included
efforts to locate conceptual apparatus that underlie apperception,
metaphors that lend narrative meaning to experience, or socio-cultural
structures that enable the detection of historical significance, to
name a few. But such conceptualizations often end up revealing a
messianism or other teleology subtending the human experience of
history. Work remains to be pursued on the sense, knowledge, or
experience of irreversibility. Importantly, this experience is
different from nostalgia, which derives its charge from (and is
underwritten by) a fantasy of return. And it is incompatible with
existential concern with memory centered on the subject as a kind of
collector, anchor, or focus of historical significance. If messianic
structures posit a future to justify the present (if by way of the
past), this collection is devoted to examining experience from the
perspective of its rearview mirror.

Papers should contribute to an analysis of the experience of
irretrievability, inaccessibility, irreparability, irremediability,
irrevocability, or any other form of irreversibility. The purview of
this collection spans the concerns of several disciplines, including
philosophy, ethics, literature, history, art history, linguistics,
religion, physics, politics, and sociology, to name a few.

Questions, problems, or perspectives that might be considered include,
but are by no means limited to, the following:
1. What are the outlines or history of a theory of irreversibility?
2. How is irreversibility represented?
3. How does the experience of irretrievability take shape as a cultural
4. How does recognition of irrevocability force a reconceptualization
of the experiences of "looking backward" or "looking forward" away from
their respective meanings within a progressive understanding of
5. What sort of challenge (if any) does irreversibility pose to
6. What kinds of politics are compatible with a theory of history as
irremediability? Is such a theory of history radical or conservative?
7. Which authors would be included in a literary history of
8. What does a morality or ethics grounded in the recognition of
historical irreversibility-i.e., of choices or decisions-look like?
9. Is the worldview that attends a conviction of irreversibility
inherently pessimistic, or can it be optimistic?
10. What role does a phenomenology of irreversibility play in
contemporary culture?
11. How does irreversibility affect the current socio-political
dominance of identity-based thinking?

Abstracts of about 500 words or so should be sent by 15 June 2005 to
Ben Schreier at formstone_at_mindspring.com (MSWord attachments preferred)
or, if necessary, Department of English (MC 162), University of
Illinois at Chicago, 601 S. Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607. Complete
papers will probably be due in September.

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Received on Tue May 24 2005 - 12:39:55 EDT