CFP: Drugs and Selfhood (grad) (1/5/06; McGill, 3/11/06-3/12/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Lindsey Banco
contact email: 

12th Annual Graduate Conference on Language and Literature
McGill University, Montreal
Theme: Permeability and Selfhood
March 11-12, 2006

This call for papers is for a panel to be held at Permeability and
Selfhood, the McGill Graduate Conference on Language and Literature, which
will take place March 11-12 at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec,

"Drugs and Selfhood"

This panel will examine representations of drugs and drug use primarily in
literature between the Romantic period (which begins to define the addict
as an identity) and the early twenty-first century (when drugs in
international contexts are rewriting issues such as national sovereignty).
 Papers on pre-Romantic literature are welcome if they anticipate or
otherwise address later formulations of drugs and drug users.

In "The Rhetoric of Drugs" Jacques Derrida posits a pharmakon-like
conception of drugs as both poison and medicine, as invasive yet necessary
for self-definition and social intercourse, a key ambivalence that will
help us re-theorize the relationship between drugs and the
(im)permeability of the self. In challenging the conventional binary of
drugs as infectious agents of self-destruction versus drugs as hortatory
agents of "inner exploration," this panel will seek nuanced positions on
some of the issues raised by drugs and selfhood: the economic or
psychological colonization of the self; the impact of "trafficking" --
broadly defined -- on individuals and cultures; the legal repercussions of
various drug discourses, including how representations contribute to the
social status of both legal and illegal substances; what drugs tell us
about consciousness, and what strategies are most or least effective at
representing the materiality and the ephemerality of drugs.

Possible questions include:

-What kinds of drug representation tend to engage most insistently or most
unusually with selfhood?
-What are the implications of constructing and putting forward an addicted
-How are drugs coded in terms of class, gender, and race?
-What does "drugged writing" look like, and what are some of the
challenges of reading it?
-What do autobiographical or so-called confessional modes contribute to
drug discourses? Why does so much critical material relegate the drug use
of authors to the "merely" biographical?
-How do drugs as instruments of selfhood change over time?

Please send abstracts (200-300 words) by January 5, 2006 to Lindsey Banco

              From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
                         Full Information at
         or write Jennifer Higginbotham:
Received on Tue Nov 08 2005 - 17:13:41 EST