CFP: (Cold) Wars in Literature (3/1/06; EGSO, 4/22/06-4/23/06)

full name / name of organization: 
R.M. Ficociello
contact email: 

(Cold) Wars in Literature
Call for Panels and Papers: Deadline 3/1/06
The English Graduate Student Organization (EGSO) of
the University at Albany, SUNY announces its annual
graduate student conference Saturday April 22 and
Sunday April 23, 2006:

Changing the Subject: Poesis, Praxis, and Theoria in
the Humanities

Robert Scholes is the Keynote Speaker, presenting a
paper titled "Changing the Subject: Periodical

The violence exhibited in Paul Bowles' fiction has
afforded him levels of acclaim, some accurate and some
shortsighted. In the most frequently anthologized
story "A Distant Episode," the Professor endures a
series of physical assaults that de-humanize him to a
grunting animal and then to a traded commodity.
Bowles, in a 1976-1978 interview conducted by Jeffrey
Bailey, responded to the issue of violence in his

"It's unsettling to think that at any moment life can
flare up into senseless violence....If I'm persuaded
that our life is predicated upon violence, that the
entire structure of what we call civilization, the
scaffolding that we've built up over the millennia,
can collapse at any moment, then whatever I write is
going to be affected by that assumption.....But among
the animals only man can conceptualize violence. Only
man can enjoy the idea of destruction."

However, questions arise in several of Bowles'
stories, where coldness defines the tension in
narrative dynamics and violence is averted. With the
inevitability of conflict present in Bowles' fiction,
how does the delineation between "force" and "power"
play out? Is peace or civility really maintained in
these stories?

Strikingly similar to Bowles' perspective on violence,
Michel Foucault explores the logic of war in Society
Must Be Defended: Lectures at the College of France,
1975-1976: "War is the motor behind institutions and
order. In the smallest of cogs, peace is waging a
secret war. To put it another way, we have to
interpret the war that is going on beneath peace;
peace itself is a coded war. We are therefore at war
with one another."

Both Bowles and Foucault characterize peace as
functioning as a mask over war. This logic mirrors
the logic of the post-World War II period, the Cold
War. When Foucault inverts Clausewitz's dictum about
politics and war into "politics is the continuation of
war by other means," the claim then reflects global
policy of the two superpowers in Europe after 1945.
Bowles stories, written in a post-war era, affirm that
logic, and the characters "enjoy the idea of
destruction" through cold wars.

This panel seeks papers that address overt and implict
(cold) forms of violence, conflict, and power in all
periods of literature. Please submit a 250-400 word
abstract and short bio by March 1, 2006 to Robert
Ficociello and at

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Received on Tue Feb 07 2006 - 13:18:10 EST