UPDATE: Unpacking the Library: Literatures and their Archives (UK) (4/16/06; 6/10/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Sas Mays
contact email: 

Extended abstract deadline and new date:

Westminster English Colloquia Series
Call for Papers
Unpacking the Library: Literatures and their Archives.

The history of Western culture is punctuated by affirmations of the presence,
rebirth, or return of literature. Such affirmation involves, necessarily, if
implicitly or symbolically, a turn toward the archival forms of the text – that
is, traditionally speaking, a turn toward the codex and the library. This
recourse to textual holdings in various senses clearly involves often
unacknowledged complexities of institutional, technical and cultural issues.

Indeed, the relation between literature and the library has often been
problematic – appearing within or between: the maintenance of ideas and the
accumulation of material; imaginative or intellectual freedom and ideological
collections policies; excitement and boredom; private ownership and mass
dissemination; taxonomy and miscellany, chaos and order; past and future. The
library may appear not only as a place of memory, security, and knowledge, but
of loss, trauma, and indeterminacy. This complexity appears to be particularly
apt for these times, when, in the context of digitisation, the traditional
forms of textual accumulation seem to be in the process of their displacement
and even their obsolescence.

However, literary studies have been historically characterised by the absence of
any consistent attempt to encounter the relation between literature and its
archival forms. The colloquium calls for papers which pursue a critical
analysis of literatures and their archives from a multiplicity of approaches:
literary-critical analyses of the figure of the library; philosophical
encounters with literature and its texts; analysis of the symbolic connotations
of the library from cultural studies; the appearance of textual-archival forms
within contemporary art; sociological accounts of literature and the library
within public culture; architectural readings of the library within the built
environment, etc.

Further Information.

The English Colloquia series at the University of Westminster has been
characterised by a wide range of critical engagements with key contemporary
literary and cultural issues, by speakers of national and international
academic standing, and by a significant record of publication.

Previous speakers have included Andrew Benjamin (Monash), Andrew Bowie (Royal
Holloway), Simon Critchley (New School, NY), Alex Garcia Duttmann (Goldsmiths),
Elena Gualtieri (Sussex), Maggie Humm (UEL), Simon Jarvis (Cambridge), Peter
Osborne (Middlesex), Doina Petrescu (Sheffield), and Anthony Vidler (Cooper
Union, NY). Previous Westminster English Colloquia include: 'Reading Paul de
Man'; 'Art Demanding Community'; 'The Culture and Philosophy of Comedy'; and
'Forgotten Voices of the Twentieth Century'. The most recent events in this
series were 'Adorno and Literature' and 'Literature and Photography'.

Among other publications, these latter have both been developed as expanded
volumes: Cunningham and Mapp (eds.), Adorno and Literature, Continuum 2006;
Cunningham, Fisher, Mays (eds.), Twentieth Century Literature and Photography,
CSP 2005.

The colloquium will be held on the 10th June 2006. Papers (of up to 45 minutes)
or abstracts of (of up to 500 words) should be delivered via email as Word
attachments by the end of the 16th of April 2006, along with a brief CV. The
colloquium is able to reimburse speakers for refreshments on the day and
national travel, but would welcome submissions from international speakers who
will be in the UK around the time of the event.

Please direct any correspondence or enquiries to: Dr. Sas Mays, English,
Linguistics, and Visual Culture, University of Westminster, London, England,
Email: S.Mays_at_westminster.ac.uk

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Received on Tue Apr 04 2006 - 11:02:25 EDT