UPDATE: Why Melville Matters Now - A Trans-Disciplinary Symposium (7/15/06; 11/17/06-11/18/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Mary Valentis
contact email: 

This celebratory symposium on Herman Melville to be
held November 17 and 18, 2006, at the Albany Academy
campus and its environs where Melville lived and
attended school from 1830-31, will consider the
enduring relevance of the author's life, work, and
influence from the perspectives of the humanities,
arts, the sciences, and new technologies. Herman
Melville's work lives on to "tell the tale," because
the questions he posed are the same issues that
inspire contemporary writers, artists, and thinkers
today-the vexed relations between humans and their
environment, racial and social injustices, capitol
punishment, psychological alienation, and the new
frontiers of science and globalism.

The symposium, sponsored by the Albany Academies in
conjunction with The Center for Humanities, Arts, and
TechnoSciences (CHATS), State University of New York
at Albany, will bring together scholars, artists,
actors, historians, archivists to present papers and
panels. In additional, there will be artistic
performances and installations, archival and gallery
exhibits, and a 24-hour marathon reading of Moby Dick.
 Readers will include visiting writers at local
cultural institutions, celebrities, community members,
local university faculty and students, and the
Academies' alums, faculty and students. Featured
speaker at the symposium will be Andrew Delbanco.
Participants will be able to take a self-guided tour
of Melville's Albany connections, a route that
includes Lansingburgh, Pittsfield and Arrowhead, and
the original Albany Academy building, where Melville
attended school, and to attend special art exhibits
based on Melville-inspired works.

Melville's texts and what might be called their
transdisciplinary approach to existence anticipate
their own critical future and our own times in
multiple ways. These works lend themselves to
contemporary critical/theoretical discourses as well
as interdisciplinary approaches and adaptations. The
following topic areas are not mean to be prescriptive
but rather suggestive of possible papers:

- Melville, travel, and world citizenship
- Melville and environmentalism, ecology
- Melville the ultimate eco-tourist
- Melville and morality, ethics
- Melville and cosmopolitanism
- Melville and Pedagogy: teaching Melville today
- Gender and queer studies: approaches to Melville's
short fiction
- The question of the animal, animality
- Blackness and whiteness, racial and social issues in
Melville's fiction
- Postcolonialism, cross-culturalism
- Biological and ecological issues in Melville
- Freudian, Lacanian readings
- Melville and questions of agency, class, and power
- Adaptations
- Music
- Melville and Science, cetology and herpetology
- Digital studies, media, and Melville

Papers and panel proposals, and abstracts should be
sent to MelvilleNow_at_yahoo.com, no later than July 15.

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         or write Jennifer Higginbotham: higginbj_at_english.upenn.edu
Received on Mon May 15 2006 - 13:20:38 EDT