CFP: Mourning, Hospitality and the Humanities (Australia) (2/23/07; 7/18/07-7/21/07)

full name / name of organization: 
Tony Thwaites
contact email: 

Mourning & its Hospitalities | (after …)
a three-day international conference at the University of Queensland,
July 18-20 2007

followed by
Hospitalities of Literature | (teaching after ...)
a one-day symposium on teaching
July 21 2007

Plenary speakers include:

* J. Hillis Miller, Distinguished Professor of English, Department of
English and Comparative Literature, University of California at Irvine
* Derek Attridge, Professor of English, Department of English and
Related Literatures, University of York

Mourning is the repetition of what we do not have. But it is not just a
yearning for what will never again make itself present: what
distinguishes mourning from what Freud and his time called melancholia
is that mourning affirms—or learns to affirm—this absence. On a thin
thread of words, mourning calls up what was perhaps never there to begin
with, and brings it into being. And that means that mourning is at the
heart of so much we most value, and its continuing claim on us. The late
Jacques Derrida catalogues many of these in the course of his work:
friendship, justice, the debt and the gift, inheritance, responsibility,
hospitality, tradition; literature, and the arts in general. In that
mourning is inseparable from speculation in all senses of the word, its
hospitality to the new is also at the heart of the scattered and various
disciplines that make up the humanities.

Mourning & its Hospitalities | (after…)
will have as its focus the implications for the humanities of the work
of mourning. We invite proposals for 20-minute papers, and panels of
papers, that will develop some aspect of this topic. Proposals should be
no more than 200 words. The deadline for submission is February 23 2007.

We are particularly interested in:
* considerations of the work and functions of the post- (-colonial,
-structuralist or -modernist)
* considerations of the work of writers, literary and philosophical, on
the work of mourning and hospitality
* the roles of the humanities in a post-humanities age, of theory after
theory, and of literature after literature
* the concepts of tradition
* the debates about critical literacy and the role of literature in the
primary and secondary education systems; teaching the humanities in the
current political and economic climates

We intend to publish a collection of essays from this conference.

Hospitalities of Literature | (teaching after …)
is a one-day symposium on teaching, with the participation of the
conference's plenary speakers. There will be separate bookings for this
event, with a limited number of places available.

"What is the use of literary study now, in this new university [that has
lost the guiding mission that has sustained it since the early
nineteenth century]? Should, ought, or must we still study literature?
What is the source now of the obligation to study literature? Who or
what addresses to us a call to do so? Why should we do it? To what
purpose? Can literary study still be defended as a socially useful part
of university research and teaching or is it just a vestigial remnant
that will vanish as other media become more dominant in the new global
society that is rapidly taking shape?"
(J. Hillis Miller, "Governing the Ungovernable: Literary Study in the
Transnational University", 1995)

Discussion will focus on a small number of ten-minute papers on the
issues raised by this statement. These papers will be circulated in
advance rather than read live.

For further information, or to propose a panel or paper, contact:

Jude Seaboyer (
Tony Thwaites (

Mourning & its Hospitalities | (after…) and Hospitalities of Literature
| (teaching after … )
are initiatives of the School of English, Media Studies and Art History
at the University of Queensland.

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Received on Wed Nov 08 2006 - 12:15:02 EST