CFP: Creation and Collection of Artifacts (2/2/07; Calgary Free Exchange, 3/16/07-3/18/07)

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Spring Cleaning:
Rediscovering and Revitalizing the Artifact
University of Calgary Free Exchange Graduate Conference
16-18 March 2007
Calgary, Alberta
For more information, please visit Free Exchange at

The Creation and Collection of Artifacts

In "Unpacking My Library," Walter Benjamin discusses the act of
collecting, and then states that "[o]f all the ways of acquiring books,
writing them oneself is regarded as the most praiseworthy method. Writers
are really people who write books not because they are poor, but because
they are dissatisfied with the books which they could buy but do not

There is a sense, then, in which the act of collecting and the act of
creation are interconnected. Creators are figured, in the above quote, as
collectors who desire nonexistent artifacts, who call these artifacts into
existence in order to collect them, and who produce artifacts which are
then collected by others. Collectors are also, in some respects,
creators—categorizing and structuring raw materials in such a way to
achieve a desired aesthetic effect. The creator and the collector also
seem connected in their attempts to impose order and arrangement on
ephemeral, imaginative chaos. But what is the attraction of specific
artifacts—both those collected and those produced for collection—and how
does the fact of their being "collected" alter the aura of these
artifacts? How and why does the compulsion to collect, or to produce
artifacts worthy of collection, attach itself to specific, fetishized
objects? In what ways might impurities in the artifact challenge this
taxonomic impulse—and why are these "exceptions" (which might be expected
to cause anxiety) considered to be "rare" and thus more desirable?

Papers discussing the artifact in terms of its collection and/or its
creation will be considered. Presenters are also encouraged to think
beyond the borders of literature, and consider the artifact in film, art,
history, mythology, folklore, and popular culture.

Deadline for submissions: 2 February 2007
Please submit 250 word proposals (for papers approx. 15 minutes in length)
to panel chair Jonathan Ball at (subject heading:
"artifacts conference"). Attachments should be in Rich Text or Word format
only, and please include your name, professional affiliation, and contact
information in the body of your email.

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Received on Sat Jan 06 2007 - 18:56:46 EST