CFP: Synthetics (grad) (3/5/07; 5/4/07)

full name / name of organization: 
Nathan Brown
contact email: 

The 18th Annual Southland Graduate Student Conference
UCLA English Department
Friday, 4 May 2007

What does it mean to invoke the category of "the synthetic" today?

The term "synthetic" activates a connotative field that includes
logical operations, grammatical structures, technoscientific
procedures, and concrete materials. It is a fundamental (through
frequently misrepresented) concept in the development of modern
critical theory since Kant and dialectical thought since Hegel. It is
directly or indirectly at issue in contemporary debates concerning
globalization, hybridity, and cross-culturality. It might allude to
the formal properties of aesthetic artifacts, the chemical
constitution of fabricated materials, or the dynamics of media
convergence. In its broadest application, "synthetic" might refer to
any combinatory or "artificial" phenomenon.

The heterogeneous referential field opened by the term "synthetic" is
made even more complex by its fraught ideological value. While the
aspirations of Enlightenment philosophy with which it is frequently
associated have been subjected to withering criticisms by thinkers of
radical difference, the synthetic nonetheless retains a certain
promise for contemporary thought insofar as it offers conceptual
resources by which to resist rhetorics of the natural, the originary,
and the proper.

Graduate students are invited to submit papers and/or panels
addressing the manner in which "synthetics" are at stake in
literature, philosophy, material cultural studies, postcolonial
studies, identity politics, and media/technology theory.

Abstracts for 20-minute papers and panel proposals are due by Monday,
5 March 2007. Please paste the abstract (200-300 words) or panel
proposal into the body of an e-mail message and submit to
<>. Panels should consist of three papers and
may include a respondent. Include your name(s), contact information,
department(s), and institution(s). Prospective conference
participants will be notified on Monday March 12.

Southland Conference
c/o Nathan Brown, Kate Marshall, and Ian Newman
Department of English
149 Humanities Building
Box 951530
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1530

              From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
                         Full Information at
         or write Jennifer Higginbotham:
Received on Sun Feb 11 2007 - 15:24:15 EST