CFP: Collection on Fight Club (3/30/07; collection)

full name / name of organization: 
Nilges, Mathias
contact email: 

We are seeking contributions to a collection on Fight Club, welcoming
articles that examine the novel and/or the film, as well as critical
examinations of their interrelation.
        Opinions regarding David Fincher's 1999 filmic adaptation of Chuck
Palahniuk's 1996 novel Fight Club differ widely, raging from from
students remarking that, "this is a movie that poignantly and accurately
voices some of the major existential concerns of the postmodern
generation," to critical castigation that bashes Fight Club as, "a film
without a single redeeming quality, which may have to find its audience
in Hell." Fincher's film has become a widespread popular cultural
phenomenon, hitting the nerve of contemporary culture and society like
hardly any other film in recent years. One can find millions of Google
hits for "fight club," "Tyler Durden," or "Project Mayhem." The film is
still widely discussed in academic conferences, classrooms, countless
blogs and in many a barroom. Fight Club is consistently ranked in the top
50s of 'Movies You Must Own' (Entertainment Weekly rated it #1). For
quite a while Fight Club was the number one selling DVD, eliciting over
1300 viewer ratings or reviews on alone.
In addition to its widespread following, Fight Club remains one of the
most widely debated, puzzling, and misunderstood novels and films of the
last decade. Even Chuck Palahniuk felt compelled to respond to the
popularity of the film in a foreword to a new edition of the novel,
wherein he voiced concerns about the degree to which the film and his
novel remain misunderstood. Particularly interesting here is the author's
own list of examples of the cultural fallout of misreading gone awry,
suggesting that the popularity of a text may often run counter to its
intended message (intentionality and its problems in the process of making
meaning, of course, being but one fecund site for discussion of both the
literary and cinematic visions of the text). Palahniuk's list includes an
astonishing cultural echo to the film, including Versace, Gucci and Dolce
and Gabbana clothing lines, countless editorials, SNL sketches, porn
sites, lines of men's grooming products, illegal theatrical
reinterpretations and a wave of graffiti tags and Fight Club-quote
        Given the debates and controversies, the widespread academic and popular
interest, as well the persistent misunderstandings and misreadings of the
film in wide circulation, we are seeking articles that explore and update
the last decade's critical engagements with both the novel and the film
from a variety of theoretical angles. We are particularly interested in
articles exploring the persistent and even renewed significance of Fight
Club, especially regarding continuing changes in the socioeconomic
structure of the US and its ontological effects.

Further, more specific, analytical approaches may for example include:

-Fight Club, terrorism and the terrorist as postmodern subject
-Fight Club and terrorism in relation to contemporary commodity and media
-Fight Club after 9/11
-Fight Club, revolutionary chic and political resistance as cultural capital
-Fight Club and the contemporary function and significance of
anarchy/rhizomatic political groups
-Fight Club and the resurrection of anarchist thought as a political
reaction to postmodern/globalized societies and economies
-Fight Club and late-capitalist political economy/political subjectivity
-Fight Club and the multitude
-Fight Club and the racial other
-Fight Club and whiteness
-Fight Club and biopolitics
-Fight Club, masculinity and the body politic
-Fight Club and the "crisis of masculinity"

-Fight Club and violence
-Fight Club and gender/sexuality studies
-Fight Club and simulation/the hyperreal
-Fight Club and cognitive science
-Fight Club and psychoanalysis/schizoanalysis
-Fight Club and postmodern nihilism/existentialism
-Fight Club and marketing/advertising
-Fight Club and desire
-Fight Club and performance studies
-Fight Club (novel) and intentionalism

Please send 500-1000 word abstracts by March 30, 2007 to:

Justin A. Joyce
Department of English, University of Illinois at Chicago


Mathias Nilges
Department of English, University of Illinois at Chicago

Following acceptance, completed essays of 8,000 to 12,000 words should be
submitted by July 15, 2007.

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Received on Sat Feb 24 2007 - 13:12:30 EST