CFP: [General] CFP: Extraordinary Interpretations, 21-23 March 2008

full name / name of organization: 
Lindsay Parker
contact email: 


Coordinates of Comparison 2008
Comparative Literature Program
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB Canada

21-23 March 2008

Extraordinary Interpretations: Narratives and Practices

The extraordinary sits next to the normal, the two defining each other and
marking each other’s margins. Whether in terms of the masterpiece,
Agamben’s states of exception, canon creation, precedent, or innovation,
the extraordinary challenges established norms while establishing their
boundariesâ€"normal practices confer a standard and the extraordinary
enforces its borders. In this context, the extraordinary inaugurates new
modes and interpretations by virtue of its already comparative nature. It
is through the experience or recognition of the extraordinary that we come
to recognise the demarcated terrain of quotidian life. The Comparative
Literature Program at the University of Alberta invites papers that engage
with such boundaries and experiences in interdisciplinary contexts.

The conference will be divided into five thematic ‘seminars,’ although the
interdisciplinary nature of the conference allows for papers that overlap
or sit at the edge of these areas. Each seminar will be moderated by a
scholar in the field who will aim to promote discussion between
participantsâ€"the intention is to develop meaningful exchanges across
disciplinary and creative divisions. Papers will be distributed prior to
the conference, which will allow participants to present a précis of their
paper and then engage in more detailed discussion. Since the program of
Comparative Literature sponsors this conference, comparative work across
boundaries and disciplines is welcome, especially that which involves
literary studies or theory, though this is not a requirement. In addition,
more traditional literary papers that fit within the context of the
conference theme are welcome.

In this spirit, the Comparative Literature program seeks 200 word proposals
(with a 50 word biography) for the 2nd annual Coordinates of Comparison
conference in the following five topical areas (the potential use of
literary studies in each area is welcome but not required):

Legal Interpretations:
These may include extraordinary cases, precedent, testimonies, or emerging
legal issues. Medical, health science, and scientific topics are especially

Musical practices and representation:
This seminar might include notions of the masterpiece and innovation, the
unusual or transgressive in performance, composition, or reception.

Science writing and science narrative:
This seminar may include the narratives and/or practices in sociology of
science, exceptional figures in the history of science, or the revision of
scientific notions. The cultural history of science in a comparative
perspective is particularly welcome. Aspects of professions are welcome.

"New" Media:
This seminar will engage with subject matter related to the "new media."
What does the "new" in that formulation mean (as opposed to an implied
"old")? What is its place within the pre-existing circulation of knowledge
(either popular or academic), the material realities of the marketplace
(who makes the media and why?), or rhetoric/propaganda (i.e., of states,
corporations, religious institutions, schools/universities, etc.).

Empirical Studies and Reading:
The combination of scientific and social scientific methods, cognitive
science, and traditional humanities research is the focus of this seminar.
Topics may include extraordinary reading experiences or states in any form,
including peak experience, the sublime, and the mystic. The examination of
aesthetic experience as extraordinary in itself is a broader but no less
welcome possibility.

Please submit your queries and proposals to

Proposal Deadline: 31 December 2007

 From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
             more information at
Received on Fri Nov 09 2007 - 14:50:38 EST