CFP: [Graduate] University of Michigan CLIFF Conference: Revenge

full name / name of organization: 
Patrick Tonks
contact email: 

12th Annual Comparative Literature Intra-student Faculty Forum
March 28-29, 2008, University of Michigan

What do we think of when we think of revenge? What emotional or intellectual response does this
word produce? How is our understanding of revenge mediated by cultural, legal or religious
practices and institutions? How do societies employ, repress, contain or create this ostensibly
human tendency?

Revenge is a universal theme, a volatile social principle that has broadly influenced the
development of human societies throughout history. So why do we have so much trouble
conceptualizing revenge? How does this term resist categorization? How has it evolved over
time? And how might academic disciplines cooperate to engage revenge in a way that
acknowledges its broad and complex significance? Can we talk about a theory of revenge?

This year’s CLIFF conference, sponsored by the Department of Comparative Literature at the
University of Michigan, is an attempt to engage revenge as a relevant and theoretically rich
concept. William Ian Miller, Thomas G. Long Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law
School, will present the keynote address. Professor Miller's 2006 book, Eye for an Eye, outlines
the logic of “revenge societies,” drawing on Old Testament, medieval Icelandic, early modern and
contemporary sources .

This interdisciplinary gathering will use the idea of revenge to bring together a wide range of
themes and questions of contemporary and historical interest to the humanities and social
sciences, including literature, philosophy, anthropology, psychology, religious studies, film and
law. Papers might relate to one or more of the following key terms:

Modes of exchange
Kinship/Blood ties
Human rights
Truth and reconciliation
Non-human aspects of culture

Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words, including your name, address, and school
affiliation, to by January 14, 2008.

 From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
             more information at
Received on Wed Dec 12 2007 - 12:31:24 EST