CFP: [General] Configurations of Cultural Amnesia

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Apostolos Lampropoulos
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Volume 2 (2009)

Call for papers

Apostolos Lampropoulos - Vassiliki Markidou (issue eds.)

Configurations of cultural amnesia

The notion of amnesia is embedded in the complex intricacy that
characterizes the interface between past and present, it manifests a
relationship with the future as an à-venir (to come), and refers to an
involuntary and mainly pathological condition. If lethe is often linked to
the desire, effort, or imperative choice to forget, avoid, efface and
finally obliterate a ‘past’, amnesia seems related both to the inability to
trace the past and to an urgency to remedy this state. On the one hand,
lethe entails the paradox of making the subject declare that which s/he
forgets as already forgotten and therefore leads him/her to remember it;
respectively, the urge against lethe (“Don’t forget!”) testifies to
forgetting as an everlasting danger and to the constant need to remind
oneself to remember. On the other hand, the symptoms of amnesia are
primarily detected by those not involved in it: I recognize the other's
amnesia. Finally, if amnesia exempts its subject from any links to a past,
it might also provide him/her with some kind of ‘unconditionality’.

How can one thus speak about cultural amnesia? If the current critical
discourse refers to prefabricated, thus artificial, memory and lethe, can
one argue for an involuntary loss of cultural memory? Who is the (critical)
subject talking about cultural amnesia and which is the (historical)
subject of amnesia itself? In which ways has amnesia been vital in
articulating the connection between the cultural and the political across
centuries? In which historical eras, literary movements and philosophical
trends can one discern symptoms of cultural amnesia? Could amnesia be
considered an integral feature of developments in the field of ideas? If
so, why are memory and lethe predominant in critical discourse at the
expense of amnesia and why do we keep forgetting the multiple amnesias of
the past? Moreover, if Theory has led to the undermining of some
philological practices and philosophical traditions, could one claim that
this “lotus-eating” effect of Theory has enabled it to obtain a
distinguished status in the global marketplace of ideas? Does Theory need
to be based on some sort of amnesia? Finally, what is the relationship
between cultural amnesia and the construction of diverse and often clashing
literary canons throughout literary history but also at the dawn of the
21st century?

We invite contributions that will help build a trans-historical and
inter-disciplinary overview of the poetics and politics of cultural
amnesia, and further the understanding of the ways in which it is
articulated both in critical discourses and in representational forms such
as literature, historiography, film, and art, while concurrently shaping them.

Papers may address topics such as:
• cultural amnesia and the delineation of subjectivity/identity
• cultural amnesia and the constructions/representations of reality
• cultural amnesia as a tool for national and cultural myth-making
• cultural amnesia, slavery, and colonial exploitation
• cultural amnesia, war, trauma, and amnesty
• cultural amnesia, hospitality and forgiveness
• history and the anxiety of cultural amnesia
• cultural amnesia and narrative discontinuities
• cultural amnesia and corporeal inscriptions
• cultural amnesia, gender, and the queer
• the politics of cultural amnesia, the ‘death’ of philological analysis,
the ‘forgotten’ philosophical traditions, and the rise of Theory

Detailed proposals for articles (800-1000 words) as well as any inquiries
regarding this issue should be sent by email to both Issue editors:
Apostolos Lampropoulos ( and Vassiliki Markidou

15.10.2008 submission of abstracts
31.10.2008 notification of acceptance
30.3.2009 submission of articles
30.5.2009 peer-reviews
31.8.2009 submission of the final version of the articles

Synthesis is a scholarly journal of literature and culture, emerging as a
response to the call for a new or renewed literary praxis that returns to
the literary text without any resistance to the variety of theoretical
discourses and rethinks the question of the political with which the
literary is critically intertwined. Located in a non-Anglophone European
country and investing in the wide area of English Studies, this new journal
seeks to become a site where different positions and propositions can
coexist in an agonistic and interactive way; thereby its name syn-thesis
that opens to the variants of synthesis and syntheses.

Encouraging comparative interdisciplinary and inter-/cross-cultural
perspectives, Synthesis also addresses how metropolitan and Anglocentric
politics permeate practices in English studies in non-metropolitan and, in
particular, non-Anglophone places. Synthesis proposes the position that
this is the case not only in postcolonial nations but also in Europe; while
these local, non-metropolitan sites like Greece once were under the
hegemony of Anglocentric traditions, they now generate new voices and
mappings that critically engage with hegemonic discourses.

With the firm belief that these contexts are sites of knowledge production
and not master-mimicry, the collective board of Synthesis solicits articles
that critique, challenge and rethink a variety of theoretical and literary
discourses and articulate new positions (theses) that get together (syn) in
both dissonance and harmony.

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Received on Fri Sep 05 2008 - 02:12:40 EDT