CFP: [Graduate] "The Abnormal"-

full name / name of organization: 
Shannon Winston

The University of Michigan
Department of Comparative Literature

Call for Papers: 13th Annual Comparative Literature Intra-student Faculty Forum

"The Abnormal"

March 13th-14th, 2009, University of Michigan

What does "the abnormal" refer to? How is our understanding of the term
mediated by cultural, legal or religious practices, and institutions? What
are the social, political, and historical implications of thinking in terms
of norms? And finally, what is the abnormal's role as a category in
different disciplines both within the humanities and in the social sciences?

In Abnormal: Lectures at the Collège de France 1975-76, Michel Foucault
traces the genealogy and conceptual power of "the abnormal," which he
situates within a medical and a juridical discourse. As Arnold Davidson
suggests, what Foucault succeeded in doing was to trouble the term's
perceived natural and inevitable status. How, then, does the abnormal
disrupt normative assumptions within our respective disciplines? What
happens to seemingly stable and inherent categories when we think of them
in terms of norms? And how has "the abnormal" evolved since Foucault?

This year's CLIFF conference, sponsored by the Department of Comparative
Literature at the University of Michigan, is an attempt to engage with "the
abnormal" an umbrella term that will provoke engaging, interdisciplinary
discussions around this theme.

Papers might relate the importance of norms to one of the following areas
of study: anthropology, gender & sexuality, eugenics & race, Post-Colonial
Studies, film, history, literature, law, politics, and philosophy. This
list is meant to inspire possible topics but is by no means exhaustive.

KEYNOTE: ANN STOLER, Willy Brandt Distinguished University Professor of
Anthropology and Historical Studies at The New School.

RESPONDENT: VALERIE TRAUB, Professor of English and Women's Studies at the
University of Michigan.

The CLIFF Committee would like to thank the English, History, and
Psychology Departments for their generous contributions.

Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words, including your name,
address, and school affiliation, to by December
20, 2008.


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Received on Fri Nov 14 2008 - 17:57:40 EST