2010 ASCA International Workshop: "Articulation(s)"

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Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
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Call for Papers

March 25 – 27, 2010

2010 ASCA International Workshop: "Articulation(s)"
University Theatre, Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA) invites proposals for paper submissions and panel sessions for its yearly International Workshop.

How do we analyze, understand, and participate in the world? What are the ways in which we can think through concepts such as aesthetics, identity, politics, and space to articulate the object(s) of our inquiry? These are a few of the questions the 2010 ASCA International Workshop, "Articulation(s)," seeks to explore. The workshop offers a space in which we can reflect upon such questions and the methodological nuances, theoretical consequences, and political implications that arise when we interrogate (trans)national theories, disciplines, and contested object(s).

With its double meaning, to express and to connect, articulation(s) highlights the contingency of the unities of meaning and of discourse(s) that we ascribe to our object(s) in question. Articulation(s) is a generative concept that has been prominent in shaping theory for decades. Working (inter)disciplinarily in the humanities, articulation(s), as a travelling concept, refers to the engaging of objects, concepts, and theories and the (im)possibilities of interrogation.

In this workshop articulation(s) is presented in relation to four distinct themes that we will (re)articulate and/or interrogate to see whether they help us express the relationships between theories, discipline, and object(s) from our various fields.

These issues will be discussed in four panels:

National Identity

This panel will focus on concrete analyses utilizing articulation as a tool or strategy for shaping interventions within a particular social formation, conjuncture, or context. As L. Grossberg puts it, "articulation is the production of identity on top of differences, of unities out of fragments, of structures across practices" (1992). When articulation becomes "a practice of thinking of 'unity and difference,' of 'difference in complex unity,' without becoming a hostage to the privileging of difference as such" (Daryl Slack, 1996), how then, can a social formation like a nation (which is of course inherently infused with difference), be analyzed in terms of articulation (without overdetermining and essentializing)? This panel seeks to address questions of national identity and concrete analyses of articulations of such, but also related issues including articulations of global phenomena in national contexts.

Migratory Aesthetics
How can we articulate the aesthetic dimension of migration? The term "migratory aesthetics" as coined by cultural theorist Mieke Bal (2007) "refers to the migratory – not to actual migration, but to the cultural inspiration that migration, if encountered on its own terms, can yield." As migratory aesthetics seeks to explore the transformative effect on culture, we will also articulate (inter)disciplinarily the effect of migration on politics, aesthetics, economics, and discourses of the migrant and vice versa. Some of the questions to be addressed are: How can we articulate the subjective dimensions of movement and arrival, memory and loss, colonization and decolonization, difference and sameness? What are the ramifications of migration as a social phenomenon on cultural practices?

Ever since Gaston Bachelard's Poetics of Space (1957) and Henri Lefebvre's Production of Space (1974), space has become a much-articulated topic in the humanities. Spatial concepts such as globalism identify contemporary modes of (cultural) production, while virtual space enables encounters between all kinds of personal and public spaces. In-between spaces of signification such as borders, bridges, and interstices have become key terms in defining identity. Space has been a focus in terms of re-defining urban space, understood as non-spaces such as noise, chaos, and mist. More recently, Jacques Ranciere's articulation of politics as aesthetics (2004, 2007) opened up discussions on space onto a wide range of topics, from poetics to politics. This panel then, invites papers that are engaged with the above themes through responding to the following questions: How does an emphasis on space contribute to our idea of identity(ies)? Why is it important to define space? How are the spaces we describe transformed by our articulations?

Politics of Mourning
In Precarious Life (2004) Judith Butler writes, "A life that is not supposed to be grieved is also a life that is not supposed to have existed at all, whose 'negation' is built into its very public definition." In this panel we offer a space to reflect upon lives and situations deemed ungrievable by government, religious, and media agencies in order to investigate current global, national, and local situations where mourning is politically suppressed or otherwise regulated. Questions this panel seeks to address are: How is grief intertwined with articulations of identity? What sorts of grievous activity are inflicted upon us based on our own articulation(s) of identity, whether we self-identify as of a certain nationality, gender, or body? As Alison Kooistra (2008) writes, "Identity politics works to articulate the 'body personal' within the 'body politic' […] This anatomical articulation—the 'membering' of distinct parts to form a larger whole—is accomplished through a verbal articulation—speaking out, claiming a label or banner, or constructing a coherent narrative." All scholars interested in interrogating established systems of what is (not) grievable, and the implications of that choice are welcome to participate in this panel.

In keeping with the spirit of tradition, this workshop has been inspired by the 2008-2009 ASCA Theory Seminar entitled "Articulations": Theoretically Speaking.

The deadline for proposals is: October 31, 2009.
Participants are welcome to submit proposals from any discipline and will be subjected to peer review. Please submit a short autobiographical sketch and your proposal (300 words) to Dr. Eloe Kingma, Managing Director of ASCA (Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis) via email or post. Please indicate which of the four themes you would like to participate in, and if your presentation will include video, projection, or performance.

Those selected to participate will be asked to provide a 3000 word paper (excluding bibliography) by January 2, 2010, so that the papers can be distributed in advance of the workshop. In order to allow for a sufficient amount of discussion time, papers will not be read. Instead, participants will be asked to provide a short summary of their argument or to respond to another panelist(s)'s paper for a maximum of 10 minutes.

Proposals should be sent to:

Dr. Eloe Kingma (Managing Director)
Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis
University of Amsterdam
Oude Turfmarkt 147
1012 GC Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 525 3874
Fax: +31 20 525 4773
Email: asca-fgw@uva.nl
Visit the website at http://www.hum.uva.nl/asca