Yale CompLit graduate student conference: ZOO

full name / name of organization: 
Yale University, Department of Comparative Literature
contact email: 

The show is not the show,
But they that go.
Menagerie to me
My neighbor be...

Emily Dickinson


Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference

Department of Comparative Literature, Yale University.

December 4, 2009

Keynote address by Professor Haun Saussy (Yale)

Discussants will include Yale faculty and graduate students.

What is it about the possibility of interfacing with animals that maintains a hold on our imagination? Why does the Zoo offer itself as a metaphor for everything from riotous fun to abject chaos? Why have animals permeated and continue to pervade philosophical and literary discourses, and what is their function in these domains?

As an institution and a historical fact, the Zoo links ancient Egypt to medieval Europe, and the princely courts of China and India to the cultural aspirations of the modern metropolis. As a metaphor, it has been inscribed into everything from Biblical hermeneutics to "post-human" criticism. This conference invites the participants to roam the "Zoo" with the prospect of literary, historical, and allegorical discoveries. We welcome proposals on any literary genre, from any national literature, and from any historical period.

Papers might focus on, but are not limited to, the following topics:

Environmentalism -- History of the zoo -- Animals, Humans -- Noah's Ark -- Pets -- The child within -- World fairs and expositions as human zoos -- Animalistic metaphors -- Curiosity on display -- Evolution -- Darwin -- Animals and literature -- Animals, postcolonialism -- Extinction -- The animal and the metropolis -- The post-human society -- The prince and the pet -- Exoticism-- Dehumanization/animalization -- Animals real and symbolic

Please submit abstracts of approximately 300 words to zooconference@gmail.com
The deadline for abstract submissions is October 1, 2009.