Italo Calvino through the Looking-Glass of Theory, AAIS Univ. of Michigan April 2010

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Slavica Grujicic, University of Toronto

Calvino through the Looking-Glass of Theory

While a large number of Calvino studies have often followed in the footsteps of his critical and poetic self-commentary, perceptive interventions engaging the writer in a productive dialogue with contemporary theories, particularly contributions which build their own theories—remain substantially less common. The panel invites papers which go beyond the "circular loop" of criticism (in which Calvino's positions act both as premises and conclusions) in order to move away from critical topoi towards more challenging and creative readings. A stimulating dialogue between Calvino's
"theoretical novels" and a wider range of disciplines (semiotics, visual studies, (post)structuralism, anthropology, philosophy, to name a few) can be the
starting point for addressing relevant questions, e.g.: "How do Calvino's works "anticipate", reflect, probe, or question different theoretical positions?",
"How does theory serve Calvino to open up certain, for him indeed essential questions about reading and writing?" The focus on specific theoretical ideas and concepts (such as Reference, Representation, Metaphor, Allegory, Structure, Archetypes, Assemblage) and/or influential theorists and thinkers (e.g. U. Eco, C. Lévi-Strauss, M. Bakhtin, J. Lotman, M. Foucault, J. Derrida, G. Deleuze) is encouraged. More "traditional" approaches exploring poetics, narrativity, rewriting, ars combinatoria – will be considered as well. Please send 200-400 word abstract, audio-visual requirements, and a brief CV by 2 Jan. 2010 to