"Contingent Communities" - U of M CSCL, Annual Conference

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University of Minnesota, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature

"Contingent Communities" (2010)
The Annual Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature Conference at University of Minnesota
Dates: 10/15/10-10/17/10

Keynote Speakers: Rey Chow and Peter Hitchcock

As many have argued, globalization puts into question the connection between fixed territories and communal identifications. How, then, are we to conceive of community differently? This conference will address the persisting relevance of theories, imaginings, and practices of community under conditions of globalization. The conference will take as a starting point the insufficiency of traditional identifications of class, gender, race, and nation for navigating the complexities of contemporary life. It will address the persistence of practices of thinking and living beyond notions of essential identity and fixed boundaries that nonetheless insist on the necessity of "community" as an idea by which to understand contemporary modes of association.

Our conference seeks to combine the recent theoretical conversations interested in excavating and rethinking the philosophical and political tradition of community under conditions of late-capitalism and globalization, and the focus of literary theory and cultural studies on contemporary practices of global association (planetary literature and film, networks of migration, non-essentialist theories of race, class, sex/gender, interdisciplinarity, etc.). In other words, we are interested in work that raises the possibility of thinking the fact of non-essential and global linkages under the sign of community.

We seek papers that move across and between different disciplines, addressing the following questions, as well as related concerns: In what ways do film, literature, and other aesthetic media act as globalizing forces, generating experiences of commonality that exceed the imaginary space of the nation-state? Or how do such media re-engender the nation in a displaced form? What are the effects of new mass communication and network technologies on emerging forms of community? How does one speak of migrant or refugee communities, the very existence of which challenges the nexus between nation and state? How does the figure of "the camp" operate in a world of transnational migrations and globalized networks? What forms of political organization are adequate to transnational modes of affiliation? What is the role of class in the practices of communities under late capitalism and how does this category function in relation other forms of identification which today are referred to with the term "identity politics"? How does the crisis of community change the way that we think about comparativity or interdisciplinarity, especially in relation to area studies? How does the imagination of community intersect with visions of utopia? What is the role of so-called immaterial labor in postmodernity, and in what ways do such concepts speak to the question of subalternity? How are we to think community in a supposedly post-communist world?

Possible paper topics include:
- Transnational modes of affiliation.
- Literature, film, and other aesthetic media generating experiences of commonality beyond or traversing the nation-state.
- Emerging forms of collective life and mass communication and digital. connectivity. Technological conditions of community.
- The displacement and persistence of the nation-state.
- Utopia and other imagined communities.
- Subalternity.
- Refugee and Migrant communities.
- Hostile Communities, clandestine networks.
- The discourse of the commons/the common.
- The relationship between the human and the animal in the formation of community.
- So-called "identity politics" and alternative ways of practicing race, gender/sex, class, culture, religion.

Please submit your abstract of no more than 250 words to UMCSCLconference@gmail.com by 05/01/10. Include your name, e-mail address, brief bio (including school affiliation, position, and research interests), and any audio-visual requirements. Papers should be in English and no more than 20 minutes in length.